From Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure
President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Dr Akinwumi Adesina has made the case for true federalism in Nigeria, saying the system will birth proper development of all the states and enhance their independence.
Adesina, in an inauguration lecture marking the second term of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, said Nigeria needs true federalism in order to grow.
‘The total value of bitumen reserves in Nigeria could be worth up to $1.5 tillion,’ Adesina said. ‘With an estimated 16 billion barrel in Ondo State, the potential state wealth from bitumen alone could be worth $657 billion. The paradox however is that Nigeria spends over N300 billion importing bitumen
‘Given its vast resources in bitumen, Ondo State should have the best roads in Nigeria. But its roads are barely tarred with Bitumen. That is the irony of Nigeria; it imports what it has in abundance and leaves its own resources untapped.
‘Ondo State’s wealth is not seen. It’s locked under the ground. The state ranks number 13 in the top 20 states in Nigeria in terms of its GDP, estimated at $8.4 billion. 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 added.
Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu will on Wednesday be sworn in for a second term in office.
Akeredolu will be sworn in alongside the Deputy Governor-elect, Mr Lucky Aiyedatiwa, at an event which will hold at the International Events Centre, Akure.
The state Chief Judge, Justice Akeredolu, is expected to perform the swearing in for both Akeredolu and Aiyedatiwa.