Lagos — Elder statesman and founder, Afe Babalola University, Chief Afe Babalola yesterday said the discovery of oil in Northern part of the country would fast-track the process of restructuring.
Speaking as chairman of the First Goke Omisore annual Voice Reason (VOR) lecture held in Lagos, Chief Babalola represented by Prof. Adekunle Kunle-Olowu said the positive development would solve the problem of oil-producing states, and prayed that more of such discoveries are made across the country.
"I was very happy when I read the news that oil has been discovered in the North. I pray for more of such discoveries around the country as this will make it easier for the country to embark on the process of restructuring and thereby solve the life-long problems of the oil-producing states," he said.
At the lecture titled, 'Restructuring: Building a knowledge-based society' delivered by a US-based scholar, Prof. James Fabunmi; Babalola said Nigeria's 1999 constitution should be discarded to pave way for changing the existing structures as the only approach that could transform the country for the better.
He said the present constitution "Encouraged indolence, lack of creativity, greed, avarice, wanton struggle for position in the central government, and the untoward attitude of begging for monthly allocation from the Federal Government."
Further faulting the 1999 constitution he said, "The operation of the constitution is expensive with its attendant over-concentration of power at the centre, thereby rendering the states and the local governments totally impotent unlike what obtained under parliamentary constitutions of 1960 and 1963."
"As a strong and an unrepentant advocate of restructuring, I still stand by my position that the restructuring will enable us to have a truly federal constitution as a result of which there would be a change in the mode of election and the type of people we would elect to govern us," he said.
Lamenting that partisan politics has emerged the only lucrative business in the country, he said restructuring, on the other hand, would "Ensure that we have part-time legislation, reduce the humongous salaries currently being earned by our legislators in favour of sitting allowances.
"It will ensure that we have two political parties and reduce the cost of governance. It will ensure we run our elections at cheaper rates while women representation in governance will be higher."