Former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Dr. Emeka Anyaoku, on Tuesday canvassed the abolition of the 36 state governments in the country.
Anyaoku, who spoke at a public symposium organised by the Nigerian Bible Society in Enugu, said most of the state governments are not viable, as they are finding it difficult to pay their workers.
At the event, which was held at the Cathedral Church of the Good Shepherd, Anglican Communion, Enugu, Anyaoku canvassed a return to the regional structure practiced in the First Republic, with the country’s six regions forming federating units.
According to him, the current 36-state structure is unwieldy and very expensive.
He explained that the multiplication of administrative organs occasioned by the 36-state structure meant that a major proportion of the country’s resources is spent on administration.
He said, “The present governance arrangement we have, with the country comprising of 36 non-viable states, most of which cannot pay the salaries of their teachers and civil servants, is not the best.
“Rather, we should return to an arrangement where the six regions will form six federating units.
“Having 36 states mean we have 36 state assemblies, 36 judiciary services, etc, and all these means that the country is spending too much money on administration,” he said.
Anyaoku noted that that Nigeria recorded more development during the era of the six regional governments.
“Those of us who are old enough to remember the six regions know that the country was developing better in those days,” Anyaoku said.
Anyaoku commended the Anglican Church in Nigeria for opposing same-sex marriage, despite the acceptance of the practice by the English chapter of the church.
He commended the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Enugu, Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Chukwuma, for openly resisting moves by western powers to impose gay marriage on the Nigerian congregation.
Anyaoku said, “One of the problems that is threatening to divide the Anglican Church is the question of homosexuality and same-sex marriage.
“I am not an authority on the Holy Bible but I was brought up to believe that it is not right,” he said.
Anyaoku, however, expressed disappointment at the failure of multitudes of religious institutions in the country to address the high rate of immorality and corruption among Nigerians.
He noted that, although Nigeria is widely seen as a highly religious country, majority of Nigerians are of questionable character.
While speaking on ‘The role of religion in combating ills in the society’, Anyaoku called for a “moral revival” in the country.
Anyaoku said, “It is said that Nigeria is one of the most religious countries but yet there is a high degree of corruption in Nigeria – there are corrupt practices including examination malpractice in Nigeria.
“It is so bad that some parents assist their children to engage in examination malpractice.
“Religious leaders have a role to preach to their followers the revival of the values held dear by our people in the past.
“Children should be taught that success should come from hardwork, they should be taught that the biggest possession a man should have is integrity and good character.”
He cautioned religious leaders, including pastors, priests and imams, against accepting donations from “people whose source of wealth is not clear”.
Bishop Chukwuma, at the event, delivered a lecture entitled ‘Impact of Bible translation on evangelism’.