Devolution of power will fast-track Ondo Sea Port – Akeredolu

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Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu has insisted that devolving more power to states would translate to quick development of her sea port in the riverine area.

Akeredolu declared this during the Governors' Forum session at the Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Lagos.

He said: "If there should be a hub for maritime in Nigeria, it has to be Ondo State. Ondo has the potential. We have the longest coastline, yet we cannot boast of a seaport."

The governor called for stronger institutions, such as the legislature, saying a governor should have no business choosing the Speaker, which he said is the business of lawmakers in line with the principle of separation of powers.

Akeredolu, who is a former National President of NBA and his Kano State counterpart, Abdullahi Ganduje, also restated calls for state police.

The governors said state police would guarantee security and peaceful atmosphere for development.

Akeredolu and Ganduje submitted that states were already funding and equipping the police, which they said lack sufficient men and capacity to provide effective security across the country.

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, who was represented by the state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Emmanuel Aguma (SAN), said the Niger Delta would be better off without oil.

Akeredolu said the time has come for states to have their police since the Federal Government cannot fund the police well.

"If we must provide everything for the police, the time has come to have state police. Let's have our own police. There is nothing wrong with it.

"The Nigeria Police is short staffed. They are stretched. Sometimes even the commissioner of police is helpless. The men are not there.

"The country is vast. We cannot afford to continue under one command where you take orders from the Inspector-General of Police in Abuja.

"You cannot effectively police an area when you bring in people who don't know the terrain," he said.

"We should build institutions and allow them to thrive," he said.

Ganduje said most states pay policemen allowances, besides providing them with other equipment.

He said devolution of powers would mean increasing states' capacity to fund their police.

"We are still equipping the police, even paying their allowances in some cases. The budget that is supposed to be given to the police should be given to the states," he said.

On what it takes to build strong institutions, Ganduje said it requires a strong template for recruitment, capacity development through training and setting clear-cut goals.

"You don't need strong men; you need strong institutions. Strong institutions are indispensable to socio-economic development. Strong institutions surpass those who created them.

"Our institutions need to have clear-cut goals and objectives. There must be free flow of information, transparency and accountability.

"There must be a template for reward and punishment. The institutions must be insulated from political interference," the Kano State governor said.

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