If you provide all the needs of a grown man, he will never become self sufficient. How can you foot all his bills and anticipate wisdom from him? You will have succeeded in stifling his creative acumen. The proposed national dialogue is timely and long overdue. Those who do not want to jaw-jaw on the terms and conditions of our corporate existence as a nation must be either naïve or mischievous. We must talk! And talk we must!
Nigeria cannot survive under this present arrangement and predicament. We must renegotiate our modus operandi as regards our God’s given natural resources. Every state in Nigeria is blessed with at least one natural resource that can cause financial explosion if well harnessed. Every state should constitutionally control her natural resources and contribute an agreed percentage to the Federal government. By so doing, the immense power concentrated on the centre will dissolve and become less attractive.
This is the recipe for survival as a corporate entity and rapid development. Any state that is solely dependent on the federal monthly allocation; the national cake, is a burden and nuisance to this great nation. An indolent, unproductive state is an aberration in the current global systems of government. Nigeria will be better off without such liability. Resource control among state in Nigeria will engender industry, innovation and unprecedented accountability. A state that is drowned in creative means of generating revenue to serve the people will experience lasting peace. A busy mind hardly resorts to violence or wanton destruction of lives and properties.
Resource control will awaken the spirit of competition for transformation among the states. Youth restiveness, religious/tribal bigotry will be a thing of the past. It is always frightening the manner Nigerian youths express bitterness and rancor on issues that bother on tribe and religion on the social media. They feel cheated and exploited by the power at the center.
Resource control will compel youths to have a rethink before bombing any place of worship, residential, commercial or public building when they realize that their impoverished state may not afford reconstruction in 20 years! Its time every state managed her resources and explored potentials for building lasting foundation for human and material development. It is not offensive to ask a grown man to take responsibility for his monthly upkeep. Nigeria cannot continue with this outdated policy of allocating monthly finances to a state that brings nothing to the national treasury. This system has not even favoured the beggar states. There are no responsible or honourable beggars! The spoon-fed states have constituted a painful nuisance to the rest of us as a country owing to the fact that they have access to free lunch. Nigeria cannot continue funding ungrateful states that chose to consistently wreak havoc on the rest of us. If we can’t cut them off completely, we can at least cut them to size. The availability of free-unmerited-unearned monthly resources will shut down the thinking faculties of any lazy man and energize him to embrace social vices.
Nigerians should utilize the opportunity of the proposed national dialogue to give momentum to resource control by the 36 states of Nigeria. Let the states develop new cities and empower their people to attract foreign investors. With resource control, the troubleshooting states will appreciate strangers in their midst and desist from molesting them. A state without enabling environment for investors will definitely close shop like a bankrupt enterprise. Terrorism will die a natural death when states take over her resources. The time to talk is now. The centenary anniversary should be a time of sober reflection on ways to create a better Nigeria for generations unborn, not a season of waste and white elephant projects. Truth be told, this revenue that is generated from crude oil has rendered us slothful as a nation. It is the bone of contention. It must be exhaustively deliberated before we can access peace and stability again.
Dr. Uzor Ngoladi is an Abuja based writer and journalist.