(By Silas Ofori)-An elder statesman, Dr. Kunle Olajide, has identified two evils responsible for the stunted growth of Nigeria, a country that held a great promise at independence and described by the international community as the giant of Africa.
Speaking in an interview with Nigerian Tribune, Dr, Olajide, who is the Secretary General Yoruba Council of Elders, said the two evils were the military rule that truncated the region’s progress match, with its associated civil war and the oil boom.
The elder statesman, who is also the convener of the Yoruba Summit, recalled that “the military leaders got intoxicated to the extent that one of them said money was not the problem of Nigeria but how to spend it”, a situation that ultimately laid the foundation for the .corruption that has since become endemic in Nigeria .
Dr, Olajide recalled that the First Republic was on course and the regions were doing very well before the intervening matters began to subvert the nation’s match to greatness. He said: “Things worked out successfully in the First Republic. Each region had premiers called leaders of government business and each region exploited its own resources, sent 20 percent of the resources to Federal Government, another 20 percent into the Distributable Pool.
“In other words the second 20 percent will be gathered together and distributed to the regions according to population, size and so on. Then I think 10 percent was for emergency purposes.The regions held on to 50 percent. And that was why the Action Group government was able to give us free education here, to develop our roads and do everything it did here.The same thing happened to the east: as soon as we had our own television here, the North decided it wanted its own television. The competition was healthy and the regions learnt from one another”.
Speaking on the operations of the legislature in the First Republic, the Yoruba leader explained that lawmaking was on part time basis. “Lawmakers were being paid only sitting allowances. The longest they had to stay sometimes was not more than two weeks. This country cannot fund full time bicameral legislature at the centre, and full time legislature in the states”, he submitted, adding that the system in operation must adapt to the current economic realities.
On the national minimum wage, the chieftain of the Yoruba Unity Forum argued that the governors should be left out of it, as according to him, it ought to be the responsibility of the Federal Government and the organized labour. He recalled that in the First Republic, each region paid according to its ability and not the same amount as paid by the Federal Government.