For Nigeria to move forward, we need to change and move beyond a number of things, beginning with our unproductive mindsets and defeatist cultural dispositions. The criminal thinking of “the oil in the Niger-Delta belongs to Kano” or “let’s all share the money Lagos State makes from its wealth creation activities” or “the lush green farmlands of Plateau State belongs to Bayelsa state farmers“, is asinine, petty and unproductive and the truth is that they do not. This sort of thinking is the premium product of a lazy person or society.
For our beloved Nigeria to succeed and grow, it MUST ammend the 1999 constitution to free up our potentials, via the devolution of power to the States to enable them become effective contributors to the national commonwealth, through the exploitation and maximisation of their comparative advantages instead of having them remain perpetual parasites and impoverished dependents of a currently struggling taskmaster.
The new political-economic system of Nigeria must ensure that States finance their recurrent expenditure from their internally generated revenue. This will ensure fiscal discipline on the part of our rock star governors.
The situation where a former Governor of Bauchi State had 600 plus aides, whom he financed with his state’s share of the proceeds of oil revenue – located in the Niger-Delta, must stop and only the adoption and practice of political and Fiscal Federalism will ensure that.
When the Governor of a state has to think of ways to develop and grow his state’s economy and IGR, he will have little time for folly and frivolity. Lagos State has succeeded because it was forced to look inwards after its federal allocations were withheld by the Obasanjo government over disagreements between the duo, vis a vis the creation of new local governments by the Lagos State Government.
Lagos began to broaden its tax base, became more fiscally disciplined, invested heavily in infrastructure and sundry capital projects and security, in order to attract and retain both local and foreign investments and today the internally generated revenue of Lagos is able to meet 70% of its needs, with federal allocation accounting for less than 30%.
Furthermore, the legal and regulatory framework governing the oil and gas sector needs to be reviewed, in other words, the Petroleum Industry Bill which has lingered at the “patriotic National Assembly” for almost 10 years needs to be passed into law.
A lot has been said about the revolutionary nature of this bill and it’s nationalistic intent, we must pass this bill into law in our own interests, the urgency of this action is more imperative at this time of dwindling economic fortunes.
It is tragic to note that one of the reasons for the delay in the passage of this bill into law has been the “view” of certain Senators from certain geo-political zones, who have insisted that “Host Communities” must include not only oil-producing communities that suffer the brunt of oil exploration activities, but also every community that hosts a gas station. Yes, a gas station (petrol station, filling station). This is unfortunate.
If Nigeria is to move forward then we must reconstruct our national political-economic architecture, and remove this system that subjugates economic development to sentiments and petty ethno-religious considerations, as the imbroglio surrounding the PIB has shown us.
Nigeria currently practices a system that ENABLES corruption and ENSURES bad governance and we need to change that. Nigeria can not continue to trust and depend on the good intentions of the men and women we elect into political office.
We must evolve and develop a system that incentivises hardwork, merit, good governance and sanctions stupidity, prebendalism and nepotism, irrespective of the good intentions or lack thereof of the political operators we elect.
The Bible says “that he that refuses to work, should not eat“, Nigeria runs a system that ensures that those who refuse to work, not only eat, but eat MORE than those that work, and this injustice has been our bane and the major, if not the sole reason we have been burdened with poor nay despicable leadership across all tiers of government in Nigeria since the return of democracy.
This must CHANGE.