The Executive Director, Obafemi Awolowo Foundation, Dr. Tokunbo Awolowo-Dosunmu, has described true federalism as the only option that could prevent Nigeria from sinking into deeper crisis.
Dr. Tokunbo, who said this on Sunday at a virtual interview programme, titled, ‘ A Conversation with Dr. Tokunbo Awolowo-Dosunmu,’, expressed the belief that only true federalism could bring back the waning confidence of many Nigerians on the country’s leadership and how the country’s affairs were being run.
She expressed regrets that despite the abundant human and natural resoruces in every part of the country, her different ethnic groups were yet to arrive at a consensus on how those resources should be administered.
“There is no part of this country that does not have its own resources, and they all have different ideas on how they want to be governed. But, do we have a consensus on this matter? No. I think restructuring is the first thing that needs to be done, if we want to prevent a situation described by Papa Awolowo as a state of permanent crisis,” she stated.
Dr. Dosunmu attributed the present crisis in different parts of the country as a fallout of mutual suspicions that had existed among the different ethnic in the past few years.
She added that the time had come for those in government to take decisive actions, regarding criminal activities in the country. Dr. Dosunmu described that as the only way of winning the confidence of many Nigerians, who believed the federal government had not been decisive enough because of the ethnic stock of those perpetrating the crime.
While stressing the need to give state governors unhindered freedom to secure their respective states, without having to make a recourse to the central government, Dr. Dosunmu also threw her weight behind community policing, that would involve the nation’s traditional rulers to effectively check the rising rate of criminal activities in the country.
“I believe everything about insecurity in this country is a threat to communities, and that is why the solution has to be local.
“First, the Governors should be allowed to be the chief security officers of their states. They need to have control over security outfit. So, state Police is absolutely essential. State Police means that you have people who know the area.
“I have always said that if those security outfits are allowed to work as they should, they will perform better. I think the state police should work through the traditional rulers who will identify young men in their domain who know the land, the terrain. There is no land that does not belong to someone.
“So when you do this, everybody is interested. First of all, the people have vested interest, they want to secure their lands. So they would do everything humanly possible to drive out criminals from such land, besides they will be given stipend every month.
“It is unfortunate that the impression that is given is that there are sacred cows that cannot be touched. I think the leadership at the centre should be more forceful about what should be done. They should read the riot acts to the security agencies about what the government expects of them. Once people are confident that the government is at their back, a lot of the frustrations will be removed,” she stated.
The only surviving child of the late Awolowo dynasty also expressed her wish that the late sage had lived a bit longer.
According to her, since he died, many questions and national issues that the late politician would have provided answers to, had continued to come, but without adequate solutions.
“How I wish Papa had stayed a little bit longer. I feel so sad that, since his death, a lot of questions which were not there, while alive, have kept coming to me, and which I’m sure he would have provided answers to,” she added.
The Obafemi Awolowo Foundation boss also explained that the decision to set up the Foundation was informed by the need to intervene, regarding some of the challenges facing many Nigerians, especially the under-privileged, but from a non-partisan angle.
“The idea is to extend the Papa’s legacy. We knew we might not be able to do it the way he was doing it, and that was why we always organise conferences and research, involving critical stakeholders, with the aim of discussing issues confronting the country and proferring solutions,” she added.