The member representing Epe Federal Constituency of Lagos state in the House of Representatives, Hon. Wale Raji, has appealed for caution in the handling of the renewed #ENDSARS protest at the Lekki tollgate, saying there was the need to learn from the experiences of the immediate past.
Raji also thrown his weight behind calls for restructuring of the country, saying the time has come when power should be devolved to the states to control resources available in their areas, adding that a situation where states run to Abuja monthly to share from the federation accounts is not the best.
Speaking in an interview with The Nation, Raji said dialogue should be used to settle whatever grievances there may be, adding that allowing another round of protest may cause grave damages for the country.
He said: “I would advise that we should learn from experience of the past. We should adopt dialogue as a means of resolving issues. More so, that as a result of the protest, committees have been set up in the states to look into the issues.
“I believe we should explore that as much as possible because of the danger of any protest being hijacked in view of the damages that occurred during the last protest which was hijacked by those who were not part of it originally.
“We are in a very delicate situation and I would advise the youths and the Lagos state government to find a common ground to resolve the issues rather than resorting to street protest because of the possibility of a hijack and the consequences that may arise”.
On agitations for restructuring, Raji who heads the House Committee on House Services, said: “There is no doubt about the fact that our federalism as practiced in Nigeria is still work in progress. We are not there yet. Restructuring means different things to different people.
“My own understanding is the redistribution of power, devolution of power such that the states and local government will have more responsibility because they are closer to the people than the federal government.
“There is no doubt that there is too much concentration of power at the centre and we need to devolve power to the states. Issue of state police and other issues should go to the state.
“A situation where you call the governor of a state the chief security officer and yet he has no structure to be effective as Chief Security Officer of the state.
“That has to be addressed. Issue of resource control needs to be worked on. There is no doubt that the 9th Assembly is committed to working on the constitution in such a way to devolve power to the states so that fiscal federalism will be possible.
“A situation where every state will be coming to Abuja monthly to take a share of the federally collected revenue is not ideal. By restructuring the fiscal structure, the states will have control over resources in their jurisdiction which will make them financially buoyant.
“There is no doubt that restructuring is the way to go towards achieving true federalism. I am for restructuring such that it will make our federal structure truly federal”.
He however cautioned against creating more states and local government, adding that rather than create new states, Nigerians should concentrate on making the existing 36 states viable rather than agitate for the creation of new states.
He said creating new state will be dangerous creating more states that will not be able to pay staff salaries, adding that rather than create more states, Nigerians should be thinking of how to consolidate on the current states and make them more viable to meet the aspirations of their founding fathers.