Nigeria, although a country that professes the principles of federalism is like a father with 36 perceived adult-children living and eating from his dining table every day. As is common in families full of irresponsible adults, big papa Federal Government of Nigeria shares billions monthly to states who see it as their only source of survival.
It is not news any more to observe state governors waiting patiently (or impatiently in the case of many), like a kennel of salivary Azawakh dogs, for the monthly largess to pounce on. This is a most irritating thing to watch.
State governments are supposed to be creative in dealing with the issues of governance and economic prosperity within their boundaries.
All states in Nigeria have the potential to function as an economically independent state, but few – if any – have actually thought close to the boundary that leads outside their boxes of mediocre mental comfort. Hence, they march to Abuja every month with sacks and basins, like irresponsible village women headed to the village square, to fetch their portion of the cooked national cake.
I hear (don’t ask me how) someone thinking, “Does this fellow not know about the Land Use Act? My State is full of solid minerals but we cannot touch it!” O yes, I know about that Act and would be the first to acknowledge that although it is designed in a way that limits states from directly benefitting from the exploitation of solid mineral potential domiciled within their jurisdictions, it can only limit the unthinking. I say this because the most valuable resource given to man by God is not under the earth but caged in the skull of every human being. So, forget the earth of the states and look for a moment at the economic value of the people living in the states.
All states in Nigeria have a population of over 1 million people – that is 1 million brains! Science says (and science is right in this statement) that 1 human brain has unlimited potential because of the billions of neural pathways or interconnectivity it possesses. This means that a state with 1 million healthy brains has 1 million-billion possibilities for prosperity! With this in mind, how many state governors have you seen make policies that show they understand the true potential of the people they govern?
Let us take this one step further and I will show you that development is not rocket science. I live in beautiful Kaduna – beautiful because it boasts of at least 9 million brains. Its metropolis has major and minor markets, several streets, countless wild mango trees and about 1 million cars. 1 million cars provide an economic opportunity. An economic opportunity because these cars will get spoilt and their owners will require the services of mechanics. Kaduna state can establish zoned mechanic cities with properly designed and functioning structures, drainages, and major utilities. Here, the state can charge a toll fee of 500 naira per car per day that come in to use the city’s convenient modern services. If 300,000 cars visit these yards in a week, the state will make a sum of 150 million naira. This translates to 600 million naira monthly. This is asides the affordable monthly rent they can charge the mechanics, spare parts sellers, tow truck owners, transporters, restaurants, and other small businesses that use the cities as their primary business location. These figures are, by the way, not an exaggeration because much needed jobs will also be created with such a simplistic method of organization.
I submit to you that economic prosperity is possible in every state in Nigeria if the designers of state government economic policies will use their individual limitless brain to think of a way out. Nigerian state governments must take personal responsibility for the development of their states and begin to creatively generate the required funds to run independently. We need to look at what we can generate in terms of health, security, food and other social services, and make adequate use of these services to generate funds for the development of the states…