Home Column Self seeking Nigerians are holding down nation’s progress

Self seeking Nigerians are holding down nation’s progress

by Business News Report

When the Nigerian government eventually agreed for Nigerians to hold a national dialogue on the way forward, many saw it as an avenue to put right what is wrong among the federating units. But Nigerians, who were enthused by the decision, became disillusioned by the some of the men and women that were nominated to pilot and hold the discussions on behalf of the rest of us.

The membership of national is a list of men of yester yes who individually and collectively held down the nation. Several of them have been a clog in the wheel of progress of the Nigerian nation; men and women whose source of wealth has mainly been from economic rent. Majority of those at the conference under normal circumstance would not make it. They have lived as parasites, sucking their host – Nigeria- dry.

They have been stealing the nation’s resources. Knowing this, they have vowed never to let states control their resources. They, like their sponsors, see Nigeria as their farm yard. Because oil was found in Nigeria, mineral resources were conferred on the federal government so that those who have access to political power can expropriate it for their benefit. It is not for the benefit of Nigerians, but for selfish interest of the few who have political access.

This group has continued to perpetuate themselves. The same men have refused to allow the restructuring of the federation to allow states control their destiny. Instead the men and women who have styled themselves wise one have failed to display any act of political or economic wisdom. Instead of allowing what will free the nation from their clutches they are looking for how to further drag the nation down.

How can any Nigeria in his right senses be calling for the creation of 18 additional state. They are planning to ensure that the state structure in the country is further weakened so that no state in the federation will ever be in a position to say know to who ever is at the center. Refusing to allow states to manage their resources and asking for the creation of additional states; knowing fully well that the current 36 states can not stand on their own without federal allocation is to under mine the future economic progress of the nation and encourage the lazy idea of continued dependence on oil.

This over dependence on oil is the bane of the nation’s progress. No one is ready to work hard knowing that oil is flowing. This has led to the continued struggle for control of oil resources in the control This struggle to control the oil wealth of the nation has been an issue between the north and the south. The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) sometime in 2011 raised a committee of six, headed by Governor Babatude Fashola of Lagos State, to review the revenue formula and submit its recommendation.

The Lagos helmsman said that the committee recommended a new formula: Federal Government (35 percent), the 36 state governments (42 percent) and the 774 local governments (23 percent). The current revenue formula gives the Federal Government 52 percent, states 26.72 percent and the local governments 20.60 percent.

The formula was not accepted by the federal government because they do not want to lose control. At the National Conference the issue of 18 per cent derivation has torn members apart. It has raised its ugly head and caused another heated debate that poralised members at national conference.

The supposed north stood against resource control and asked that the 18 per cent given to oil-producing state be slashed and that 5 per cent be allocated to develop the north east. These men claiming to represent the north do so only when it is in their interest. Who are these men talking about north all these while? Who do they people speak for? Is it the north that has been so very deprived that these self-seeking individuals are talking about? Men from the north have ruled Nigeria for a long while, why did they not encourage mass literacy in the north? How many of these wealthy northern elements have set up schools for the less privileged among them? What about the various state governments; if they have had the interest of this north they so want to defend, why have they not invested in human capital all these years? Was the money they have gotten so far from revenue allocation been appropriately applied for the benefit of the average Almajirai? It is when it pleases these rent seekers that they talk about the north. Can these men look at the global best practice in a federating state? Nigeria has no defined fiscal structure in states and has not pursued taxation as main revenue source as a result of earnings from oil. Each level of government has in the last 50 years or so, depended solely on revenue from sale of crude which is monetized every month and shared in a formula that is somewhat skewed in favour of the Federal Government.

States and local governments in the federation have abandoned their responsibility of generating and developing their internal resources and only depending on the federal allocation for payment of salaries and borrowing for infrastructural development. This aberration arose from the incursion of the military into the polity that allocated resources based on its concept of its command structure. In an established federalism, the principles of public finance, particularly of taxation, have received attention from the earliest days of economic analysis. The mercantilist, the physiocrats as well as the classical economists, advanced propositions concerning tax principles.

David Ricardo and John Stuart Mills recognised the division of the subject-matter of public finance into three aspects – revenue, expenditure, and public debt. Yes in Nigeria, there is revenue, expenditure and debt in public finance. The question is; what are the sources of revenue in public finance in Nigeria? Up till now, about 90 percent of public finance is from oil. What about other natural resources that are said to abound in the country? In every state of the federation, there are large deposits of mineral resources that when developed, can earn the country more money than oil, yet nothing is being done. Nigeria does not need additional states but a constitutional arrangement that allows state control their resources and pay tax to maintain the federal bodies.

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