The Oyo Governor wants the FG to hand over road construction and agriculture to states.
The Governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi, says the Federal Government is too far away from the people and can never be efficient in service delivery in its present state.
Mr. Ajimobi stated this over the weekend in Chicago, USA, when he delivered a keynote address titled “The Need for True Federalism in Nigeria: A Perspective from Oyo State’’ at a roundtable discussion on Nigeria.
“From my experience as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria between 2003 and 2007, and Governor of Oyo State since last year, I make bold to say that there are too many responsibilities and resources at the federal level to allow for efficiency,” the governor said.
“The Federal Government has become so big that it is theoretically and practically impossible to guarantee efficiency.
“For instance, a report has indicated that the Federal Government is executing over 1,000 projects at a time.
“There is no way, given the capacity of the bureaucracy at the federal level, that efficiency can be guaranteed in the deployment of resources in this circumstance,” he added
Hand over roads, agriculture
The Oyo State Governor said the FG can ensure service delivery to Nigerians by transferring responsibility on some infrastructural programmes to the states.
He listed some of these to include road construction and agricultural development
“With an estimated 50,000 km – long federal roads, it is logically impossible for the Federal Government to promptly respond to infrastructure challenges as they emerge in the states,” Mr. Ajimobi argued.
He explained that the inefficiency of the FG on road construction was the reason potholes emerged on federal roads and grew into craters that were unattended to.
The Governor said that the solution to this malaise was to grant the responsibility of all roads within a state to the state government, along with the complementary resource allocation to maintain them.
While faulting the implementation of the agricultural policy of the Federal Government, Mr. Ajimobi stated that “the laudable exploits are structurally hampered. Food production takes place at the local level and the states are better placed to oversee agricultural services.”
“It is, therefore, unimaginable that a far-away Federal Government would be saddled with the responsibility of managing this critical aspect of national life,” he said.
Limit FG to policy formulation
The Oyo Governor argued that the Federal Government should limit itself to policy formulation on many issues while leaving states to implement the policies.
“The Federal Government should be limited to setting policies – after consultations with the states – on areas like road, agriculture, sports, etc. while the states are granted the powers and resources to manage these responsibilities that affect the lives of our people at the grassroots,’’ he said.
Mr. Ajimobi also crticised the current resource distribution where more money goes to the FG than the 36 states combined.
He said that a recourse to true fiscal federalism would ensure that states benefit from resources in their territories.
“For instance, proceeds from the Value Added Tax (VAT) are distributed on principles that defy logic. Consumption is a reflection of the population and the pressure they exert on the infrastructure and social services in the states,” he said.
Mr. Ajimobi, who supported the call for the creation of state police, argued that only a return to true federalism would benefit Nigerians.