Last night someone asked me if I know that my emphasis on community governance as foundation for true federalism in Nigeria will lead to the localization of corruption in Nigeria.
And I responded by saying ‘what exactly is wrong in localizing corruption in Nigeria?’
There are thousands of communities and towns in Nigeria that have been deprived of development due to the nature of our skewed central-command federalism.
These communities and towns are far older than Nigeria, their existence precedes Nigeria and its politically created states and LGAs. Tomorrow, Nigeria and its creations (states and LGAs) might exist no more, but these communities and towns possess perpetual existence. Nigeria belongs to nobody, unlike communities and towns. This is why the business of governance must in fact begin from there upward; bottom-up.
Some people fear that if we empower communities and towns to control their resources, education, security, water, etc. It will lead to localization of corruption.
This is actually the beauty of true federalism. If corruption leads to underdevelopment and it seems like corruption cannot be eradicated, then let the dividends of corruption be pushed to the local levels.
Let the Ijaws be allowed to steal their own money, the Hausas, same, Igbos and Yorubas same. Let every region/tribe/community be responsible for its own development or underdevelopment (as it please). At least, an Igbo man will no longer say the Hausa leadership of Nigeria is marginalizing their region/towns. Under true federalism, it will be ‘we Yorubas are marginalizing ourselves’. Every state/region shall have full autonomy and control of its economy, resources, security, education, etc. There will be less interest at controlling the federal government because the money and power at that level must have changed hands with the local people and communities.
This is the beauty of true federalism. Competition and grassroot participation in governance will naturally deal with corruption.
Those who understand how federalism works will agree that the system has its own mechanism to fight corruption.