Some Nigerians rolled out drums in celebration following the recent recommendation by delegates at the on-going National Conference for the creation of nineteen (19) additional states. The breakdown is that three(3) additional states be created in each geo-political zone whereby the south-east which already has a state less should be giving four(4) additional states.
Rather than resort to jubilation, I think Nigerians and of course the delegates should take a critical and remote look at the consequences and disadvantages that would come with creation of additional states especially at this stage of our national life that economist and concerned Nigerians have stressed the need to cut down on the cost of running government as the only way out to ensuring availability of more money to fund capital project and generation of employment.
Creation of new states will do more harm the good to Nigeria’s Democracy. It has been said that the bulk of the annual budgets of states is being spent to maintain the structure of government which is the reason why recurrent expenditures is always more than capital expenditures. Apart from the fact that most of the presently existing states have internally generated revenue (IGR) that is nothing to write home about, Hence, their dependence on federal allocation, more than Sixty(60) percent of these federal allocation is being spent on the structure of government.
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We presently have a situation on our hand whereby a state governor has to invite most of the chieftains of his political party, some of the aspirants who lose to him during primaries and of course his political thugs and friends to come and “eat” as soon as he assumes office. This the governors usually do by appointing numerous Special Advisers (SAs), and Senior Special Assistants (SSAs), apart from the fact that the State Commissioners also appoints their own SAs and SSAs, the SAs and SSAs to the governors are also expected to appoint their own loyalists as aids and the list goes on endlessly. All the numerous appointees are on the Payroll of the State government. Hence, creating more states would only lead to replication and duplication of numerous political appointments and draining of funds and resources of the existing states by the new ones.
Payments of workers salaries usually becomes a challenge even in most of the already existing states. Workers are being owned their monthly wages, the plight of State pensioners are better imagined than experienced as these senior citizens are often subjected to unnecessary hardship and treated like out-casts, ex- convicts and second class citizens by state governments. Mass retrenchment of workers has often become a means devised by some of the governors to cut-down on spending.
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Some of the inter-state boundary disputes that followed the 27th May 1967 creation of states has not been resolved till date as border communities of different state have continued to maim and kill each other even after so many years and subsequent creations of states was not devoid of inter-state boundary crisis and bloodletting. Nigeria cannot afford another series of inter-state boundary disputes which would eventually follow the creation of the recommended states in view of the present security challenges. With due respect to delegates at on-going national conference and their hardwork so far, Nigeria doesn’t need state creation for now.
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