Since the inception of the present federal government of President Muhammadu Buhari, there has always been blaming on the president for whatever people are passing through in the country. For instance, when one goes to market to buy something, while the transaction is going on and the buyer finds out that the item is very expensive, often times the reply is ” Na Buhari cause am” which means in translation that the high cost is caused by President Buhari. Unfortunately the above pronouncement heard mostly in some sections of the country has become a common occurrence in many other places, such as motor parks, schools and other public and private places.
But the question here is; President Buhari is he the one to actually blame for all the problem bedeviling the country or is these pronouncements blaming him out of ignorance?
The fact still remains that in as much as the president has some blame concerning how he is administering the country, the constitution of the federal republic also provides for separation of powers and the responsibilities of each tie of government.
As a matter of fact the nearest governments to the people are the state and local governments. But unfortunately because of the control the state governors have over the local government system and the funds accruing to them, the state governments hence become the sole administration responsible for the majority of Nigerians. It is for this reason that statistic shows that in every state the majority of things belong to the state government such as roads, institution, hospitals, etc. Including payment of salaries, allowances and pension. Experience has shown that when the state government misdirects this responsibilities to other things that are not of benefit to the people or misappropriate funds made for payment of salaries, pension, construction of roads and other projects benefiting the people. Out of these neglected responsibilities the people suffer for it and in the range of anger and out of ignorance they direct their anger at the president whom they see as the father of the nation and must be responsible for everyone.
The states usually get federal allocation of funds to run their activities and pay salaries. And these allocations come regularly every month, so when the state government do not use the money responsibly for the betterment of the people, who is to be blamed?
For instance it is a fact that when salaries and entitlements to the people are payed, the money spreads and gets to many others such as traders, mechanics, clinics, churches etc and in this way people feel happy and hardship is reduced considerably. It is for this reason that state governments doing well in the area of payments of salaries, pensions, contractors etc, as well as provision of important infrastructure have happier citizens than those that are not doing well.
Also there are certain activities a state government may carry out that affect the people negatively, thereby creating serious hardship and poverty. Take for instance a situation whereby markets and people’s houses and business premises are demolished indiscriminately in the name of development without payment of compensation of any kind to the victims. In this case, who is to blamed for the sufferings resulting from such display of insensitivity.
What is on ground in various states have also showed that the federal government owned projects and institutions are most times more superior than those owned by the states. Take Imo state for example, a visit to a place like the federal medical centre Owerri will prove to any one that the personnel and facilities in the hospital are far more better than all hospitals owned by the state including the much talked about 27 General Hospitals. In the same way, a visit to federal university of technology Owerri compared to the Imo State University, a visit to the Federal Polytechnic Nekede compared to Imo State Polytechnic Umuagwo , a visit to federal girls college Owerri compared to any state secondary school and so on. There is always a big difference in comparison.
In the same way when it comes to building roads and other infrastructures, the federal projects tends to be better and more superior, except in some states where the quality of their projects can to an extent be at par with that of the federal, especially where they use the same quality of contractors like that of the federal government.
It could be recalled that not long ago many states where given bailout funds and Paris Club returns, by the federal government just for the reason of putting smiles on the faces of their citizens, especially in the areas of payment of arrears of salaries and pensions, but unfortunately some states did not utilize theirs well for the purpose it was given. In this case who is to be blamed. Even some people who earn pensions at both federal and state level always say that their federal pensions are more regular than that of many states.
With the principle of separation of power and responsibility as enshrined in the constitution, using the united states of America for example, which Nigeria is copying their presidential system of government, the constitution gives the states responsibility of being in charge of most roads, public schools, provide water, fire service, establish zoning regulation, license professions etc. These are functions that directly affect Americans everyday and in every part of their lives.
The above function of a U.S. state is also similar to that of a state in Nigeria. That is why in the United States people hardly talk about the National Government in Washington but are more interested in their state government who have the major responsibility to take care of them, but the opposite is the case in Nigeria and that seem to have given leeway to many governors to be doing whatever they like as the people will always blame their problems on the federal government.
Even some states governors go as far as blaming the federal government or presidency for what is clearly their responsibility to their citizens and the people ignorantly believe them.
Take for instance, the state of California in the U.S., if it is to be a country today, should be ranked in the region of the Nation with 3rd richest economy in the world.
Also a state like Texas produces over 100,000 mega watts of electricity compared to Nigeria, 4000 mega watts. That shows if a state is determined there is nothing it cannot achieve for the people.
After all the 4 years regime of late Sam Mbakwe in Imo state proved to everyone that a Nigerian governor can also achieve the things that can make the citizen happy and not misdirecting their blame to somewhere else. His idea of building power stations if it was sustained could have made Imo self sufficient in electricity as it is in the state of Texas today. Even his industrial revolution and other developmental projects would have brought Imo closer to what is obtainable in China today.