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NGF: Can This Economic System Be The Best?

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Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State is revealing something new to us. His clamour for more funds for the states (as the chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum NGF) in the name of reviewing the Revenue Sharing Formula is like a cry of a family man raising his family without any budget. Amaechi said that the states are working too much, but he perhaps did not take to cognizance that the sharing of the revenue had been there for decades before coming to the gallery to draw our sympathy. How come the 'modern' governors are working so much? If they are working more than they are given it means that they are working without any budget or they are not thinking outside the box.

One wonders why the states are indirectly calling for the giving-up of the wealth control of Nigeria to them, whereas the 'little' the past governors were given, yet the anti-financial crime agents could trace billions of our collective naira to their bank accounts. Some were said to have owned up to seventeen bank accounts in different countries abroad. Some have had the best of weddings, burial celebrations etcetera while in office. Just name them. Was it not in this country that somebody used millions of our naira to celebrate a birthday? And here is somebody talking about 'poverty' of the states.

The states asking for review of the allocation-money is unbecoming. Come to think of it, the governors weld a lot of power, walking in front of the Federal Government, which is coming behind them. And one comes to think what could happen if they are given monetary power on top of the political power they have, but misuse. They based their income on oil leaving other sources they could generate fund from, like tourism, which has been the only source of income of many nations. Yet, those nations have gone far in human and environmental developments leaving Nigeria some millions of kilometers behind. The governors, without doubt, might be working, but how hardworking are they with devotion and willpower? The Federal Government that has been left to control the central coffer is not even safe. The people in Aso Rock that are handling this fund are not saints. Was it not in this country that a president held a ministerial position for eight good years? This shows that there are also rots that the central government shares. Nigeria talks much about federalism she has refused to share and practice. But it is not good how those at the federal level dictate how the states must use their money.

Hardly is any governor drastically head-bent on tackling crime rate in this country which is skyrocketing by the day with the dexterity they are using on the issue of reviewing the revenue formula. They are not telling and worrying the Federal Government that crime is slowing the quick business growth in their states because the states are subject to the Centre. It is annoying rather, that the governors relied on the monthly allocations coming from the FG each month. To many of us, the governors have no place being leaders of their different villages, let alone, governing their different states. The governors have not really proved that they are different from us they are leading because they have not come up with ways of improving on existing situation. Assuming we do not have oil, does it mean that the states cannot operate?

Amaechi once told Nigerians in an interview in July this year that big money is paid annually in the name of petroleum products subsidy. He said: “...the issue of subsidy is such that it only enriches a few individuals because when you look at it critically, how many Nigerians are enjoying this so-called subsidy that is being talked about? What is the correlation between the subsidy that is being paid and the lives of Nigerians? How has it affected the lives of Nigerians positively? Do you know that last year alone, over N1 trillion was expended on subsidy?”

Come to think of that what has the governors done in seeing that the lives of the common persons in their states are touched positively? Are the states resources saved wisely? And if the answer is yes, how come the governors are crying woes of lack of money to touch the lives of their constituents? Though, the governors did not say that they should be given money from the subsidy, but have argued that if the funds are freed, Nigerians will see the wand they have in their governors. Anyway, asking for the removal of the subsidy is like asking for the removal of the poor masses lives in this country. The governors have 'big eye' because they want the subsidy money that goes into the pockets of the said few to be diverted into their own 'pockets' in the name of deregulation where people now have to pay through their noses in making sure that they are alive or live in a blessed Nigeria that is cursed by man.

Why the governors are much bent on hammering on the subsidy is direful. But it is annoying that a state like Rivers State has two licenses to set up refineries, but it cannot set the refineries up due to the Federal Government is not helping matter. However, the governors are yet to believe that the removal of the oil subsidy will impoverish the already impoverished Nigerians. If a few people are pocketing the subsidy and the governors want it removed for them to control the prices of petroleum, it would be another poverty hemlock given to the ordinary Nigerians because things will really be bad. Subsidy does not make any nonsense of the matter to any seriously minded governor to deliver on his duty whether it is removed or not.

The governors should help Nigerians and avoid exhuming excuses for their ineptitude. Nigerians are already facing untold discomforts and the time for result is still farfetched. The governors should stop feeding us with such statements on the removal of the oil subsidy that once the deregulation is complete, Nigerians would have the choice to make and if the price is not right in one place, they can simply move to the next station and buy, just as it is happening with all the GSM service providers now. But even in the GSM, the poor Nigerians are paying enough money out of their nose; excluding those who live with our oil money that now want us to go to hell and burn to ashes.

Odimegwu Onwumereis the Coordinator, Concerned Non-Indigenes In Rivers State(CONIRIV). Mobile: +2348032552855 (or) +2348057778358. Email: [email protected]

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