New State For Everyone

on   /   in Editorial 4:02 am   /   Comments

IT appears some Nigerians would only be satisfied if each family gets a State. Even then, husband and wife may not agree on who becomes the governor of their State. Things are that ridiculous.

The recommendation of the National Conference that 18 new States be created is not for the well-being of Nigerians. How did the National Conference arrive at its decision? What contributions would 18 new States make to the development of Nigeria? Did the conference contemplate the implications of 18 new governors, 18 new State Assemblies, 18 new judiciary, with the other attendant bureaucracies?

We have passed the stage where new States would develop Nigeria. For years, new States have added to the national burden by diluting resources that would have been used in more productive areas.

States raise divisiveness to new levels. For every State created, there are at least another five that are denied. New minorities are raised. New political questions, some worse that the ones state creation intended to solve, emerge. Boundary disputes, disruption of careers in the public service are other issues. Agitations in new States quickly overtake matters that resulted in their creation. Most importantly, state creation leaves some States without adequately skilled work force.

Some States inherit poor bureaucracies. Civil servants are promoted above their competences to fill the top jobs in the new State. Indigenisation ensures removal of non-indigenes from key positions while indigenes fill the places even when they are not qualified.

Many of those who assume responsibilities in new States are often promoted above their competence in order to fill vacuums departing workers from other States created. With more States, the challenges become recurring, and endure.

A surprise of the National Conference’s recommendation is that it being made at the height for the clamour for a reduction in the cost of governance. Various options have been suggested for reducing costs at a time of dwindling revenues. Among the suggestions was reduction of the number of States. Some had argued for collapsing the States to six regions, along the lines of the six existing geo-political grouping of the 36 States.

States assumed undue importance once they became centres for allocation of national resources. They are also power centres. Every State produces new set of local power mongers, who quickly establish links with other power points in sustained self-service.

These come at great costs. The revenue allocations that would have been allocated to existing States are fragmented to a point where they barely meet the needs of bureaucracies. Resources for programmes that would benefit the people are wasted on bureaucracies.

States have become drains on the economy. Ceaseless agitations for them issue from the greed of politicians.

 

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