By Julius Toba-Jegede
Gov. Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State has advised his colleagues to look for alternative sources of revenue apart from oil.
He gave the advice in Katsina while speaking at NAN Forum, the flagship interview programme of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Masari said governors must tap the numerous natural and human resources potential of their states to meet the yearnings for dividends of democracy by Nigerians.
“Every state has potential. We have to start to look inwards to see how can we depend more on ourselves than the single reliance on one commodity which is oil and which we don’t determine its price or determine its consumption.
“It is simply an area where we have no control over.
”We need to go back to those areas we have control because between 2014 and especially by the time we came in 2015, progressively the price of crude oil continued to go down and down.
” I could remember around November and December in 2017, it dropped to 27 dollars per barrel.
“’So, if we absolutely depend on one source of single commodity of crude oil, there will be a total collapse of the institutions.
” The summary of what I am saying is that every single state of the federation has advantage or comparative advantage in terms of what it can develop to sustain itself, especially in the area of agriculture.
“For instance in Katsina State, about 90 per cent of the population is directly or indirectly dependent on agriculture.
”That is why the two key drivers of our “Restoration Agenda” are education and agriculture,’’ the governor said.
While also speaking on restructuring, the governor expressed his belief in devolution of powers and the need to address issues of peculiarities of each state and region.
“I believe there should be devolution of powers because this will enable states to address issues of peculiarities and when you talk about devolution some people are thinking that there is too much uniformity in Nigeria.
“Let me give you a simple example, I may be wrong but as the governor of Katsina State I should not be earning as much as the governor of Lagos.
”The resources at the disposal of governor of Lagos is only second to the Federal Government, likewise Rivers, even our neigbhours here, Kano.
“’So, I think devolution means you look at your resources and cut your cloth according to your size.
”It was done before during the old northern government, the Emir of Kano was the highest paid emir around, but that did not diminish the Emir of Katsina who was a second class emir that time. So, differential in pay doesn’t diminish authority.
“We can design our devolution of power in such a way that it doesn’t weaken the central government or take away how to safeguard the territorial integrity of the state.
”There are certain institutions that must remain with Federal Government,”’ he said. (NAN)