A member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Olawale Tasir Raji (APC, Lagos), has cautioned residents of Lagos state allegedly planning to stage fresh protests against the reopening for business of the Lekki Toll gate to learn from past experiences and jettison their plans.
Raji who chairs the House Services Committee also called on the political leadership of the country at all levels to use the ongoing constitution review exercise by the National Assembly, to achieve fiscal federalism in Nigeria by devolving more powers to the component States.
He noted that the damages, both physical and economic, inflicted on the state by hoodlums who took advantage of the Endsars protest by hijacking same are yet to be remedied, urging that dialogue was better than confrontation.
“I read about it as was reported. If there is such a plan, I would advice that we should learn from experience of the past. We should adopt dialogue as a means of resolving issues, moreso, that as a result of the Endsars protest, committees have been set up in the states to look into the issues.
“I believe we should explore that as much as possible because of the danger of any protest being hijacked in view of the damages that occurred during the last protest which was hijacked by those who were not part of it originally. We are in a very delicate situation and I would advice the youths and the Lagos state government to find a common ground to resolve the issues rather than resorting to street protest because of the possibility of a hijack and the consequences that may arise,” Raji said.
On the agitation for restructuring, the lawmaker who represents Epe Federal constituency in the House said, while the term may mean different things to different people, he would toe the line of ensuring that power so concentrated at the centre presently be devolved to other tiers of government.
“There is no doubt about the fact that our federalism as practiced in Nigeria is still work in progress. We are not there yet. Restructuring means different things to different people. My own understanding is the redistribution of power, devolution of power such that the states and local government will have more responsibility because they are closer to the people than the federal government.
“There is no doubt that there is too much concentration of power at the centre and we need to devolve power to the states. Issues of state police and others should go to the States. A situation where you call the governor of a state the chief security officer and yet he has no structure to be effective as Chief Security Officer of the state does not speak well of a federal system. That has to be addressed.
“Issue of resource control need to be worked on. There is no doubt that the 9th Assembly is committed to working on the constitution in such a way to devolve power to the States so that fiscal federalism will be possible. A situation where every state will be coming to Abuja monthly to take a share of the federally collected revenue is not ideal.
“By restructuring the fiscal structure, the States will have control over resources in their jurisdictions which will make them financially buoyant. There is no doubt that restructuring is the way to go towards achieving true federalism. I am for restructuring such that it will make our federal structure truly federal,” the lawmaker said.