How Justified Is The Arlarm By The Senate On States’ Bankruptcy? —Odunayo joseph


Considering the open plundering of monthly allocations from the Federation account by some states and embezzlement of public funds as exposed by the ongoing court trials of some immediate past state governors, there is no doubt that the cry of the Senate over the possibility of some states going bankrupt will be taken by the discerning public with a punch of salt and seen as crying wolf where none ever existed.

The fact still remains that corruption has eaten deep into the fabric of our society and our present crop of senators cannot claim ignorance of this.

Apart from the Senate, it is also expected that the House of Representatives jointly find out why some states may go bankrupt with a view to convincing the public that the statutory monthly allocations that accrued to them over the years was and is presently being transparently managed by past and present governors of the affected near-bankrupt states. Until this is done, Nigerians, both at home and abroad, may refuse to be carried along on the call for merger of states as the way out of the impending bankruptcy, as reported on page 5 in the Daily Sun newspaper of Friday, 28 October, 2011 where the states that are categorised as being on the verge of collapse include Ekiti, Ogun, Kogi, Ondo, Plateau, Borno, Edo, Adamawa, Cross River, Enugu, Taraba, Yobe, Ebonyi and Kaduna.

Merger or no merger, so long as corruption continues to be treated with levity and grand unseriousness by governments at all levels in our country, nothing will change as the fear of the merged states going bankrupt will still continue to live with us as a nation.

Ironically, some of the states that are prone to bankruptcy are blessed with intellectuals in the real sense of the word but it is rather unfortunate that there is nothing to write home about on the standard of living of the people in those states. Greed, through power recycling, is another factor that is responsible for the present state of affairs in some of the states.

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President Goodluck Jonathan once told Nigerians that greed, if not checked, may act as catalyst to the disintegration of our nation.

State governance is seen as a birthright of a particular ethnic group in some of the states and one would wonder how the best hands could be deployed for real development in all ramifications under such unfortunate situation and arrangement. Distribution of appointments in some states is done in a way that falls short of creating a sense of belonging for some of the indigenes in the state and this is why it is difficult to see the ‘round peg in a round hole’ situation coming to play in some states’ civil service. How on earth can a state be expected to move up on the ladder of development when continuous and open marginalisation of other ethnic groups at the expense of only one ethnic group in a state has become the foundation upon which governance is built in such a state?

There is no doubt that despite the pervasive corruption in the country, there are still some state governors whose achievement in terms of infrastructural development and improvement of the standard of living of the people in their states are quite visible. However, when it comes to assessing all the local governments in the country, there is really nothing to write home about them and this is why voters’ apathy will continue to be the hallmark of local council polls in Nigeria.

There is need for searching of conscience by all the present and past governors of the states not categorised to be healthy by the Senate with a view to convincing themselves if their names will be written in gold whenever the history of corruption in Nigeria is written in the future.

•Odunayo writes from Lagos.

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