Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has made more contributions to the ongoing debate over the restructuring of the country.
Obasanjo spoke on Sunday during “The Toyin Falola Interview”, where he answered questions for close to three hours on diverse topics.
Speaking on the clamour for restructuring, the former military Head of State between 1976 and 1979, said his understanding and recommendation of and on the subject centred around devolution of power, responsibility and resources.
He said there are so many aspects of the country where the Federal Government should not be involved.
He said for a start, the country “should talk of state police and allow it to be”.
He said the federal police at present is overwhelmed as said by the Taraba State Governor, Darius Ishaku, during a conversation they had.
He said inasmuch as the state police should exist, there was still the need for federal police to monitor federal issues and strategic properties.
He said the Federal Government can retain the Police Mobile Force and station them at strategic places and “deploy them on request by governors”.
Obasanjo equally queried the retention of secondary schools by the Federal Government.
He said they should go back to the state governments or given to Old Students associations to manage, adding: “Those secondary schools are wasteful exercise for the Federal Government.
“What is Federal Government doing with agriculture?
“And by the way, the Federal Government does not have land.
“It is being held in trust by the states.
“So give it to states.”
On the 15 per cent of federal allocation that goes to local government areas, the former democratically elected president between 1999 and 2007 said since it had become clear that it does not get to its proposed destination, the Federal Government should allow it to go to the states.
He said, “Give it to states.
“If they want to have LGs, so be it.”
On the type of government Nigeria should revert to after restructuring, Obasanjo said the question still remains unanswered.
“Is it reversal to the old three regions or states?”
He said in a discussion with the Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, on adoption of regions as centre of government, he said he came off that it would be a hard sell.
Obasanjo said Fayemi told him that Ekiti State people will not want to return to Ibadan, which served as the headquarters of the Old Western Region.
He said: “I asked him if restructuring means Ekiti going back to Ibadan, how will he handle it?
“He said I have to be the one to go back to tell the people myself.
“That he won’t be able to do it.”
Obasanjo said it was the same reply he got when he broached the issue with the Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu, on return to regionalism.
He said Bagudu was opposed to the idea of returning Kebbi State to Kaduna, the headquarters of the then Northern region.
He said the governor told him that he could not even tell the people of returning them to Sokoto, from where the state was carved out, not to talk of Kaduna.
Obasanjo told his audience on “The Toyin Falola” interview that the Federal Government should concern itself with Defence, Foreign Affairs, Currency, Immigration, Customs, Standard Organisation of Nigeria, Joint Admission and Matriculation Board, National Examination Council and the rest.
He added: “They should leave states to do what they have to do and wish them well.
“Then you have competition among the states.
“Then you will now be able to hold states responsible for security.
“Which state do you hold responsible for security now?
“The governors say they do not have the apparatus for it.
“So for me, restructuring means devolution of power, responsibility and resources.
“That is it.
“If that is what restructuring means, then we should look at it.”