Former Military President, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, has canvassed devolution of powers among the three tiers of government. Babanmgida also advocated more revenue for local governments to enable them deliver robust services to the people of the grassroots. He pointed the need to diversify Nigeria’s economy to facilitate the nation’s robust development.
Gen. Babangida, who made the call during a visit by the Chairman and members of Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission at his Uphill residence in Minna, the Niger State capital, said: “I call for the devolution of powers and the diversification of the economy so as to explore other areas and leave the mono-cultural economy of the country.”
He said that if the responsibilities of the federal, state and local government were clearly streamlined, the burden would be light on all Nigerians. Babangida said:
“If we can operate a linear government at the federal level, we have to give more responsibilities to the local government and states, then we are going somewhere.”
The former military leader also appealed to government at all levels to prioritise their resources by chanelling them appropriately for the benefit of the people. On local government autonomy, Babangida reasoned that if the Federal Government agrees to cede some of its powers to the states, logically the states would have no choice than to cede some of their powers to the grassroots.
Commending the efforts of the revenue commission, Babangida said: “You have the greatest task ahead of you, especially since the last revenue review was last done in 1992. It is not an easy task especially in a country that every action is being politicised. What you are doing require doggedness and I applaud you all for that.”
Earlier, the commission’s chairman, Mr. Elias Mbam, told the elder statesman that the visit was to seek his input and advice on the review of the revenue formula to bring it to conformity to present day realities. Mbam said the commission had met with others former leaders, elder statesmen, men and women of note across the nation, who had all given their contributions, adding that public hearings had been held in the six geo-political zones of the nation for wider inputs.