I have now come to the firm conclusion that Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP was actually not the problem of Nigeria. And also, President Buhari and the APC are likely not to be the solution to Nigeria’s seemingly endless problems.
The problem with Nigeria is the structure of its federalism. The existing federal structure does not only breed corruption, it also corrupts our politicians and leaders. It makes the state governments lazy and unproductive, it makes the local people poor, it sends too much power to the center and leaves the local people and their economy miserable. And worst of it all, the present structure does not enhance productivity, competition and efficiency amongst states and at the local levels. It makes Nigeria look like a Joke which for now, it is.
If Nigeria must make swift progress, then she must be restructured as soon as possible. What does restructuring mean? It simply means that the bulk of what we have on the exclusive list should be sent down to the concurrent list and the FG should stay clear of the concurrent list. In a nutshell, the states should be given more powers and more money to allow them embark on their new ‘more’ responsibilities. The states should be allowed to build, own, operate and distribute their own electricity and other critical infrastructures. The FG should take its hands of such issues like basic education, health, infrastructures, and other issues that are currently on our concurrent list. Nigeria is now too abstract for us to be looking up to her all the time, but our state and local governments are not abstract, they are here with us, we can hold them to ransom if the need arises, unlike our abstract Nigeria.
How can the states have money to do these new things? First, the monthly ritual of sharing allocation at Abuja MUST stop. The federating units must stop sending all their revenues to Abuja. All monies generated in Lagos should be spent alone in Lagos and by Lagos government, same applies to Kano, Bayelsa, Maiduguri, etc. The states should be allowed to manage their own economies and pay an agreed tax or percentage to Abuja for Nigeria’s upkeep. Let us not forget that it is only when the local federating units of Nigeria are developing that we can actually say Nigeria is developing. GDP that does not reflect the economic efforts of our local people and impact on our local population is meaningless. This is a problem we have always had in Nigeria. States that cannot afford to cope with this arrangement should either go bankrupt or merge to survive. We do not need 36 unproductive states to make up Nigeria.
We must not forget that Abuja is not Nigeria, if the various constituting units of Nigeria is not developing, especially from the local levels, then Nigeria is not developing. The local people should be in charge of their economy and this is the true way to verify a genuine GDP. Local Governments must not continue to look up to Abuja to survive, they must look within. They must build local infrastructures, tax local businesses and make profit to run their local economy and government. What is missing in Nigeria today is competition amongst the federating states and the only way to correct this abnormality is to restructure into a True Fiscal Federalism
#TrueFiscalFederalism remains the solution to Nigeria’s problem. President Buhari can only become our Messiah if and only if he restructures the government into a Fiscal Federalism. If he doesn’t, he will only end up being overwhelmed by the criminality of the present political structure.
I repeat, Nigeria must be restructured if we must make progress.