As FG Rescues States Financially | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe

Our View, Views

As FG Rescues States Financially

Posted: Jul 8, 2015 at 12:44 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

It is good news that President Mohammadu Buhari has reportedly decided to assist the states financially to enable them pay their bills. This is coming in form of a Central Bank- packaged intervention fund that will offer financing to the states, ranging from N250 billion to N300 billion. According to the presidential spokesperson, Femi Adesina, the fund will be a soft loan available to the states for the purpose of paying backlog of salaries. 

The Federal Government’s (FG’s) gesture is humane and commendable. It shows President Buhari as a listening and considerate leader. Certainly, when people are paid their wages, they can be optimally productive. The agitations in the various states in recent times are alarming as strike is being threatened everywhere because of the non-payment of workers’ salaries. The issue is a hard nut to crack. Even some state governors admit that the situation is beyond them.  This open admission is threatening the peace of some states and has prompted the call for some governors’ resignation. Nigeria is at a critical period and everything possible is required to maintain peace, which is being threatened daily by Boko Haram attacks. When a state boils, national peace is disturbed. This is a key reason why President Buhari’s fatherly gesture is timely.

Nevertheless, the gesture should be a one- off thing. It must not continue. State governors should fashion out ways of generating funds for their states. This idea of going cap in hand before the FG whenever they are in financial straits does not smack of seriousness. If a state governor lacks the wisdom and economic blue-print to make his state solvent, then he has no business being in the state house. Nigeria is a blessed nation. Each state of the country has its peculiar money-spinning natural resources. Unfortunately, many governors are not looking inward, but are instead waiting for the monthly oil stipend from the FG for survival. Some are not considering the peculiarities of their states but are busy imitating other states’ programmes which are not meant to work in theirs.

Apart from the arable land of Nigeria, which can grow crops for self-subsistence and exportation, each state is blessed with peculiar natural resources. But what efforts are the state governors making to tap the resources? Where are the coals of Enugu and the groundnut pyramids of Kano? What is Osun State doing with its granite and columbite? What has Oyo done with its clay, kaolin and marble; Plateau with its emerald, tin, marble and granite; Abia with its lead and zinc; Adamawa with its kaolin and magnesite; Anamabra, Akwa-Ibom and Bayelsa with their lead, zinc and limestone; Bauchi with its violet and uranium; Benue with its iron-ore and clay; Bornu with its dialomite and hydrocarbon (oil and gas); Cross River with its uranium and salt; Delta with its marble and gypsium; Ebonyi with its gold and salt; Ondo with its bitumen and clay; Yobe with its soda-ash; Taraba with its kaolin, lead and zinc; Sokoto with its limestone and phosphate; Rivers with its glass-sand and marble; and Zamfara with its cotton and gold?

If subsequent state governors have been making efforts to harness these natural resources in the past, the states would have reached their full economic potential by now. Unfortunately, all states still struggle to draw their financial strength from the national purse as though they are in competition. A state that is not economically independent is not fit to be a state. Such should merge with a bigger state. Being a governor confers a great deal of responsibility on the person so called. The office calls for discipline, selflessness and far-sightedness. We insist, therefore, that even if the FG is sharing out money to the states as a way of rescue, it should be in form of payable loan. Every state should be responsible and should strive to be financially independent.