Former president Goodluck Jonathan said the implementation of the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference would address the lingering agitations and insecurity in the country.
He also threw his weight behind fiscal federation, saying it would fast-track development of the country.
“I think that fiscal federalism, if properly done in a nation like Nigeria, will encourage every part of this country to generate income. I believe every part of Nigeria is viable. The only thing is that in Nigeria, the local government chairman sits in the office, waits for allocation, distributes and goes asleep and waits for the next month,” he said.
Jonathan spoke, yesterday, during the Rivers State Golden Anniversary Lecture held at the Dr. Obi Wali International Conference Centre, Port Harcourt.
He said he gave approval for the National Conference to be held, after realising how germane it was to addressing “gray areas” of interest.
“Yes, in many areas as a nation, we are doing well. But, there are still other areas that agitate the minds of our people. And as a government, you need to address them.
“I remember in August, 2013, Professor Ben. Nwabueze led The Patriots and met me, and one of the issues they raised was the National Conference. Others schemed for other conferences, but I insisted on the National Conference that would look at these gray areas that affect our people. Those areas that retard our development and finetune it for the good of our children and grandchildren.
“I always believe that when you are in government, when you are making laws or coming up with policies, don’t consider your position because that your position is very temporal.
“I was quite pleased with the outcome of the conference. There was nothing like voting. Every decision was by consensus. And I believe sincerely that if government is able to implement most of those recommendations, some of the things that agitate our minds today, some of the social issues we have, including insecurity and otherwise, would be addressed.”
Jonathan said he had always advocated for a fiscal federalism, saying it would afford federating states opportunity for development.
“If we look at Federal Government supporting oil-producing areas, if you really sit down and calculate, a lot of funds have actually come into the Niger Delta area. But, we don’t see corresponding infrastructural development.
“And when you compare the 13 percent derivation that just started in 1999 or 2000, that the National Assembly now approved, you see that the development that can be in Rivers, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Delta and other states, is not compared to when it was issue of intervention agencies that were to manage funds.