Of all works of life, if there is anything that Nigerians are unanimous about, it is the fact that Nigeria has a stunted growth. Countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia and many others that were at the same development level with her in the 60’s during the peak of decolonization process have since gone ahead on the human, material and infrastructural development scales. In contrast, Nigeria, the most populated black nation in the world appears to be on a steady decline and decay.
Moaning over the shady practice of federalism in Nigeria as it deficiency sickens the whole part of government systems and structures. Nigeria was keen to adopt a system of governance that unitarily unzip the concentration on a central government to sizable and recognizable units, but was bereft of resourceful leaders.
The extinction of core federalism system of governance on our ride to inclusive governance best depict our Nation as a failing state. Our course to lasting peace, justice, and equity has come to a grief, albeit taking a tripartite turnbull and into shackles. Predictably, Nigeria is ranked number 16 of the 163 member nations as the most dangerous city to live in, according to the Global Peace Index report, 2018. One way or the other, the inadmissible system of governance we practice give rise to the destructible tantrums citizens results to.
In 2016, revenues plunged downwards due to the hostile activities militants across oil producing states resumed with, in holding the country to ransom for her inexplicable reason of denying them inclusive development and their claim of abysmal living conditions.
Restructuring has gained verbal audiences, dissections from prominent Nigerians who thinks it is the best way to go, but I challenge their incoherent explication of the term restructuring as it concerns the true yearnings of ordinary Nigerians. Yorubas would say “Akí gbé ómó óba fún óṣún” which translates to the improper justification of the yearnings of ordinary Nigerians to the term Restructuring.
Restructuring has since turned into a musical lyric in the lips of the electorate, taunting aspirants to make promises dead on arrival. Aspirants now results to scoring chip political points against their major contenders with the make shift word that has no liberal justification to the true yearnings of the populace.
The lopsided revenue allocation formula, through which the Federal Government takes 52.8 per cent of all federally-collected revenue, the 36 states and the 774 local councils share 26.72 per cent and 20 per cent respectively is a threat to development. At present, the Federal Government controls 68 legislative items under the exclusive list and shares 24 with state governments on the concurrent list. This is an impediment for inclusive developments and a clog in the wheel of progress and fortune for the other tiers of governments.
Apart from the fact that the long legislative list raises issues of effectiveness at the federal level, given the expansive nature of the country, many of the items could be better executed by the states, rather than the Federal Government.
The poach of the central government for revenues every weekend by state governments is a scourge looking to be unravelled by Fiscal or True Federalism at full strength. In recent years, no state government is willing to challenge the government for full control of their resources rather they find joy getting stipends from the Central government on monthly basis.
Evidently, the Lagos State Government headed by Tinubu challenged the Federal Government to court for the control of certain resources in the exclusive list e.g; waterways and since won all cases and has explored the waterways to become an efficient means of transportation for the citizens and as well become a potential huge source of revenue to the state government and since developed to be the 2nd largest economy in Africa hogging behind Cape town in South Africa.
Fiscal or True Federalism gives power back to the citizenry and doesn’t make them the scapegoat for unjust system of governance. It gives absolute power to all tiers of government to explore potential resources for inclusive development and growth.
A Nigerian state with abundant resources should be able to boast of world-class infrastructures, a robust economy, industrial mechanization, technological productions among all. Apparently, the only solution to inclusive and equitable distribution of developments in Nigeria is through the practice of Fiscal or True Federalism style of governance.
Olakehinde Ibraheem O.
An advocate of True Federalism.