‘ There Must Be Fiscal Federalism’ -Gov. Ajimobi

Gov. Abiola Isiaka Ajimobi of Oyo State

The Governor of Oyo State in south west Nigeria has come out in support of fiscal federalism and this is a huge surprise to political and economic watchers of the State because if there is one government that such a policy would hurt, it is Oyo State.
Governor Isiaka Abiola Ajimobi has reached the mid-term of his last four years in office, this being an unusual two term administration in the chequered history of the State that hitherto would not allow any governor to have a second tenure in Agodi Government House, Ibadan.
Pundits have had a tasking time analyzing how Ajimobi came to be this lucky. His first term was below average. Civil servants salaries remained largely unpaid. There was no unique project that would define improvement in the living standards of the people. It is in Ibadan City that was the first to host the first Television station in Africa and plays host to the first university in Nigeria, yet retained the image of the dirtiest capital city in Nigeria where one would expect to fetch drinking water from muddy Wells, dug mainly by migrant hausa labourers which is abhorrent in the hausa city of Kano, where water flows from public taps, unceasingly.
Although there’s nothing on ground to show that without free Crude oil revenue shared from Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital to all the 36 State governments and the Federal Capital Territory, that Oyo could fend for itself, Ajimobi has thrown his weight behind fiscal federalism as he said during his interactive session with the Press on Democracy day to mark his mid –term.
He said,
“Resources must belong to States. Why should someone come to mine granite in Oyo State brandishing a license from the federal government? The Federal government does not own our land”!
He further added, “We’ve increased salaries three times. Every money from the federal government is paid 100% to civil servants”.
And that’s his dilemma. He borrows and collects free money from the Federal government to pay his own civil servants because he is unable to make Oyo State buoyant enough to generate enough money to pay itself, yet he wants fiscal federalism.
Governor Ajimobi further said that “388 tractors were imported by Oyo State for farming as the days of cutlasses and hoes are gone. RCCD agriculture is at Awe for integrated farming on huge hectares of land”.
On the Iadan clean-up status, he said , “120 million naira previously used for clearing refuse , now reduced to 30 million naira due to private sector participation”. By next year, he hopes to realize money from refuse.
On health , Governor Abiola Ajimobi hopes to launch an ambitious Health Insurance Scheme whereby citizens would be required to pay 600 naira and get free treatment in any Oyo State government hospital, although senior government officials regularly fly to European destinations for even the simplest infections that can be treated at home.
He also revealed that malaria infection has been reduced to 42% in Oyo State, despite the rising nuisance of mosquitoes in this season, as noted by Ibadan residents.

Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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