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Nigeria’s unity not negotiable —Prof Elaigwu

EMERITUS Professor and President, Institute of Governance and Social Research, Isawa Elaigwu, has said Nigeria must remain united in order to overcome various challenges confronting the country.

He also condemned the activities of Avengers and other Niger Delta militants, who have taken to blowing up oil installations and destruction of gas pipelines, in the region in recent times, in an attempt to register their grievances against the Federal Government.

Elaigwu spoke at the weekend in Abuja, while presenting a paper, entitled: “Fiscal Federalism and Inter-Governmental Relations,” at the 2016 edition of The Change We Need Annual Lecture Series,” organised by the African Centre for Leadership and Charismatic Renewal Ministries.

He noted the clamour for disintegration or secession of the country was not the best option out the current Nigeria’s quagmire.

According to him, what was needed at this time was the change of attitude and values, in order to ensure change and development of the country.

He said Nigeria’s dilemma stemmed from 1970s, when the country stopped thinking about other ways of generating revenue for the development of the country, because money was there from the oil.

Elaigwu, however, noted that the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) and other militant groups had, by their action, caused more pollution and destruction to the ecosystem in their communities, which would take several years to ameliorate.

“I can’t be annoyed and decided to cut-off my nose. Blowing up of pipelines is not the answer. Disintegration is not the best option. We are more interested in sharing the cake; if we don’t have the cake what do we share? While citizens of other countries talk about how to build their country, Nigerians talk about how to disintegrate,” he said.

Professor Elaigwu further noted that Nigeria’s fiscal federalism evolved since 1954, as a result of social, political and economic influences.

He therefore, called for revision of Legislative List in favour of states and local government as a political imperative, adding that tax powers should similarly be reviewed, in accordance with the proposed revision.

He also called for the National Economic Council (NEC), a meeting of the 36 state governors with vice president as the chairman, to be equipped with an active secretariat, to enable the council to coordinate macro-economic policies and implementation.