A renowned economist and public policy analyst, Prof. Tella Aderibigbe, has said that some governors of the 36 states of the federation, and not President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, should be held responsible for the excruciating food crisis bedeviling Nigeria now.
Aderibigbe stated this in Lagos, on Thursday, on the sidelines of the yearly colloquium of the Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Africa, an advocacy group established in 2008, as Published by The Guardian on 9th February, 2024.
According to him, while the states’ coffers swell with increased federal allocations since the removal of the vexed fuel subsidy, the benefits are scarcely trickling down to the needy masses.
“The states and the governors are the ultimate beneficiaries of President Tinubu’s fiscal reforms,” he stated, emphasising that the increased financial inflow has not been reflected in the welfare of the citizens at the grassroots.
Aderibigbe pointed to the activities in Kwara State where Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazak is reportedly investing N17.8 billion in renovating a state-owned hotel, amid widespread poverty and economic hardship facing the residents of the state.
“For example, the Kwara State governor has started a renovation project in his state that’s worth N17.8 billion. Is that supposed to be the priority of the people or the governor is spending it the way he likes because there’s a windfall from Abuja?” he queried.
Aderibigbe also shed light on the plight of local councils, which he said had remained financially constrained and unable to effectively serve their communities, saying that despite the reforms aimed at enhancing fiscal federalism and autonomy, local councils are still being stifled, and unable to break free from the financial dominance of state governments.
He said that agricultural policies and initiatives are better initiated and implemented at the state and not federal level. Yet, the governors will wait until the Federal Government flags off this season or that season before they give farmers in their states necessary inputs.
“This situation poses a significant challenge to President Tinubu’s efforts to reform Nigeria’s fiscal landscape,” he said.
He said that the governors’ actions have not only sabotaged the President’s initiatives but also betrayed a lack of commitment to the principles of good governance and public accountability.