Following the disbursement of the bailout funds by the Central Bank of Nigeria to some states with the view to rescuing them from financial impasse, experts has questioned the economical and financial viability of some of those states considering their over dependence on the allocations that come from the centre.
Shortly after the inauguration of the present administration, both at state and federal levels, Nigerians were taken aback by the revelations that, eighteen out of the thirty-six states in the country were reported to having financial bottleneck which led to owing the monthly remunerations of their states’ work force, ranging from one to five months unpaid salaries.
As part of its intervening measures to salvaging the financial skirmish faced by some states and to offering them financial succor, the federal Government at the a meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and state governors who met the President under the umbrella of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, promised to assist the states through a bailout fund from the Central Bank of Nigerian, CBN.
However, most state governments who could not pay their workers’ salaries attributed the development to the dwindling in the oil prices at the global market of which Nigerian economy solely depends. The vacillation in the oil pricing system led to the drastic reduction in the allocations shared by both the federal and state governments thereby making some state governors to find it difficult to pay their workers wages pay while some of the governors resorted to percentage payment system.
Nigeria as a nation state, has been operating on mono-economic pedestal. The country is presently operating on a non-diversified economy which, according to experts’ views may not be suitable for a sustainable development. The country, which once depended on Agriculture in the 1950s and 1960s, has thrown other sectors of the economy into limbo due to its affinity for an oil inclined economy.
Unlike what is obtainable in other oil producing countries where the revenues accrued from oil are used to developing other complementing sectors, Nigeria, which is the 6th on the log of oil producing countries in the globe, has a different story as Nigerians remain in the oblivion of how much revenues the country generates from her God given petroleum resources.
More devastating however, is the inability of most state governments in the country to operate without the usual largesse that comes from the centre. It is on record that apart from Lagos state and a few other states, many other states in Nigeria may not be able to survive economical hardship, should the federal government block its ritual allocations.
Besides the inability of those states to paying the monthly wages of their workers, many people have questioned what the handlers of those state governments do with the allocations due them during the oil boom.
More worrisome is the lethargic approach employed by most states in Nigeria to mapping out other revenue generating modalities by looking inward to exploiting and exploring other solid mineral deposits, which are lying waste in their land alongside absence of a mechanism that will improve on the Internally Generated Revenue.
A documentary programme by the Nigerian Television Authority, NTA, in mid-June 2009 which was mainly dedicated to the field reports on mineral resources from different part of the country under the eagle watch of the then Minister of Mines and Steel development, Mrs. Diezanii Allison Madueke, revealed that, over 33 mineral resources were discovered in 2008 from across the states of the federation.
While there is no state in Nigeria that is empty of one or two solid mineral deposits, the said report also indicated that, Kogi state has the highest mineral deposit when viewed numerically. Her speech reads in part: “As far as mineral deposits are concerned, Kogi state and the next-door Nasarawa state are the most endowed across the entire country.
The statement also read further that, Kogi state alone has deposit of a total of 29 mineral resources available in commercial quantities.” The report further showed that, some of the mineral deposits discovered are coal, dolomite, feldspar, bauxite, iron ore, tar, limestone and gold to mention but a few.
As a trained Geoscientist, I am made to know that there are blessings within the soil and when such blessings are properly harnessed, they will not only bring succor to the people but they will also enhance a metamorphic change in the economical status of the people. Such geological blessings which in most cases appear in the form of mineral deposits are part of God’s plan to bettering the lives of the people that live within the land where such soil containing mineral deposits are found.
Empirical finding into the operational status of the activities of most state governments in Nigeria divulges that, apart from depending on federal allocations to running the affairs of the state, borrowing and taking of superfluous loans both from within and outside Nigeria remain the veritable media through which most Governors survive economically, making them to bequeathing high debt to their successors.
Barely a few months into the present administrative calendar, most states in Nigeria have borrowed funds ranging from 10 billion to 30 billion to run the affairs of their state while some of them premised their decisions to obtain loans on payment of salaries, other attributed it to infrastructural development, showing a clear picture of a parasitic economy in operation.
Governors and other stake holders managing the affairs of the various states in the country should be told to look inward and think out of the box. Nigerians have canvassed and are still canvassing the needs for revenue diversification as a way of remedying the economical impasse and logjam facing the Nigerian state. We have seen that, Oil money can no longer meet the need of Nigerian people despite the robust nature of petroleum resources in Nigeria which made the country rank as the first ten Oil producing countries across the nations of the world.
It is also a known fact that the Federal government operates on the principle of quid- pro-qou in terms of sharing of revenues to the state governments. This could be deduced from the sharp disparity in the federal monthly allocations between the oil producing states and the states that do not produce oil. It is also obvious that, the federal government gives back to the 36 states of the federation what each state contributes to the growth of national economy, a reason why most governors should be less depended on oil money.
There was a Nigeria before 1958 when oil was discovered. There was a Nigeria though without oil but with robust economy. There was a Nigeria without oil but with Good educational institutions which was seen as one of the best in the continent of Africa. There was a Nigeria though without oil but was powerful enough to feed her people and was exporting food to other nations of the world.
There was a Nigeria without oil whose graduates were not looking for jobs but jobs were handy even before they graduated from school. That Nigeria has not gone on extinction but perhaps there is a change in the managerial approach employed by those who were at the corridor of power then compared to what is obtainable in the present dispensation of Nigerian leadership. The time to look inward is now!

Oyigu Onucheojo Elijah wrote from Abuja

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