Good morning my dear Femi Orebe. I read your column yesterday. And even though I share your concerns and frustrations on the attitudes of some northern governors on how best the nation can contain and mitigate the menacing covid19, it seems you did not get all the facts right when you generalized that all northern governors have refused to lock down because of farming season.
It is not all the governors who have refused to lock down.For examples, Kaduna and Plateau states have been on lock down for past three weeks. My state Nasarawa state has also been on lock down along with FCT Lagos and Ogun state. In fact, the Chairman of Northern Governors Forum,Gov Lalong was on air in NTA on Sat and explained that there was no consensus among the governors on the best approaches.
So, to generalize in the way your column did yesterday does not represent the reality on the ground,albeit I canvass for the need for all governors to be on the same page.
I have tried to push the view that because unless all states are free of covid19, no state is free,there is need for uniform lock down across the nation lest disparate approaches by individual states become wasted efforts.I even suggested that northern states can for the meantime align their lock down with that of FCT for purpose of uniformity, considering interstate travels are rendering individual lock downs to be ineffective.
If there was uniform lock down for, say, 14 days when President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) first announced lockdown, most of the Covid-19 would have manifested and the affected persons quarantined for containment and mitigation by now. I granted interviews to The Trubune, New Telegraph and The Sun Newspapers on these issues on the need for proper coordination by the center for performance.
I have been in running battles with some of our egg-head professors who think lock down with the restrictions without palliatives for the poor is meaningless because they believe it is not workable.
Even some of the Editors and Reporters share their view by refusing to give my position prominence.To them, I am insouciant to the plight of the poor.
But I insist that the choice is between the need to save lives by lockdowns with all the restrictions and the imperative of preserving livelihoods by those who are alive.
As regards restructuring, I have decided to do some reading on American system and wish to inform you that they started not with federalism but with confederate arrangement under the ARTICLE OF CONFEDERACY for almost ten years and jettisoned it because the center was too weak under confederation to keep the country one and united.
In the present arrangement, the states depend a lot on the federal government through CATEGORICAL GRANTS and BLOCK GRANTS despite the state-based federalism predicated on coming together of the colonies to form the USA.
You need to know that America promoted private sector and individualism more than any country in the globe while Europe is for mixed economy and welfarism. China practices state capitalism. And in Nigeria, Lagos state is working well under the same structure you say is not workable.
It is therefore not correct to believe that only a certain level of restructuring can cut the Gordian knot.
I have said several times that because there is hardly National consensus on solution of national problems, multiparty democracy solves the problems by allowing political parties to represent distinct methods of solution through which they canvass for electoral mandate needed for execution. If we must restructure,let us do so democratically. Have a great week and note that I care.
Sani is the immidiate past Secretary General of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF).