From Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure
President of African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina has made a case for true federalism in Nigeria, saying the system will birth proper development and enhance independence of component states.
Adesina who delivered the inauguration lecture of the second term of Ondo Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, said Nigeria needs true federalism in order to grow.
He cited the case of the total value of bitumen reserves in Nigeria which he said could be worth up to $1.5trillion, saying with an estimated 16 billion barrels in Ondo State, the potential state wealth from bitumen alone could be worth $657billion. The paradox, however, is that Nigeria spends over N300billion importing bitumen, he said.
“Given its vast resources in bitumen, Ondo State should have the best roads in Nigeria. But its roads are barely tarred with bitumen. Ondo state’s wealth is not seen;it is locked under the ground. The state ranks number 13 in the top 20 states in Nigeria in terms of its GDP, estimated at $8.4billion. That’s the irony of Nigeria’s states, with stupendous resources, all concentrated at the centre, states are ever dependent on the centre. With the magnetic field of federal revenue allocations, states are constantly pulled, powerlessly into perennial dependency. Nigeria’s federalism does not grow its constituent entities. It simply makes them perpetually dependent. The Nigerian system is therefore not federalism, but ‘fatherism’. The resources found in each state or state groupings should belong to them. The constituent entities should pay federal taxes or royalties for the resources. The stronger the states, or regions, the stronger the federated units,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ondo Governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu would be sworn in for a second term in office today. The governor would be sworn in alongside the deputy governor elect, Mr Lucky Aiyedatiwa at an event slated for the International Events Centre, Akure. State Chief Judge, Justice Akeredolu is expected to swear in both Akeredolu and Aiyedatiwa.