By Bunmi Oguns
The Chairman of the Governing Council of University of Lagos, Prof. Jerry Gana, recently called on the Federal Government to seek sustainable ways of ensuring that Nigerians continue to live together in peace and harmony as citizens of the federal republic of Nigeria, by correcting the defects in the federal system we operate.
He expressed concern that all is not well with the structure and related devolution of powers in the federation, noting that to be able to function well, a federation must have a balanced and equitable structure for its federating units.
“This is the reason why we cannot live together in peace and harmony, considering the carnage in the north eastern part of the country,” he said
Gana made this known in his remarks at the 2015/2016 convocation ceremonies of the University of Lagos, Akoka, which witnessed the conferment of Honorary Doctorate degrees to the Shehu of Borno and the 7th Chancellor of the university, Alhaji Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai El-kanemi; the great poet, Professor John Pepper Clark and Professor of Chemical Engineering, Ayodele Francis Ogunye.
He said Nigerians must together resolve the contentious issue of fiscal federalism such that the questions about who gets what, when and where, would be put into consideration, adding that when there is equity, there will be tension in the land.
“Life is so precious, we cannot continue to kill ourselves, we should live together and agree on how to live, ” he counselled.
He added that every Nigerian should be regarded as equals and first class citizens, noting that since people cannot live together unless they fully agree to do so, there is need for dialogue and consultation which is the essence of democracy.
“Many have argued that the states have become too weak to serve as effective federating units to mediate relations with a powerful centre, hence the call for restructuring to find a fair, balanced, equitable but functional federal structure,” Prof. Gana said.
The recurring matters cannot be resolved by force, he noted, while appealing to the federal government to also look at the major recommendations of the 2014 National conference for immediate implementation.
The chairman of the governing council whose tenure will expire in February this year, also appealed to the federal government to ensure the diversion of water coming from the Atlantic to the lake Chad basin saying,” this matters can be looked into so that people can live together in peace.”
Earlier in his remarks, the Vice Chancellor of the institution, Professor Rahaman Ade-Bello commended the Buhari administration for the efforts put in to fight insecurity and corruption facing the nation, adding that the successes achieved by the military in flushing out the Boko Haram insurgents from Sambisa forest are highly commendable.
Similarly, he said the efforts at changing the mindsets of Nigerians on corruption related issues have been yielding fruits and need to be maintained.
According to him, “All Nigerians must latch on to the change mantra to free our nation from the burden it currently carries as a result of long periods of not paying full attention to our infrastructure needs, while developing high tastes for foreign goods . We also pray for a quick turn-around of our economy..”
The Shehu of Borno who responded on behalf of the honourees, enjoined every member of the university community to continue to promote and sustain its cherished values for which the university is known, saying; “with our collective support, I am sure this university could keep standing for the present and future generations; providing the much needed leadership and manpower development requirements of the nation for many years to come.”