When a comparison is made between the application of federalism in Nigeria and other democratic climes, it becomes very clear that Nigeria’s style of federalism is just unique. As it is known the world over, a federal system of government, allows the confederating units within the polity to be in charge of their natural and human resources. In such a situation, the states that make up the federation strive to explore and exploit their natural resources to the fullest for the maximum well being of their citizens. They, however, pay royalties to the central government for their sustenance and growth. This was the situation under the 1963 Republican constitution of
Nigeria. The uniqueness of the Nigerian style of federalism stems from the abnormality that unlike how federalism should be practiced, as was the case in 1963, the federal government, through the instrumentality of military dictatorship, took over the control of basically all the resources located in the states, including land and sea. Hence we have exclusive legislation governing those resources in Nigeria.
An inevitable and, rather, unfortunate consequence of this military coercion is that the economies of the states became almost paralyzed. Hence the states are forced to become dependent on the federal government for their economic survival through monthly revenue allocation.
This development implies that the central government wields enormous powers and influence. To survive in an odd federal system like Nigeria’s, it becomes expedient, if not imperative, that leadership of states that make up the Nigerian entity should, apart from being visionary and focused, be guided by maturity, diplomacy and tact.
It is on record that before the emergence of Chief T.A. Orji as Governor of Abia state, the state was regarded as pariah state because of its unwarranted and very costly infantile antagonistic and confrontational posture against the federal government of Nigeria headed by a no-nonsense retired war conquering Army General. For eight years that the confrontationist administration lasted in the State, it was on open secret that the then federal government applied a tacit isolationist policy against Abia state. Hence Abia state government could and did not point at any developmental project it attracted from the central government.
As it is said, when two elephants fight the grass suffers. But in the case of Abia state, it was a rat thinking of fighting a, elephant and, so, the rat did not only get crushed but also caused the innocent grass to wither. The founding fathers of Abia state were divinely inspired to give the appellation; “Gods own state; to the state. It, therefore, becomes obvious that no matter the shape of its vicissitude, Abia state must have light at the end of its tunnel.
Abia state, from a critical look of her current developments, has gone beyond brooding over the devastating consequences of her eight dark years of the locust. Today, it is crystal clear that there is unity of purpose, unity of time and unity of action, all geared towards the enhancement good governance in the state. It, therefore, becomes absolutely reasonable that a former governor of the state who, out of sheer greed and inclination to opportunism and taking undue advantage of being a sitting governor coerced the senate of Abia state university, uturu into awarding a degree to him unmeritorious should stop deceiving himself by wanting the world, to believe that Governor T.A. Orji was instrumental to be inevitability of the nullification and consequent withdrawal of his so-called degree certificate
After all, no one should have one’s cake and still eat it. For critical observers and analysts of the contemporary Abia polity, the state is in a comfortable and very assuring position of restoration of her lost glory. In appreciating this fact. Kudos should be given to governor T.A. Orji for his maturity, administrative ingenuity, diplomacy, prudence and, above all, faith in God. That Abia state has systematically pulled itself out of the status of a federal
government- considered pariah state, being run by a one- family-initiated, teleguided and inhumanly exploited political party to a point of not only total re-integration into Nigeria’s mainstream polities but to the extent where the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria can openly declare the governor as his confidant is a thing that calls for psychological felicitation. To be more specific, the recent elevation of Governor T.A. Orji ofAbia state as one of the six governors in the Caucus of the People’s Democratic Party, an elevation that was initiated and stamped by President Good luck Jonathan himself is, indeed, a contemporary strategic socio-econo-political transformation of God’s own state of Abia. It is, therefore, expected that every .well-meaning indigene, resident and friend of Abia state would not relent in praying that God would continue to give Ochendo the required enablement to help him sustain this bilateral relationship which is surely a manifestation of restoration of lost glory.
Chief (Sir) Don Ubani, KSC, J.P (Okwubunka of Asa)
Umuiku-Isi-Asa Autonomous Community
P.M.B. 7048, Aba