The Clarion Call For Restructuring Nigeria

“By Kano State ultimate decision, it destroys its own economy on purpose and thrives indirectly from the ‘hard work and wise decisions”

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25th December 2018, The Kano State Hisbah Board seized and destroyed more than 30 trailer loads of beer. In a statement by the board’s Public Relations Officer, Malam Adamu Yahaya, the cartons of beer were destroyed in response to an order issued by the magistrates’ court for us to go ahead with the exercise since it contravenes the Kano State Law Number 4 of 2004 which has banned the manufacture and use of intoxicants in the state.

Subsequently, Mr. Yahaya warned those selling beer to stay within their limits. There was a public outcry of the legal justification of such actions as it constitutes colossal economic waste and loss to the national purse presumably from proceeds of VATS that would have been collected from sales of such liquor to members of the public, albeit by choice.

Nevertheless, Kano state has made its choice and it stands. As a separate entity among the 36 states of the federation, independent to decide its economic drive and social structure, however, Kano state has by its actions, justified the clarion call by Nigerian of all class and affiliations, religion and tribe that each region of the 36 states of the Nigerian federation should develop within its limits of what is acceptable and what is not acceptable both in its social and economic structure, what it accepts as economic factor suitable for its regional development and what it will not accept.

The argument on economic viability of each state to take independent economic decisions states that some regions are not buoyant to stand and develop on its own without influence from Federal Capital Territory, Abuja while others are ‘super wealthy’ and should work for the collective interest of the ‘federation.’

This is not a balanced system and as awkward as it does appear, it constitutes an idea of robbing Peter to pay Paul, In a situation whereby the Nigerian Federal Government system thrives on revenues collected from Taxes to fuel its fiscal policy, it automatically robs itself continually as long as Abuja remains the principal decision maker on how revenues collected from the 36 states are shared for even development among the federation. In the absence of Oil as Nigeria’s principal economic determinant factor, the loophole of this system is bound to be unimaginably retrogressive!

By Kano State ultimate decision, it destroys its own economy on purpose and thrives indirectly from the ‘hard work and wise decisions’ of other regions of the states among the federation who collect taxes from brewery companies resident in their region to build revenues by engaging every citizens resident within its territory irrespective of religion, tribe and status.

More so, it encourages a lazy dependence on Abuja to share revenues mopped up from other active regions to states that unilaterally destroys its own economy by refusing to devise broad strategy to build or generate revenues for its economic gains. It does not encourage a competitive development neither does the system compel state administrators to devise meaningful objective to develop rather than waiting on largesse from the federal purse in Abuja or decisions compliant with its regional traditional values.

In addition to all the divergent calls on the need for Nigeria to consider restructuring its entire constitutional system to suit with reality of its multi-ethnic, tribal, and multifarious socio-economic challenges, the El-Rufai Restructuring Committee of 2017 came up with a 12 point recommendation which bothers on devolution of powers, Fiscal federalism and revenue allocation, resource control and Local government autonomy. Till date, every move to establish the implementation of these recommendations has either been thwarted or deliberately ignored.

In the course of political campaigns for the 2019 general election, the calls even became louder by various socio-political and religious groups including the Afenifere, Ohaneze and other regional champions that, for Nigeria to achieve any meaningful development it is imperative that the constitutional boundaries that define our co-existence as a federating units is redefined or we as a nation will continue to drive the wheel of deception even against our collective interest. Political leaders and foremost decision makers will by default win national support on this singular sincere premise that Nigeria cannot continue to relish on the seat of deception and lies about its existence as a unitary state under the guise of democracy and expect any meaningful development.

Let Lagos develop according to its capacity as a center of commerce, fix roads and infrastructure amenities within its territory without endlessly waiting on consent from Abuja that in most cases never will emerge. Let Abia state and the entire South East engage the advantages within its regional boundaries, the farmlands, the road networks and the industriousness of its people, let the entire North East and North West build an economy within its regional capacity and limitation to avoid ‘unwaranted wastes’ of national resources not supported by local traditions and culture within their region.

The silence of the Federal government on these recommendations and pressing opinions of all meaningful groups and individuals will continue to expose the irresponsibility of those in power to address the demands of office which ‘duty’ by privilege has empowered them to serve, worse off, is the burdens of angst and complaints, socio-economic problems and frustrations of the citizenry that should have been shared evenly is solely dumped upon the Presidency as the sole cause of all problems in the country exonerating the state governors and administrators whom should by default share larger responsibilities of addressing the needs and aspirations of their primary constituency.

Even more is the members of National assembly and state assemblies: would there be any serious implementation of whatsoever recommendation whether the El-Rufai proposal of 2017 or the Goodluck Jonathan 52 points Reports of the Constitutional Conference of 2014 that also bothers on similar recommendation by the El-Rufai group or by any other general opinions that promotes the restructuring of Nigeria by any means necessary, the people who would have the responsibility of effecting these amendments to the constitution would be the legislature at the federal and state levels.

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