By Osagie Otabor, Akure
President of the African Development Bank Group, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, has said states in Nigeria are poor because they do not maximally explore or leverage what they already have in abundance.
Dr. Adesina said the federal system of monthly grant helped to paralyse the state.
Adesina spoke virtually in Akure on the topic “From Federal Fatherism to a Commonwealth” while delivering the second term inauguration lecture of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu.
He noted that the financial pilgrimage to Anujw to collect what he termed monthly federal manna has created a sense of helplessness and overt dependency on the centre.
The former Minister of Agriculture said only three states in Nigeria could survive without a federal revenue allocation.
Describing the Nigeria federalism as a federalism of fiscal dependency, Adesina stated that what is needed is greater economic and fiscal autonomy.
He warned that the issue was less about State or regional autonomy but financial and economic viability of Nigeria’s constituent states.
According to him, “Nigeria federalism does not grow its constituent entities. It simply makes them perpetually dependent. The Nigeria system is not Federalism but fatherism.
“Political autonomy is meaningless unless it is backed by greater fiscal self-reliance at the state level.”
The ADB President said the low tax rates in Nigeria was not a justification to keep
He said Nigerians paid one of the highest implicit taxes which are not seen or recorded but the government transferred their responsibilities to the citizens.
Dr. Adesina called for urgent need to diversify the source of financing for states across the country even as he declared Nigerians in Diaspora as new oil well.
He urged state governments to float diaspora bonds targeting specific investments to Finance infrastructural development.
Adesina said the way of economic quagmire was not restructuring driven by political expediency but economic and financial viability.
“States can become even more financially autonomous through greater fiscal prudence. If states focus on unlocking the huge resources they have based in areas of comparative advantage they will rapidly expand wealth for their people.
“The achievement of economically viable entities and the viability of the national entity require constitutional changes to devolve more economic and fiscal powers to the states or region.”
On his part, Governor Akeredolu who insisted that he would not reply comments by some governors on insecurity said it was great national pain that the national consciousness was being attacked on a daily basis.
Akeredolu who blamed the growing sectional activism on what he termed ‘faulty and twisted federalism as operated in the country’ said it was regrettable that those with palpable national passion and patriotism were tilting to the unintended ethnic nationality cabin.
The Ondo Governor identified insecurity as the most potent threat to national belief and insisted that the South West states would fight insecurity with every legal means.
He said the support for open grazing would benefit the cattle owners more.
His words, “It is our interest to fight criminalities. It is in the interest of our collective wellbeing.
“All we require is the support and understanding of all Federating Units, including the Federal Government. The simple truth is that we have lived in self-denial amid an excruciating pain that is almost cancerous now.
“Notwithstanding our challenges today, my firm belief in the Nigerian Project is strengthened by my fact of a true Nigerian.
“That I desire a more United Nigeria with every ingredient of freedom, rule of law, patriotism, love, mutual respect and harmony is an understatement. And I am prepared to fight for it legitimately for the benefit of all.”
At the event were; the Chairman of Occasion, Yobe state Governor and Chairman APC Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, Hon. Mai Mala Buni, who was represented by the former Senate President, Senator Ken Nnamani, minister of state for Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Donald Tayo Alasoadura, former deputy governor, Senator Iyiola Omisore, Engr. Ade Adetimehin and other important dignitaries.