Akinwumi Adesina proposes ‘United States of Nigeria’

 Akinwumi Adesina, the president of the African Development
Bank (AfDB), has proposed a name change for Nigeria to the “United States of
Nigeria”.

 

Adesina suggested the rebranding while speaking on the need
for restructuring on March 6, when he received the 2024 Obafemi Awolowo ‘Prize
for Leadership’.

 

The economist said it is necessary to change the governance
system in the country and decentralise governance to states to provide greater
autonomy.

 

The former minister of agriculture said state governments
must focus on unlocking the huge resources in their areas, adding that “states
that adopt this strategy would have less of a need for monthly trips to Abuja
for grants”.

 

 “To get out of the
economic quagmire, there is a compelling need for the restructuring of
Nigeria,” he said.

 

“Restructuring should not be driven by political expediency
but by economic and financial viability. Economic and financial viability are
the necessary and sufficient conditions for political viability.

 

“If there was one attribute that defined Chief Obafemi
Awolowo, and there were many, it would be his visionary boldness.

 

“He went where others feared or failed to go. In the
process, decades later, his footprints remain in the sands of time.

 

“Likewise today, in Nigeria, we need men and women with
vision, who are willing to take bold decisions. Surgeries are tough. They are
better done well, the first time.

 

“The resources found in each state or state groupings should
belong to them. The constituent entities should pay federal taxes or royalties
for those resources.

 

“But let’s be clear. The achievement of economically viable
entities and the viability of the national entity requires constitutional
changes to devolve more economic and fiscal powers to the states or regions.
The stronger the states, or regions, the stronger the federated units.

 

 “Instead of the
Federal Government of Nigeria, we could think of The United States of Nigeria.
The old would give way to the new.”

 

This, according to Adesina, would change the relational
mindset between the states and Abuja — “the fulcrum would be the states, while
the centre would support them, not lord over them”.