The 2019 elections are close and it’s difficult to know which party to believe and to vote for in the elections. They have all made promises to Nigerians. Will they keep them?
I will attempt to identify some of the big issues and hope Nigerians find it helpful in deciding how to vote.
I will start with Political Governance. Some say Nigeria’s problem has to do with its structure. The F.G does almost everything while the 36 states and 774 LGs have little to do.
There are 98 items of power given to both the FG and state Governments under the 1999 constitution. The FG controls 68 of these items exclusively. The remaining 30 are also controlled by the FG except it permits the state Governments to execute any of them.
As you can see, the FG is bogged down with many responsibilities which can be passed down to state Governments. This is the call for Restructuring or Devolution of Powers from the FG to the states.
For example, the F.G issues drivers’ licenses, marriage certificates; it controls primary, secondary and tertiary education, money, banking, business, water,electricity roads, bridges, employment, labour matters, mineral resources,agriculture, healthcare, insurance, railways, waterways etc. Is this not too much?
The over-concentration of powers in the hands of the FG to the exclusion of states has meant that the state governments are not politically and economically viable under the present structure.
This is why Political governance or RESTRUCTURING will be a very big issue in the 2019 elections.
There is a very strong view that the FG cannot continue to dominate Political Governance if Nigeria must develop.
The present governance structure has left the states cash strapped and running to Abuja for handouts.
The FG itself has built a huge inefficient civil service of about 5 million people,who consume 80% of our finances. Part of the over bloated workforce is the Prisons service run by the FG. This costs us about 6-8 billion every year and yet, FG has no prisoners. So why Federal Prisons?
The FG is over bloated and overwhelmed. As a result, it cannot harness all of our Natural resources except oil and gas which it is not even doing effectively.
Many believe that massive devolution of powers by the FG to the states will transform Nigeria. Let me give at least 4 examples; Ondo state sits atop one of the largest Bitumen deposits in the world yet the state is broke and cannot pay salaries!!
Next is the Sulphur free massive coal deposits sitting in the grounds of Enugu state worth billions and adding no value to our development.
Then, we have trillions of gas reserves in the Anambra basin doing nothing but worth billions of dollars. Northern Nigeria is full of rich solid minerals – gold,bauxite, ore etc and it also has one of the richest Agriculture farmlands in the world.
But all these states have no control over their resources and go begging an already poor FG for money.
It is suggested that massive transfer of power from the FG to the states will be a major issue in the 2019 elections. We need to work out a formula between the FG and the states to exercise and in some cases share power.
On he vexed Issue of State Police, States can be made to strictly deal with crimes while streamlining the present Nigeria police force to strictly federal duties. So a new legislative list can be as follows:
We can therefore share powers as follows:
– Money, Currency: Federal
– Defence: Federal
– International Agreements: Federal
– External trade: Federal
– Interstate trade: Federal
– Intrastate trade: States
– Major physical infrastructure: Federal and also shared with States
– Primary/Secondary education: States
– Post-secondary education and research: States
– Labour matters: States
– Pensions:shared, Federal and States
– Health care: States and Federal
– Courts: Federal and State
– Mineral resources: States
– Agriculture: States
– Environment: Federal and States
– Municipal affairs: States
– Court system”: Federal and States
– Criminal law: Federal and States
– Police: Federal and States
– Customs/excise taxes: Federal.
– Corporate taxes: Federal
– Personal taxes: States
– Arms, ammunition and explosives – Federal
– Aviation, including airports, safety of aircraft and carriage of passengers and goods by air –Federal and States
– Awards of national titles of honor, decorations and other dignities – Federal
– Bankruptcy and insolvency – Federal and States
– Banks, banking, bills of exchange and promissory notes – Federal
– Borrowing of moneys within or outside a country – Federal and State
– Census – Federal
– Citizenship, naturalisation and aliens – Federal
– Commercial and industrial monopolies, combines and trust – Federal
– Control and Capital issues – shared
– Copyright – Federal
– Creation of States – shared
– Currency, coinage and legal tender- Federal
– Customs and excise duties – Federal
– Deportation of persons – Federal
– Designation of securities in which trust funds may be invested – shared
– Diplomatic, consular and trade representations – Federal
– Elections- shared
– Evidence – shared
– Exchange control – Federal
– Export duties – Federal
– External affairs – Federal
– Extradition – Federal
– Fingerprints, identification and criminal records – shared
– Fishing and fisheries including fishing and fisheries in rivers, lakes, waterways, ponds and other inland waters – shared
– Immigration and emigration – Federal
– Incorporation, regulation and winding up of bodies corporate, including co-operative societies, local government councils and bodies corporate – shared
– Insurance- shared
shipping and navigation, including-
(a) Shipping and navigation on tidal waters;
(b) Shipping and navigation on the River Niger and its affluent and other inland waterways or inter-State waterway- shared
– Meteorology – Federal
– Military (Army, Navy and Air Force) – Federal
– Mines and minerals, including oil fields, oil mining, geological surveys and natural gas – usually shared, sometimes Federal
– National parks – shared
– Nuclear energy – shared
– Passports and visas – Federal
– Patents, trademarks, trade or business names, industrial designs and merchandise marks – shared
– Posts,telegraphs and telephones – shared
– Public holidays – shared
– Railways – shared
– Regulation of political parties – Federal
In Conclusion, Nigeria has failed to grow to its potential simply because the FG is too large, does far too many things inefficiently and does not harness our natural resources enough to allow Nigeria to be a dominant Industrial nation.
I believe restructuring Nigeria to be more efficient is a big issue for 2019 elections.