October 8, 2012
NIGERIANS ARGUE FOR FEDERALISM AND END TO ENTITLEMENT CULTURE: The current debates in Nigeria over constitutional change center upon the need for stronger federalism and concomitant decentralization of government, with the goal of ending what’s been labeled “feeding bottle federalism‘:
Our peculiar federalism with its indolent culture of entitlements creates a consumption loop that guarantees perpetual dependence on volatile primary commodities. One objective of the new constitution should be to remove the feeding bottle, and jack up the federating units to mature into self-fending adults. Necessity, they say, is the mother of invention. The umbilical cord between government and business is that government relies on business to create jobs and provide revenues. In turn, governments do everything for businesses to thrive. Free money from Abuja has broken this. To restore the umbilical cord and incentive for states to create wealth and hence for entrepreneurial policymakers to emerge, we must wean the system of helpless dependence on the Abuja feeding bottle.
This, my friends, is ironic to say the least: The same problems exist today in the U.S. As the Obama administration continues the march toward steady centralization of government power– including the possibility of bailing out irresponsible, overspending states such as California and Illinois– the US is spiraling into the same vortex of dependency and inefficiency that Nigerians are trying so desperately to end.