The governors spoke on Saturday at the 50 th Anniversary of the Centre for Historical Documentation and Research (Arewa House ) in Kaduna .
Presenting the keynote address at the event titled , ‘ Unfinished greatness : Towards a more perfect union in Nigeria, ’ Fayemi insisted that the 1914 amalgamation of the Northern and Southern Protectorates by the British colonialists was not a mistake as some had argued .
Rather , he explained that the country could use its diversity to achieve greatness if all Nigerians would utilise the inherent opportunities .
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary , Olayinka Oyebode , titled , ‘ Fayemi canvasses power devolution as the panacea for marginalisation … urges urgent action to make Nigeria work for the youth , ’ the governor argued that issues of devolution of powers, decentralisation , restructuring and such other concepts should not be clothed in ethnic or regional toga but be used as an opportunity to reinvent the country to make it work well for everyone .
He said , “ In essence , our desire to build a more perfect union should be anchored on the principle of devolution of powers – that is , re – allocation of powers and resources to the country ’ s federating units . The reasons for this are not far – fetched (sic ).
“ First , long years of military rule has produced an over – concentration of powers and resources at the centre to the detriment of the states . Two , the 1999 constitution, as has been argued by several observers , was hurriedly put together by the departing military authority and was not a product of sufficient inclusiveness . ”
He also suggested an equitable revenue allocation formula that would speak to the federalism that the country had adopted and give more resources to states and local governments which carry more responsibilities .
According to him , a review of the sharing formulae to 43 per cent for states , 35 per cent to the federal and 23 per cent to the local governments will go a long way to devolve more responsibilities to constituent units and reduce the concentration of powers at the centre .
He cited two examples , namely the 2005 Constitutional Reform Conference convened by the President Olusegun Obasanjo administration , and the 2014 National Conference at the instance of President Goodluck Jonathan .
Fayemi explained that at the two conferences, “ the delicate issue remains that of restructuring (often dubbed devolution of power , decentralisation , true federalism, etc. )”.
“ But for how long can we continue to run away from this issue and continue to pretend that somehow it would resolve itself someday ?” he asked .