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Nig. federalism directs power & funds to FG

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By Mercy Kelani

Enugu gov. says this act hinders socioeconomic development in the states.

Dr. Peter Mbah, the governor of Enugu State, believes that Nigeria’s current system of presidential federalism, which concentrates power and funds at the national level, is hindering the quick progress of socio-economic development in the states. Mbah compared Nigeria’s federalism to a large family with 36 children, where only a few were burdened with too much work, resulting in weakness. He emphasized that the difficult times could serve as a chance to revamp the country’s production approach.

On the other hand, he praised the decision to shift control of railways and power from the Exclusive List to the Concurrent List, giving states the opportunity to participate in these industries. He also admired the current talks and favourable attitude of the President Bola Tinubu Administration towards granting more authority to the states. At the London School of Economics, LSE, the governor presented his thoughts on the new political leadership and bold economic vision for Enugu State, Nigeria.

This system has resulted in an imbalance of revenue distribution.

His talk focused on health and education strategies in a public lecture titled Enugu State, Nigeria: New Political Leadership; Bold Economic Vision – Spotlight on the Health and Education Strategies. Mbah expressed the idea that the decision to adopt a presidential system was likely influenced by the positive impacts of federalism in countries with similar vast and diverse populations. However, this system has resulted in an imbalance of revenue distribution, with a disproportionate amount being concentrated at the national level instead of being dispersed among states or regions.

In Nigeria’s federal system, it is like having a large family of 36 children, but only five are given the responsibility of tending to the family’s farmland. Over time, these five children grow old and weak, making it impossible for them to continue farming. Could it possibly be considered unexpected that the family is currently facing difficult circumstances? Wouldn’t it make sense for the family to reassess their production approach during times of hardship, recognizing the potential for growth that can emerge from challenges?

Nigerians continue to experience failure in leadership on a regular basis.

He mentioned that if such a hypothetical situation were to occur, it would result in severe economic difficulties for the family, compelling them to quickly make important decisions to better their unstable financial situation. The real struggle lies in finding the motivation and ability to make these necessary changes, as the country has observed. Mbah emphasized the importance of leaders implementing political will, prioritizing the needs of the people, and embracing a leadership style that goes beyond ordinary boundaries, while ongoing talks on increased devolution take place.

The root of Nigeria’s societal and economic issues lies in the lack of strong leadership. This has hindered its progress for a long time. Despite the desire for leaders with exceptional morals, the country continues to experience failure in leadership on a regular basis. An effective leader is someone who has a clear vision and is able to make dreams a reality, rather than just offering empty promises. This is exemplified by the success story in Enugu State, which took place in a span of about nine months.

Related Article: Nigeria Needs True Federalism to Thrive

Additionally, the government has set an ambitious goal to increase the economy of Enugu State by seven times, aiming to raise the state’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from $4.4bn to a minimum of $30bn within the next four to eight years. This vision is its boldest and most significant target for economic growth in the state. He declared that yet another ambitious goal is striving to achieve a poverty headcount index of zero percent in Enugu State.

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