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Peter Mbah: Devolution of more powers to states only catalyst for development

Peter Mbah, Enugu state governor Peter Mbah, Enugu state governor

Peter Mbah, governor of Enugu, says Nigeria’s brand of federalism is a major hindrance to socio-economic development across the states. 

In a statement issued on Sunday by Uche Anichukwu, his senior special assistant on external relations, Mbah said Nigeria’s federalism vests enormous powers and revenues in the centre.

The governor made the remarks during a public lecture with the theme: ‘Enugu State, Nigeria: New Political Leadership; Bold Economic Vision – Spotlight on the Health and Education Strategies’, delivered at the London School of Economics (LSE).

Mbah likened Nigeria’s brand of federalism to a man with 36 children who overworked a few till they became too weak.

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The governor added that the prevailing economic hardship should be seen as an opportunity to overhaul the nation’s production strategy.

He, however, commended the transfer of railways and power from the exclusive to concurrent list to enable states play a role in the sectors.

“The choice of a presidential system might have been well-informed, shaped by the inherent benefits of federalism in other countries with population as vast and diverse as ours,” the governor said.

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“But our presidential federalism has bred a system where revenue is excessively domiciled at the centre rather than in the states or regions.

“Such hypothetical scenario can only breed dire economic prospects for the family and should ordinarily push its hard-pressed members to take some swift and critical actions to improve their precarious financial state.

“The challenge, as we have seen, is finding the will and having the capacity to do so.”

Mbah admitted that Nigeria has had a leadership deficit.

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“At the heart of our socio-economic challenge is the issue of leadership deficit. This has always been the bane of our development,” he added.

Mbah also said his vision is to grow the economy of Enugu state by seven-fold.

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