Friday 21st July, 2017
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How unitary government promotes corruption.

How unitary government promotes corruption.

The nationwide corruption which stands as impedi­ment to infrastructural de­velopment across the country is being promoted by the unitary system of government that is cov­ertly practiced under the guise of federalism. With the unitary sys­tem of government in place, all rev­enues generated at the ward, coun­cil and state levels are transferred to the federal government which is a pyramidal revenue system. This pyramidal revenue system bestow to the federal government a chunk of the revenues generated at 52.68 percent while the states and coun­cils get 26.72 and 20.60 percent re­spectively. With this retarding shar­ing formula, all the 36 states of the country receive a mere 26.72% of the federal allocation and the en­tire 774 local governments receive a beggarly 20.60% of revenues gen­erated.
Thus, the central government with a minimal workforce, con­sisting the Presidency, ministers, members of the National Assem­bly, heads of departments and agen­cies, a population less than 3,000 persons control 52.68% of the de­rivable revenues! With this sharing mechanism favourable to the cen­tral government, those in the lead­ership cadre here, have unhindered access to gigantic sums of money hence there is massive corruption and wastefulness. It is a fact that when there is too much funds in the hands of a few people, thievery and extravagance remain prevalent.
The unitary system of govern­ment also confers enormous pow­ers on the president who makes all the appointments across the coun­try. This is why there are no strong institutions but one strong individ­ual. The President as a strong indi­vidual, dictates to the institutions what to do or not to do. This ev­ident in the ongoing anti-corrup­tion war where the homes of some judges were invaded over allegation of corruption and were later com­pelled to stepdown from their jobs. Conversely, some appointees of the president were also accused of cor­ruption yet such appointees are still holding their jobs! Additional­ly, when an Abuja High Court and Court of the Economic Commu­nity of West Africa States (ECOW­AS) had granted former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Das­uki (rtd) bail, yet Buhari refused to release him. Same is applicable to Nnamdi Kanu! Flagrant disobedi­ence to courts’ decisions and pro­nouncements are tantamount to corruption.
Under the Land Use Act, pres­idents, governors and coun­cil chairmen seize massive lands from the citizens under the prom­ise to use them for the betterment of the people but later convert such lands to personal property. Evidenc­es abound across the country where millions of acres of lands were force­fully taken from the citizens to build tertiary institutions or for farming purposes. But when such tertiary in­stitutions were relocated, the orig­inal owners were never allowed access to the lands as their new landlords-presidents, governors, chairmen and other senior govern­ment officials either sell them at ex­orbitant prices or share such lands among family members and friends. At the end of the day, it is the abo­riginals that lose. The hundreds of millions of Lands taken from the citizens under Operation Feed the Nation and Green Revolution have been converted to private property!
Likewise, under the unitary sys­tem of government, all lands belong to the state governments but oddly, all the natural resources: crude oil and solid minerals deposited un­derneath the lands belong to the al­mighty central government! This is an oppressive and suppressive law as there is no other country in the en­tire universe that practices this type of abnormal law! Since the crude oil and solid minerals belong to the fed­eral government, it is therefore the sole responsibility of the federal gov­ernment to explore and exploit these natural resources at the detriment of the states and people whose lands harbour them. Under this retrogres­sive system, the president has unilat­eral powers to allocate oil blocks to his friends and kith and kin. This is why many individuals own oil blocks in this country instead of oil companies. Contrarily, in oth­er climes only oil companies own oil blocks and pay huge taxes to the government and royalties to the aboriginals who own the lands and waters.
Unitary system of government is the greatest promoter of corrup­tion, arbitrariness and oppression. Without true federalism, corrup­tion will remain prevalent and Nigeria will also remain undevel­oped. Therefore, there is urgent need to abrogate it and embrace true federalism if Nigeria must progress.
•Victor Anya, a public affairs analyst, writes from Lagos.
 

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