Makinde said true federalism is the future of democracy in the country and urged the federal government to allow States have more powers.
He said states deserved to control their natural resources and the security architecture “to avoid the path of destruction”.
Makinde spoke at the International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan, on Tuesday, during his keynote address at the maiden Seyi Makinde National Democracy Summit.
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In attendance were Ondo Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, represented by the Commissioner of Justice, Charles Titiloye; ex-Edo Governor, Professor Osariemen Osunbor, the Director-General of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Professor Eghosa Osaghae, among others.
Makinde said: “As we continue to deliberate on the future of democracy in Nigeria, let us remember that true federalism is the way forward. Restructuring the Nigerian state, and giving the federating units more powers is the route to economic prosperity.
“We are the Federal Republic of Nigeria, but our federalism exists in name only. Students of political history will tell you that what we have been practising is, in fact, a unitary system of government – where more powers are concentrated in the central government.
“There is so much power at the centre and another thing that our political theorists will tell you is that by nature, a unitary system of government is better suited for small countries, maybe countries with flat ethnic nationalities.
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“Nigeria is not a small country and very diverse. You can easily identify why we are experiencing developmental challenges across the board. We are trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.
“For true federalism to thrive, the federating units should have more powers and autonomy. The legislature is also fighting for autonomy, which has shown that we have to devolve.”