Economic Crisis As Federal, Rather Than States’ Burden | Sheriff Abdulai

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The strategy of blaming state governors rather than the federal government for the national economic crisis is increasingly becoming a failed one no matter the depth of love one may have for President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. It is clearly a misplaced tactic to want to shift blame of hyper- inflation, food insecurity and national economic hardship on the states because the statutory task of managing the national economy is that of the federal rather than state governments.

The configuration of the Nigerian state clearly places management of macro and micro economic structures on the lap of the Federal Government. Handling of national currency, the exchange rate and Central banking are all federal tasks. State governments cannot be held responsible for economic policies that are not working as they should.

Additionally, security is principally a federal mandate as the centre controls all the security apparatuses. Runaway inflation and reduced food production occasioned by farm insecurity is directly and indirectly the turf of the Federal Government. Armed security services are directly commanded from Abuja.

The interesting reality was directly voiced out by a member of the ruling party. He must have seen the hollowness of blaming state governments for failure of federal policies. Mr Olatunbosun Oyintiloye, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), was forced to appeal to President Bola Tinubu to urgently address the issue of high cost of food items in the country as he said that Nigerians were hungry and living below the poverty line.

The APC chieftain said that scores of Nigerians were disillusioned wondering where the next meal will come from due to the extreme economic hardship. While urging the president not to ignore the United Nations’ prediction that 82 million Nigerians (about 64 percent of the country’s population) may go hungry by 2030, he said that the National Bureau of Statistics(NBS) data revealed that the food inflation rate in the country hit a record high of 40.
66 per cent in May, surpassing the previous month’s 40.53 increase.

Oyintiloye, a former member of the defunct APC Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), said the common household food items were getting out of the reach of the common man due to the hike in prices. He noted that despite the Nigerians working hard under different dehumanizing working conditions, what they were earning was still not enough to support themselves and their families due to inflation.

According to him, despite the abundance in natural and human resources the country is blessed with, successive governments failed to drive the economy productively. He said corruption and over-dependence on the system of sharing crude oil revenue by the tiers of government was hindering them from running a productive and self-sufficient economy for the benefit of the masses..

The above is about the first self confession by an APC activist that the ball stops at the desk of the Federal rather than state governments. This news item opens up the field to determine who actually likes or hates Mr President. By lying and shifting blame, some federal officials are distracting the President from addressing the source of the economic crisis.

Mr President must have noticed that failed strategy when he set up the new Presidential Economic Council to address the worsening national economic crisis. The new approach may go a long way to address the root of the crisis which are clearly federal in nature.

One is not suggesting that the states have no role to play in resolving the economic hardship. The subnationals have critical roles to play. They must direct resources to both soft and hard infrastructures and must curb corruption at all cost.

The core of the matter however remains that the solution must come from federal review of economic and financial policies. The states cannot be scapegoated. Such diversionary tactic is a very weak approach and strategy which on the face of it , manifests deceitful blame games which cannot achieve the goal of blacklisting the states, but rather deepen public criticism of the Presidency.

●Sheriff Abdulahi writes from Abuja

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