by Alexander O. Onukwue
Everyone is bombarding the Federal Government and the cabal that continues to hold Nigeria to ransom with the queries of restructuring.
Former leaders and modern influencers are weighing in, adding support to the clamour for the structure of the nation to be modified to give greater autonomy to states in the management of their resources. It is a continuation of a long discourse that has faced opposition for as long as Nigeria has remained a nation, beginning from 1914.
Restructuring, even if it becomes initiated today, will not happen at the snap of the fingers. It is not going to be a four year event, if it is to be done properly without causing too much unsustainable damage. A complete restructuring process will involve loss of jobs and potential closure of a significant number of Federal agencies. It will also see the creation of new institutional structures at State levels, but all of that should take some time and painstaking planning.
Which is why, as much as it is to be advocated for at the moment, it should not become the obsession that removes attention from ensuring that governance, as presently constituted, is delivered, especially by State levels.
The target of restructuring is to devolve power from the central government to the States but how have the States fared with the “little” they have had so far? What are the current State Governors doing with the monthly allocations they receive from the monthly revenue disbursements of the Federation Account Allocation Committee meetings at Abuja?
Of the 36 States, Civic Tech organisation, BudgIT, reports that only about only 11 have their budgets open to the public, meaning that there is no way to even know what the remaining 25 should do before asking questions of if they have done so or not.
If restructuring happens, State Governors will have greater funds and resources to play with. Can we really afford to hand them that much control over much more, when there are no structures at this time to make them accountable for little?