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By Jimoh Babatunde

President of the African Development Bank Group, Akinwumi Adesina, has said that Nigeria’s restructuring should not be driven by political expediency, but by economic and financial viability.

He said this in a lecture “Nigeria, a Country of Many Nations: A Quest for National Integration” on the occasion of the 80th Birthday Celebration of Pastor E.A. Adeboye, General Overseer, Redeemed Christian Church of God.

Adesina said “I know the discussions are often emotive. Restructuring should not be driven by political expediency, but by economic and financial viability – the necessary and sufficient conditions for political viability.

“Surgeries are tough. They are better done well, the first time.”

He noted that for the constituent States in Nigeria to be more financially autonomous that they should focus on unlocking the huge resources they have, based on areas of comparative advantage.

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Adesina said doing that will enable the states to rapidly expand wealth for their people. “With their increased wealth they will be able to access capital markets to secure long-term financing to fast-track their growth and development.

He noted that states that adopt this strategy would have less of a need for monthly trips to Abuja for grants.

“Instead, part of their federal revenue allocations can be saved as internal ‘state sovereign wealth funds. This can then be used as guarantee against borrowings from capital markets. They would be free from needing to exclusively rely on the federal government.”

Adesina added that the resources found in each state or state groupings should belong to them.

“The constituent entities should pay federal taxes or royalties for those resources. The achievement of economically viable entities and the viability of the national entity requires constitutional changes to devolve more economic and fiscal powers to the states or regions.

“The stronger the states, or regions, the stronger the federated units. In the process, our union would be renewed. Our union would be stronger. Our union would be equitable. Our union would be fully participatory.”

While calling for an audacious move, he said “we must change the relational mindset between the states and Abuja: the fulcrum would be the states, while the centre would provide support to them, not lord over them.

“With good governance, better accountability systems, and a zero-tolerance for corruption, more economically stronger constituent states would emerge!

“We would unleash massive wealth across the states. It would be a commonwealth. Wealth for all, not wealth for a few. A New Nigeria would arise! We will need all of us — not some of us.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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