By OYEWALE OYELOLA
Saturday Xtra is opinion column aim at discussion national issues in light, interesting and humorous ways. This column is another way to inform, educate and at the time entertain our numerous readers worldwide. Welcome to my world, I hope you get something xtra from today’s article
Many Nigerians are familiar with the word ‘Nationalcake’. Nationalcake is often used to describe national treasury where about 160 million Nigerians get their share of national wealth.
In the real sense, Nationalcake is Federation Account where all the 36 states of the federation and FCT access fund to run different states.
It’s a fact that except for Lagos state, other states depend on monthly allocations from federation account to meet their financial obligations including payment of workers salaries.
Although, some states contribute little or nothing to national treasury while 16 states generated 80 percent of fund remitted to federation account.
State governors not minding their state contributions to federation account believe it is their right to monthly allocation. This assumption is correct but governors must be creative in managing resources of the state for them to be self reliant.
Governors are always eager to share the nationalcake as soon as possible. It would be recalled Amaechi led Nigeria Governors Forum(NGF) dragged Federal Government to court over Sovereign Wealth Fund and Excess Crude Account. NGF disagreed with federal government on plan to set aside fund in Sovereign Wealth Fund Account.
Governors always pressurized FG to share available resources without making provision for future.
president Muhammadu Buhari recently ordered CBN to release over N600billion bailout fund for states to pay backlog of workers’ salaries.
Many states were unable to pay salaries due to drop in oil revenue which led decline in their monthly allocation.
The Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) under the leadership of Zamfara State Governor, Abdul-Aziz Yari Abubakar should change orientation of their members.
Governor Yari Abubakar should work with PDDGF Chairman, Dr Olusegun Mimiko and Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) Chairman, Owelle Rochas Okorocha to ensure members bring sustainable development to the country.
The forum in order to promote good governance must jettisoned party politics and analyse issue critical before taking any decision. NGF must always check the excesses of Federal government like Rotimi Amaechi led forum did from 2011-2015. Immediately past President Goodluck Jonathan admitted that NGF was acting as pressure group with Amaechi as Chairman.
Many nigerians applauded the forum for dragging PDP led federal government to court over Sovereign Wealth Fund and Excess Crude Oil Account, despite the fact that PDP has 23 governors at that time.
Furthermore, Abubakar led forum must be proactive on matters of public policy. The forum should not wait until issue degenerate before taking action. The issue of non-payment of workers salaries by many state governors clearly shows that governors were reactionary in handling the situation. Some states were owing workers more than eight months salaries before President Muhammadu Buhari ordered CBN to release about N700 billion bailout fund.
The forum would also be effective, if they equipped members with strategic financial management skills and educate them on acceptable process of handling federal government project in their states.
Investigations revealed that many state governors embark on rehabilitation of federal roads without getting approval from Federal Ministry of Works. Therefore, they find it difficult to get refund from federal government. It’s wise for governors to avoid doing projects to show off or impress masses without due process.
Former Minister of Education, Dr Oby Ezekwezeli recently advised governors to reduce cost of governance, block leakages, creative management of resources and look inward to increase their internally generated revenue.
NGF could set up Think Tank on economic development and use their membership of National Economic Council to promote agendas which must be beneficial to citizenry.
Individual governor should serve as brother’s keeper by interacting with others to offer solutions to problems in other states. Nobody is Highland of knowledge.