Friday, 25 May 2012

RESOURCE CONTROL/REVENUE ALLOCATION IN NIGERIA: THE SOURCE OF INSTABILITY IN THE NASCENT DEMORATIC POLITY


RESOURCE CONTROL/REVENUE ALLOCATION IN NIGERIA: THE SOURCE OF INSTABILITY IN THE NASCENT DEMORATIC POLITY

       Resources play a significant role in the lives of human society. It represents and serves as a means of livelihood to man. If man does not have resources, he would face the extinction of life. To this length, for human to live, they must garner resources, control and allocate them within the society for the betterment and development of the society. Therefore, all over the world, resource control and allocation has always generated great debates.
  Ordinarily, resource control / allocation is/are a common phenomenon all over the world, for different units and components of a state or multi-nation state to carry out with effectiveness, the myriad constitutional responsibilities. The absences of resources in the society will lead to the starvation of the states and also make them fall short of their responsibilities because fiscal relations exist between the federal government and other subordinate units/components of government. The issues of resource control/allocation could be likened to flesh and blood to any governmental system. In Nigeria, different sources of resources generation are found in different parts. Every federation has evolved its own peculiar way for exercising control over the resources accrued from the environment. With regard to Nigeria, resources allocation/control has become a central problem in the Nigerian political system, so problematic is the issue of resources allocation that it has witnessed a series of commissions set up by both the British colonial masters and our indigenous leaders. The first controversial resource allocation and control commission in Nigeria was the Sydney Philipson’s commission of 1946 which was headed than the financial secretary to colonial government in Nigeria as part of the effort to address the issue of revenue/resource allocation or control, Philipson adopted the principle of derivation and even progress. By which a region received according to the proportion of the resources the region produced. This later led to criticism and disagreement as the principle favored some states at the detriment of others. This criticism led to setting up another commission called Hicks commission which introduced the principles of (i) Needs (2) independent (3) national interest (4) special grants. There emerged subsequent criticisms and disagreement on the subsequent commission set up even till the end of colonial rule. After the colonial rule, the question of how resources/revenue is to be controlled and allocated also generated problem continuously. The Dina’s commission of the 1962 introduced another formula whereby the north was given 42%, east 30%, west 20% and Midwest 8% this still did not address any problem in the federation. As at 1979, under the civilian government of alhaji shehu shagari , the okigbo’s commission was established and having done a thorough review of past allocations, he came up with 58.5% of resource allocation to the central government,31.5% to the state government and local governments 10%. This became a thing of the past as a result of military intervention in politics. But what we have in place as an arrangement of resource control/allocation today in Nigeria as codified in the 1999 federal republic constitution section(162-168) are principles of (1)population (2)equality of states (3)internally generated revenue (4) landmass (5) terrain (6) population density (7) the principle of derivation
  It is very glaring that states around the country are not satisfied with the allocated scheme adopted right from the colonial period because one scheme seems to favor one state than the other and this is why the issue of resource allocation/control in Nigeria remains volatile and constitutes the major source of political and governmental tension in Nigeria. It has therefore truncated the nature of the relationship of federal arrangement rather than being an instrumentality for the process of national integration. This is because some states are not in agreement with other states in the sharing formula and control of resources. the factor which explains the existence of tensions.
  The first among them, being the military insurgency in civilian politics; no doubt, multifarious reasons could be used to explain military invasion in politics of Nigeria, but one of the reasons for justification of their intervention was as a result of resource allocation and control, for instance it would be believed that the elimination of the independent leaders (Ahmadu Bello, Tafawa Balewa, e.t.c) by General Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu was as a result of who takes control of the available resources (oil, cocoa, cotton, palm-oil, groundnut). And when Aguiyi Ironsi came to the helm of affairs, he orchestrated a unitary system of government that could make the center control more resources than the states in favor of the Igbo. The desire of the northerners to control the resources of the country prompted Gen. Theophilus Danjuma to lead a coup that culminated in the death of Agunyi Ironsi thereby paving way for Gowon to assume the position of the head of states so as to take the power of resource control to the north
   Another is Ethnicity: before the advent of the colonialists, the traditional rulers enjoyed some exclusive powers and could allocate resources and control it within their jurisdiction but when the colonialists came, their powers (traditional rulers) became reduced and in 1914 when the amalgamation of the Northern protectorate and southern protectorate was done for the purpose of administration as a result of the lack of more resources in the north, ethnicity became proliferated. The fact became who dominate the resources of the country and some states with better resources decided that their allocation should be based upon the principle of derivation and not population and some states with high needs but with fewer resources have always preferred allocation on the principle of needs and even development, hence generating problems among ethnic groups. Each accusing others for having received a larger allocation and besides disagreement arose over the principle to be employed for allocating resources within the Nigeria polity.
  Political instability leading to political corruption in the country is often direct products of the tensions over resource allocation and control in the country. Resource mobilization and generation are no longer the focus of Nigerian leaders rather how to share and take control of the only available resources. Before the discovery of oil in olobiri in 1956, agriculture was the economic mainstay. The country was then producing groundnut, cocoa, cotton, groundnut for the survival and means of livelihood of the people and was used for the development of the country. The relegation of these agricultural produces with the embrace of oil led to increase in the level of political instability and political corruption.
 Therefore, Nigerian resource allocation scheme remains problematic because not only do the various schemes rely excessively on explicitly, political and technical unsophisticated factors of horizontal allocations but also because Nigerian resource allocation/control schemes usually fail to be in conformity with global federalism. The zero sum game which characterizes resources control in Nigeria continues to stifle all efforts to politically solve the problem.
  Before the departure of the colonial master, Nigeria has been discussing resource allocation and who to control it. By 1976, Nigeria generated much wealth with oil rather than developing the country; the ethnic groups were quarreling and warring on how to rule and control the resources rather than generating and mobilizing more resources.
  Today, the fundamental element in the national question is resource control most especially oil as every ethnic group wants to take control over resources. So, all crises in the country centre on how resources should be distributed among states. The former president olusegun obasanjo in 2005 set up a conference which later broke up as a result of resource allocation scheme as the Niger delta demanded about 50% of the oil revenue to be allocated to them. The recent crises today are products of the resource control.
  The massive killing by the so called Islamic sect (Boko haram) is directly traceable to this phenomenon. Though, they claim to have existed with a view to eradicating western education. Could this be said to be true? No, it’s just an act of politicking .how would you want to douse a gigantic conflagration consuming your domicile with another of the same (guns, bombs to eliminate its originator).this shows their demand is not associated with civilization but an act of emancipation to control resources. Who should we put the blame on? Indeed, who we conceive in our popular mind (President Goodluck Jonathan) is not worthy of blame. Our constitution constitutes our problem. The military government was its architect and to what extent would a military leader who does not want to be bothered with the intricacies of decision making design a meaningful constitution which guides the conducts of the people in a polity. Nigeria has succeeded in taming the monster but not been able to bury the conditions which could make the monster reincarnate. The future of Nigeria lies in our hands, so, we could do this by developing a new constitution.
 GOD BLESS NIGERIA
 OKUNEYE JAMES BABATUNDE  
 

        


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