Former presidential and governorship aspirant, Prof. Pat Utomi, has warned that Nigeria may go the way of Somalia if its governance structure continues as it is.
Utomi, who served as adviser to second republic president, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, said governance should be people-focused as against the present system in Nigeria, which he said was focused on politicians.
In an interview with Daily Sun, Utomi flayed the decision of the government to allocate more resources to politicians while less emphasis was placed on creating job opportunities for citizens warning that even the political class would pay the price if Nigeria was plunged into crisis as is happening in Somalia.
“This is a country where you have someone buying two or three private jets, a country where there are no opportunities, where graduates are roaming the streets with nothing to do. So, it should not be a surprise if we travel down that road to Somalia. It is sad that Nigeria is going down that road to Somalia.
“This is why there is urgency for a government where the focus is on the people to take over from the current structure where the focus is on politicians. Currently, the entire structure of public service is on how we can sustain politicians in their comfort. All people of conscience must realise that we are in a lose-lose situation. Politicians who think that they are being taken care of by the system now, will ultimately lose out if we become Somalia,” he said.
Utomi called on the Federal Government to de-emphasis revenue sharing based on number of local governments as it encouraged laziness.
“Before local governments became a factor in revenue sharing, there were twice more local governments in southern Nigeria than in the North, but since local governments became a factor in revenue sharing, political muscle was used to create more local governments in the North.
Today, out of the 774 local governments in Nigeria, you have more than 500 of them in the old Northern region. But we must ask ourselves why the North who get more revenue are getting poorer than the South? It is because you don’t get rich on revenue, you get rich on production. This is the basic truth we must tell ourselves.”
He also faulted the Federal Government’s 774,000 job creation scheme, saying that the foundation of the scheme was faulty.
“I think the whole approach to job creation is wrong. That is not how jobs are created; what they are doing is job manufacturing. Job creation is to have a productive goal which will stimulate job creation. Trivia Economics suggests that in times when you need to stimulate the economy, you may even need to give people jobs of digging holes and then covering them, just to keep them employed.
I think Nigeria has to urgently diversify the base of its economy and whatever new jobs been are created should be able to lead to this diversification and sustainable growth of the economy.
“The strategy should be based on the comparative advantage of an area in the economy. What this translates to in structural economics is that you take factor endowment of that area and look for how you can build up the capacity to dominate global value chain around that environment,” he said.