Professor Bolaji Akinyemi
Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia
As Nigerians brace up for another round of constitutional amendment, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, has advised against 100 per cent fiscal federalism being canvassed by some groups.
Speaking with journalists in Umuahia, Akinyemi said though he remained an advocate of fiscal federalism, he would not, however, like a situation where a few states would emerge as very prosperous, while many others would be greatly impoverished.
“I am a firm believer in fiscal federalism (but) what we need is a federation of prosperous states not one developed state and others in penury,” he said.
Akinyemi acknowledged that “allocations from Abuja have made states lazy” given that each state has enough resources if they could dig deep but noted the need to moderate the application of fiscal federalism for the purpose of even development.
To this end, he advocated the creation of “developmental revenue fund”, where money could be made available to take care of the developmental needs of each state based on the areas of need.
Akinyemi noted that he had been advocating for governors to embark on projects that could generate employment for people and lauded Governor Theodore Orji of Abia State for his people-oriented projects.
“I want to congratulate him for the vision he has brought to governance and the values he shares,” he said, adding: “We are in the race to convince people that democracy can bring dividends hence Orji’s performance was inspiring confidence in democracy.”
He also said he was impressed with the level of private developmental projects in the state, which were “practical examples” of how government modernisation efforts could bring about private modernisation.