NIM blames Nigeria’s slow development on governance structure
Over-centralised federal system, misconception of restructuring and fiscal resources control, are amongst formidable factors that are inhibiting the development of Nigeria, the Nigeria Institute of Management (NIM) has said.
Experts at the NIM colloquium on structure and organisational performance in Lagos recently, submitted that for many years, the debate for restructuring has attained the same level of prominence and intensity as those on the economy, insecurity, and politics.
In a paper presented by an independent scholar, Prof. Ladipo Adamolekun on Nigeria’s over-centralised system and poor performance opined that Nigeria over-centralised federal system is a major explanatory factor for its poor development performance.While providing evidence of overcentralisation of power, Adamolekun said the concentration of powers at the centre under successive military rulers resulted from the alignment of the exercise of political authority with the military’s unitary command structure, where political parties were prohibited, elected assemblies were dissolved, and military diktats were superior to the rule of law.
He however advised Nigeria to adopt a devolved federal system in which powers and resources that are currently concentrated at the centre are devolved to the sub-national levels and reconfiguring the constituent units of the federation to ensure a more balanced system.On restructuring, Prof. Nasiru Musa Yauri of Usman Dan Fodio University in his paper said restructuring is about devolution of power and the clamour to change Nigeria’s federal structure in a manner that weakens the center to make the confederating units stronger.
He stressed that the demands for restructuring are legitimate as there are demands stemming from the interests of the elites of the conflicting social categories and social classes.He however said the fight against corruption, and the entrenchment of a development-driven leadership is a better option to solving Nigeria’s contemporary challenges than the clamour for restructuring.
“Nigeria is a rich and diverse country whose 16 resources are sufficient to guarantee a healthy, peaceful and fulfilled population” he said.The President and Chairman of Council, NIM, Prof. Olukunle Iyanda lamented that the violent agitations of different groups in the country threatened the continued existence of the country as one united nation and hampers its development and the welfare of its people.He claimed the return to civil rule and the adoption of the presidential system only transformed the military centralised unitary system to its civilian version.
As the agitation for reforms has grown not only louder but also more vociferous and threatening, Iyanda warned that any organisation that does not change while its environment and characteristics are changing is doomed to failure and extinction.Adamolekun said: “The creation of local governments that was the prerogative of regional governments in the pre-military era was centralised in 1976 with the establishment of local governments as the third tier of government. Beginning with 304 local governments in 1976, the number was increased arbitrarily over the years by successive military governments to the 774 that are provided as First Schedule to the 1999 Constitution. According to the Constitution, states cannot create additional local governments without the assent of the National Assembly.
“Although Nigeria has been under civilian rule since 1999, the country has been ruled for eleven years (close to 60% of the duration) by presidents steeped in military culture (Presidents Obasanjo and Buhari) and, therefore, comfortable with an overcentralised federal system” he explained.“Only devolution can unleash the forces for consolidating democracy and achieving accelerated socioeconomic progress in Nigeria. The alternative to devolution will likely be the death of the federation,” he added.
According to Iyanda, “People demand that government respond to their yearnings and aspirations, that the locus of authority be closer to them such that it could understand and define its responsibilities in the context of the local environment and respond to them faster. These are the realities of the times.
There is a cycle also in the lives of nations. One nation in a different stage of the life cycle cannot be governed as another in a different stage. As such the structure of governance in one country cannot be copied or replicated in another unless they share similar demographic attributes. The examples of many countries that have, in recent times, recorded dramatic changes for the better underlines the indispensability of change and restructuring, and indeed, re-engineering to unity, economic development and harmony among the citizenry,” he added.
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