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Jega: Nigeria is operating distorted form of federalism

Jega: Nigeria is operating distorted form of federalism
December 01
17:59 2021

Attahiru Jega, a former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), says Nigeria is “regrettably” operating a “distorted” form of federalism.

Jega spoke on Wednesday at a national unity summit organised by the National Prosperity Movement (NPM) in Abuja.

The summit had the theme ‘Nigeria: The Imperative of Unity’.

The former INEC chairman said citizens are craving for the repositioning of the leadership recruitment process that would bring honest people into governance and put the country on the path of progress.

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“Nigeria, regrettably, operates a distorted and dysfunctional form of federalism, in which the core principle is undermined, rather than nurtured and entrenched,” he said.

“This negative trend needs to be reversed. But it can only be done by having elected leaders who are democrats and not ‘militicians’, who understand what the value of operating a functional rather than dysfunctional federal arrangement is, for peace, stability, progress and development of a country, and who have the ability, capacity, competence and integrity to drive good democratic governance for the polity.

“Unity in diversity is a core principle of federalism. All federations are required to adhere to, and actively nurture and entrench, expectations associated with this core principle.

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“Nigeria, as a federation with a complex mosaic of diversity, needs to continue to find and deploy ways and means of forging, entrenching and sustaining unity in diversity and national integration, beyond sloganeering leap-service by leaders in governance positions at all levels.

“Elected national leaders in particular need to ‘walk the talk’ of national unity and integration, through the formulation and execution of sustainable policies, programmes and projects on national unity.”

Jega said programmes aimed at entrenching unity in the country should be developed and implemented in a sustainable manner.

On his part, Ahmad Sajoh, NPM director-general, said the country’s strength is dependent on the “aggregate strength of the sub-national entities of the federation”.

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“We believe that a conversation of this nature could provide a roadmap towards finding an acceptable means of restoring confidence in the polity,” Sajoh added.

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