The Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has challenged state governors to tell Nigerians what they do with the huge allocations they receive regularly from the Federal Government.
According to the minister, many of the states get monetary allocations that far outweigh the annual budget of some neigbouring countries to Nigeria.
Okonjo-Iweala spoke on Sunday at Ilishan-Remo, Ogun State, while delivering the Babcock University’s convocation lecture entitled: ‘Transforming Nigeria’s economy: Opportunities and challenges’.
The minister alongside the Executive Producer of Moments with Mo on Ebonyi Live TV, Mo Abudu, received the university’s honorary doctorate degrees.
Okonjo-Iweala, who urged Nigerians to be more discerning, noted that the governors had no reason not to develop their states, given the huge amounts they regularly got from Federation Account.
According to her, it is high time Nigerians held their governors accountable over the money collect on their behalf to accelerate development of their states.
Noting that the constitution had placed the provision of some basic public services on the concurrent list, making it the joint responsibilities of the three arms of government, she decried that Nigerians seldom asked what the governors were doing to develop their states.
Okonjo-Iweala said, “Clearly, the Federal Government cannot do it alone; we need the private sector to work with us and we have reached out to them in transforming Nigeria. But, in addition to that, we should ask ourselves what is the role of the state and local governments in supporting our transformation.
“A lot of attention is turned on the Federal Government. So, we also need to ask what our states and local governments do with the resources they get.”
The minister said the states were getting their monthly allocations, adding that the information was being published in the media so that the people would know what accrued to the federal, state and local governments.
She added, “We need to ask more questions; poverty eradication and building of infrastructure are not only by the Federal Government. In 2013, the top 10 allocations were going to the following states: Akwa Ibom, N260bn; Rivers, N220bn; Delta N209bn; Bayelsa, N173bn; Lagos, N168bn; Kano, N140bn; Katsina, N103bn; Oyo, N100bn; Kaduna N97bn; and Borno at number 10 with N94bn.
“These were the allocations all these states got last year. The question is what did they do with the money?”
Earlier, the President and Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. James Makinde, said the institution was committed to the pursuit of academic excellence.
Makinde, who dedicated the convocation to the abducted female pupils of the Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, noted that of the 1,560 graduands, 44 obtained first class from the university.
Another batch of 1,227 obtained second class upper division, while 59 candidates obtained doctorate degrees, he said.