How Nigeria’s federalism was killed, by Ogbemudia
The destruction of Nigeria as a federal structure started when the position of Chief Justice as head of the judiciary in the regions was scraped and replaced by the Chief Judge.
Two-time Governor of old Midwest and Bendel states, Dr. Samuel Ogbemudia, disclosed this at a reception to mark his 84th birthday.
On the occasion, a school he built as military governor, New Era College, was renamed Dr. Samuel Ogbemudia College.
His words: “Many years ago, regions had their constitutions and CJs were called Chief Justices. It was at the headquarters in Lagos that the federal Chief Justice told us that they should change the name; that there should be only one CJ in Nigeria.
‘’That was the beginning of the belief that we did not have a true federation because if we have a true federation, changing the word will not be possible because when I was made the governor, the Midwest had a constitution, the northern region had a constitution, the West had a constitution and the East had a constitution and we operated according to those constitutions.
‘’Sometimes when the federal gave us instructions, we will say no, this is contrary to our constitution; so we can’t do it but now that we have what we call a semi-centralised government, things are different.”
Speaking on the rebuilt school, he said he was happy that Governor Adams Oshiomhole decided to improve its quality to function properly. He appealed to the principal and the management to take care of the school because ‘’one problem we have in this country is that we do not have the culture of maintenance.’’ He said the school could make money out of the building and use it to maintain the place.
He added: “My mission here today is to catalogue your achievement so that the verdict of history will be in your favour. You have done wonderfully well in this state. You have made history today and you will always be remembered and your good name will never fade.’’