MasterwebNews 17/5/16 - Inevitability Of National Question For Nigeria: The Sooner The Best

[ Masterweb Reports: Emeka Umeagbalasi reports ] - (Onitsha Nigeria, 15th of May 2016)-My view and that of International Society for Civil Liberties& the Rule of Law were recently sought by some media establishments in Nigeria including the authorities of the Guardian Newspaper concerning the unfolding social happenings in the country and their spiralling negative effects on the polity; leading to some highly placed citizens of Nigeria calling for the return to Regionalism. Though our said view lent to the Newspaper under reference meant to be reflected in its latest edition (Sunday, 15th of May 2016) on the topic was omitted, but we are compelled by compelling circumstances to expand the pie and articulate the following position as our contribution to the raging debate for the purposes of “escalating and democratizing” well thought out views associated with the debate and taking same beyond the boundaries of Nigerian “paper media newsroom gamesmanship”..

 

 

 

 

Prominent among those that called for the return of Nigeria to Regionalism is Barr Ike Ekweremadu, who is also the Deputy President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Those Regionalism advocates are further divided into three schools of establishment, scholarship and activist groups. While the calls from the establishment and scholarship schools are narrower in scope (i.e. hinged on economic melt-down being experienced by sub-national entities or States), that espoused by activist school is larger or broader in scope (i.e. inevitability of a National Question & its timeliness) and it is heightened by violent approaches to the issues of democratic governance and its fundamental elements; adopted by Gen Muhammadu Buhari.

 

 

 

 

We make bold to say that the centrality of the above argument for or against Regionalism in Nigeria lies within the confines of a National Question. The question as whether the States will continue to be retained or be replaced with Regionalism or change or retention of present fiscal or revenue formulae, alone, is incapable of arresting and addressing holistically the age-long disunity and socio-economic backwardness of Nigeria. Therefore, the arguments of the two schools under reference are out-rightly dismissive and fire-brigade approach because economic status, alone, being cited by the two schools as sole reason necessitating clamour for return to Regionalism or otherwise;  is grossly an insignificant ground to alter the existence of “statism” in Nigeria or creation of new regionalism in the country. That is to say that clamours for abolition of States and creation of Regionalism for sole purpose of addressing the economic melt-down of the States, are too parochial, narrow-minded and lazily premised. If “economic buoyancy” is a fundamental reason for the existence of sub-national entities or States, or even national entities or countries; then poor countries like Benin Republic, Macedonia, Albania, Comoros Island, Djibouti, Laos, Nepal, Haiti, Fiji Island, etc would have fizzled out long ago and got permanently disbanded out of existence.

 

 

 

 

The stark realities behind the present economic crises in most, if not all the States in Nigeria are extensively self-inflicted and self-invited. There is gross corporate laziness on the part of most, if not all the chief executives of the affected States. Flamboyancy, over-sized government or cabinet composition, wasteful spending, parochialism, primitive lust for property acquisition and lifestyles, greed and graft are also responsible at large scale. To these States chief executives and their conspiratorial State lawmakers and their principal leaderships, governance is no longer a call to serve but an opportunity to loot, plunder and run governance as business enterprises or private companies.

 

 

 

 

Take the issue of borrowing, for instance, why must Nigeria’s rich and middle rich States go borrowing and for what reasons or purposes? Is borrowing a must? Typical example is Lagos State, which is the richest State or sub-national entity in Nigeria in terms of non-federal allocations or IGR and annual cumulative accruals; yet the State is the most indebted State in Nigeria. Lagos is one of the smallest land-massed States in Nigeria, measuring about 4,211 square kilometres; yet the most infrastructurally developed in Nigeria. The State is also the most urbanized in the country having witnessed infrastructural development as far back as over 155 years ago or 1861. The State is presently heavily indebted and the most indebted State in the country; despite being a N300billion-N350billion or $1.5billion-$1.75billion annual economy. Its Internally Generated Revenue alone for 2015 was put at N288billion.

 

 

 

 

The State currently has over N500billion internal and external debts. The question is: Is Lagos State supposed to borrow? Will the State crash if it does not borrow? Did Anambra State under Peter Obi crash for refusing to borrow? How come Anambra State under Obi left tens of billions of naira in cash and investments without borrowing and with appreciable infrastructural turn-around in the State?  What is the size of Lagos State monthly wage bills? What is supposed to be its monthly wage bills? What is the percentage of infrastructural challenge in Lagos State particularly virgin or new infrastructures considering its highly urbanized and infrastructural development level? What will it take Lagos State to run its supposedly maintenance governance without getting sunk in serial indebtedness?

 

 

 

 

 The same problems above are also found in other buoyant States like FCT, Ogun, Kano,  Delta, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom and Rivers States, and to an extent, Edo, Abia and Imo States; a situation whereby richer States are more heavily indebted locally and internationally than the poorer States of the Northeast, Northwest and North-central zones and their counterparts in Southeast a

 
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