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Nigeria should devolve or dissolve

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By Yinka Odumakin

WERE it not that I have given up on Nigeria as it is, I would have made a demand on the Minister of Power, Housing and Works (I hope that is the order), Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) to throw into the dustbin most of the agenda he has been sharing. I particularly would have called on the minister to shove all he has put down on Works until he has undertaken the onerous assignment .

It is a very simple one but somewhat difficult for Nigerian officials whose job description is about every other thing else but serving the people. They prefer to live large and big at the expense of the people without caring a hoot about deliveries to the very essence of their being in office.
It was out of consternation for the large life our officials live that this writer warned at the 2014 National Conference that if the price of oil should crash our jet-flying governors would look for Okada to ride. Though I don’t like quoting myself often but I need to pull this again:

“If price of oil crashes today, govs flying jets will look for okada to ride – Delegate”

“A delegate representing the South West geo- political zone of the country, Yinka Odumakin told other delegates yesterday that if the price of oil crashes today, governors who he alleged to be going round the world with private jets, will look for motorcycles, known as Okada to ride.
Contributing to debate on report of the devolution of power Committee yesterday, Odumakin also said that if no oil, only Lagos state out of the 36 states of the country would be able to use its Internally Generated Revenue, IGR to pay workers’ salaries.

He said, “The recommendations of the Devolution Committee to use 4.5 % of our annual budget to develop other mineral resources outside oil is the most apt thing to do now to get out of the sharing culture that is holding Nigeria down.We are engaged in one of Ghandi’s identified 7 Social Deadly Sins-Wealth Without Work.If oil prices should crash today,all our states would collapse and the governors flying jets all over the place will look for okada to ride.


“The grim reality below shows that we must embrace wealth flowing from work by going under the soil in our various states to diversify the economy.”

On IGR and States’ wages, the delegate said, “Only one of the 36 states can afford to pay workers’ salaries with internally generated revenues.
The remaining 35 states generate only a fraction of funds they require to settle their wage bills annually. This means that without federal funds, these states cannot even afford salaries payment, not to talk of executing any projects.

“Information on states’ wage bills comparisons with data on their internally generated revenues (IGR), published by the National Bureau of Statistics, the result showed that only Lagos State can pay salaries of its workers by solely relying on revenues generated internally.
“None of the 19 Northern states has this much financial muscle. They all depend on federally-allocated subventions, mainly made up of funds generated from sales of crude oil that is extracted down south.

“Other components of the federal allocation, shared between the three tiers of government on monthly basis, include taxes collected by the Nigerian Customs Service and the Federal Inland Revenue Service.

“The data published by the statistics bureau showed that in 2010 and 2011, only seven states had IGR in two-digit billions. Lagos is the only one with a three-digit figure, while the remaining states had single digits.

Low IGR, high wage bill

In 2012, the situation improved slightly with 12 states recording double-digit figures in billions while Lagos remained the only with three-digit figures.

“The implication of the low revenue generation by the states is that most of them can barely sustain themselves without recourse to monthly federal subventions.

Most states have had to take short-term bank loans to settle wages whenever there were delays in the monthly disbursements by the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC).

“Lagos generated N219 billion in 2012, three times its annual wage bill of N76.5 billion. States that generated more than N10 billion in 2012 are Kano, Kaduna, Oyo, Ondo, Ogun, Enugu, Edo, Delta, Cross River and Akwa Ibom.

Among states with fairly strong revenue bases are Rivers, which generates the second highest IGR of N66.2 billion in 2012, but has an annual wages bill of N96 billion.

“Edo made N18.9 billion revenue but is weighed down by a salary bill of N28 billion yearly, while Cross River generated N12.7 billion though it pays N22 billion wages annually.

Even though Kano has the highest IGR in the North, the N24 billion it generated in 2012 is not enough to pay salaries of its workers, which is N36 billion yearly. Kaduna, the second internal revenue earner in the North, garnered N11.5 billion but which is less than half its N27.4 billion annual wage bill.

“The situation with the remaining states is worse, as their annual wage bills are several times larger than their internally generated revenues.

For instance, Zamfara’s internally generated revenue is N2.5 billion in 2012, while its annual wage bill is N13.2 billion; Yobe generated N1.7 billion, and has a yearly salaries bill of N18 billion; while Adamawa’s N23 billion wage bill is five times higher than its IGR of N4.6 billion.
Even oil-rich Bayelsa State generated only N3 billion in 2011, but pays N48 billion in salaries yearly.

“Nasarawa made N4.1 billion in 2012 but spends N24 billion yearly in salaries; Sokoto generated N3.8 billion in 2010 and spends N16.8 billion on annual wages; and Kogi got N3.1 billion in 2012 but it is workforce soaks up N44 billion yearly.

“Kwara (salaries, N11 billion; revenue, N7.2 billion), Benue (revenue, N8.4 billion; salaries, N34.8 billion), Katsina (salaries, N14.4 billion; revenue, N5 billion), Bauchi (salaries, 26 billion; revenue, N4.1 billion), Ondo (revenue, N10.1 billion; salaries, N48 billion), Plateau (revenue, N7 billion; salaries, N20.7 billion), Kebbi (revenue, N5.4 billion; salaries N12 billion), Niger (revenue, N3.7 billion; salaries N31.2 billion), and Gombe (salaries, N14.4; revenue, N3.7 billion).

“Others are Abia (salaries, N30 billion; revenue, N3 billion), Akwa Ibom (salaries, N33.2 billion; revenue, N13.5 billion), Anambra (revenue, N6.1 billion; salaries, N16.3 billion), Borno (salaries, N20.7 billion; revenue, N2.4 billion), Delta (revenue, N45.5 billion; salaries, N85.2 billion) and Ebonyi (salaries, N16.8 billion; revenue, N14 billion).

“There are also Ekiti (salaries N24 billion, revenue N3.8 billion), Imo (revenue N6.8 billion, salaries N22.8 billion), Jigawa (salaries N33.5 billion, revenues N1.4 billion), Osun (salaries N22.8 billion, revenue N5 billion), Oyo (salaries N49 billion, revenue N14 billion), Taraba (revenue N3.4 billion, salaries N21.6 billion).”
(Henry Umoru, Vanguard July 9,2014).”

We thank God Almighty that in less than two years these words have come to pass before our very eyes and our officials would gradually be coming down to our level as oil now sells below $30. Let’s pray it crashes to less than $10 before the end of this year so we can all know it is time to quit our indolence and work”

Message to Fashola

What would I have asked Fashola to do? To undertake a trip to Accra from Lagos by road the way I did recently.
From Mile 2 to Seme border I fought with my driver all the way as we went in and out of one pothole (or crater)after It was like a journey through a war-torn country. It is unimaginable that this was a drive through an international route in a richly endowed country.

It was a different ball game when we crossed to Benin. Immediately we stepped out of Nigeria,we did not enter one pothole till we arrived Accra. My worry this time around was speed as I reminder mty driver over and again to get the speed within reasonable limit particularly when I woke up from my slumber to see he was doing 150km/hour.

It was shameful going through roads in Benin,Togo and Ghana without seeing a pothole on the road.These are small countries that do not have the human and material resources of Nigeria but are fixing their problems.Most of the roads are not dual carriage but they are smooth and you drive with ease.

My experience immediately told me that Nigeria has no chance of making it except it devolves power and resources to its federating units. If all the roads called “Federal Roads” in Nigeria are transferred to regional administrations with authority to use their resources under their soil, there is no way some regions would not do better than the Federal Government is doing at the moment. If Togo could build motor-able road why would the South East not do same? If Benin Republic could fix its roads why would the North Central not b able to do so? Why would the South-South fail to achieve that which Ghana has perfected? Awolowo already took the South-West beyond this rudimentary before Nigeria became a drag on Yorubalnd!

There is therefore no reason for Nigeria as it is.It is not useful to anybody except those who want to loot. We must therefore devolve immediately as the ONLY alternative is to dissolve.

When Rehoboam the son if Solomon became King in Israel, the people came to him and ask him to lighten their burden from what it was in the days of his father. The king asked them to come in three days so he could consult his cabinet. Unfortunately, they gave him a wrong advice .

When the people returned, the King told them that whereas his father chastised them with whips, he was going to use scorpion.This infuriated the people who moved from asking for restructuring to demand independence and said to him:
Get lost, David!
We’ve had it with you, son of Jesse!
Let’s get out of here, Israel, and fast!
From now David, mind your own business (Message Translation)

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