National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity, Zuma Deck) recently held her 2017 Feast of Barracuda with a public lecture in the Federal Capital City of Abuja. The event organised under the leadership of Samuel Abhulimen, had Dr. Olu Agunloye as Chairman of the occasion. The theme was “interrogating the need for true Federalism”. Lead discussants were Dr. Abdu Hussain, Ann-Kio Briggs, Ayokunle Fagbemi and Engr. Robinson Tombari Sibe. Several other notable personalities attended the event.
In his opening remarks, Dr. Agunloye identified corruption as the fearsome societal challenge that must be addressed by all well meaning Nigerians. He recalled that “Legislators in 1999 were not aware of detailed provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as at the time they were sworn-in as Members of National and State Assemblies. They subsequently discovered that power was unnecessarily concentrated in the center but all efforts to rectify this anomaly failed”.
Ann-Kio Briggs noted that “no Nigerian could claim being a patriot if he is not patriotic to his tribe. Nigeria has over 400 tribes not being represented by Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba tag. We need to allow States exercise the right of internal development. Nigeria will not survive if we insist on bringing oil money to Abuja”.
Robinson affirmed it is possible to achieve Federalism, but observed Nigeria has not managed her sovereignty properly. “There must be systems and institutions that enforces consequences” – he said.
Abdu Hussain explained that though Nigeria’s federalism is flawed, all federal system of government administration are defined by peculiar historical realities of the people. “Countries are products of conquests that mature over time through negotiations. We need to streamline items on the Exclusive list of powers in other to achieve fiscal federalism. We cannot have a federation with unification principles”.
Ayokunle Fagbemi highlighted the futility of aspiring for a federal system without a good legal framework that applies sanctions. Speaking further, he said Nigerians are fond of “discussing geographical enclaves without focusing on our individualities as citizens and human beings. Several treaties were made by British colonial powers with diverse tribes reflecting on our structure as a Country. We therefore need to listen to the people in redesigning our basis as a Federating Nation”.
The event produced a communiqué on how the Association with work with government and other stakeholders to ensure an equitable federalism is put in place for the wellbeing of the people.
SENS reports that the Association currently caters for 100 children through an instituted Zuma Scholarship Scheme; and also operates a Village Medical Outreach delivering free eye and ante-natal medical care to the Federal Capital Territory.