I have just been on a virtual tour of every Local Government in Nigeria and I am happy to report my findings. What I have found striking is that, Nigeria does have a ‘fairly’ decent structure…at least on paper. By this I mean, a fairly decent amount of ‘fairness’ is inbuilt into our system. There are of course a lot of bugs in the system…some glaring, some not so obvious. What we need to be asking anyone who
wants to run for President next year is how exactly he/she plans to fix this country and get it to work. Bearing this in mind, let’s proceed into a fantasy world where all the country’s money is shared among its citizens………….
You will struggle to find a Nigerian who thinks any of the last few censuses we have had in Nigeria were anything approaching credible exercises. This cynicism has fed the urban myth, no doubt propagated by politicians, that our censuses are designed to understate the numbers in one part of the country [usually the South] while boosting the numbers in another part of the country at the same time [usually the North].
But who really benefits from a large population? Say we had a miraculously credible census and the results showed that Southern Nigeria is more populated than the North, does it mean Southerners will automatically be better off?
Here’s how Wikipedia defines Per Capita Income
“Per capita income means how much each individual receives, in monetary terms. It is the measure of the amount of money that each person earns in the country, of the yearly income generated in the country. This is what each citizen is to receive if the yearly national income is divided equally among everyone”
Bearing the above in mind, I decided to do a small exercise based on the Revenue distributed to the 36 States and 774 Local Govts by the Federation Account Allocation Committee [FAAC] for the month of March 2010 [paid in April 2010].
Using the 2006 Census figures which puts Nigeria’s population at 140,431,790, it’s pretty straightforward working out the Per Capita income down to the local government level. What you find is unmistakeably clear; the more people there are, the poorer that local govt [and subsequently state] becomes.
To make life simpler, I didnt bother allocating the FG’s share of the revenue as this will simply be divided across everybody in the country. But even if we did each person would get an extra N800 on top of the PCI I will show you below.
We can also calculate the PCI before and after the 13% derivation is added to the mix. In March, a total of N22bn was shared across 8 Oil producing states [Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo, Rivers] on top of the money given to the LGs and the states.
So what’s the richest LG in Nigeria when you divide the total allocation given to the LG and the state by the population before adding in the 13% derivation? Abaji LGA in the FCT Abuja. The PCI for this LG in March was N3,383. Cigarette money some might say, but that’s how ‘rich’ Nigeria is I’m afraid. See the top 10 list below. And the poorest? Abuja Municipal [AMAC] in the same FCT with a PCI of N377 for March 2010 or just over 10% of what their neighbours in Abaji are ‘worth’. This is of course a typical Nigerian thing….poverty and wealth coexisting happily side by side. It’s important to note that even though AMAC got N292m in total for the month while Abaji got N198m, the population numbers [776,298 and 58,642 respectively] completely turned the PCI on it’s head.
The first LG from an oil producing state list to appear on the PCI ranking [sans derivation I hasten to add again] is Udung Uko LGA in Akwa Ibom at number 18, again helped by a low population [N1,652]. Ibeju Lekki LGA comes in at #10 [boosted by the VAT element of the LG’s allocation] while Bakassi LGA in Cross Rivers [are they still part of Nigeria??] comes in at #3. The rest of the top 10 is made up of LGs from Adamawa, Taraba, Kogi, Ekiti, Osun…all of them driven by low population numbers with the exception of Ibeju Lekki as explained above.
Switching to the bottom 10, an astonishing 8 of the LGs there are from Kano State. AMAC is bottom of the pile followed by Nasarawa, Dala and Kano Municipal LGAs. Extend to the bottom 30 and it’s the same. Kano state makes up 20 out the 30 bottom LGAs. Consider that Kano has 44 LGAs in total and it’s even more striking to note. In fact the ‘richest’ LG in Kano state is Tofa LG which comes in at #437 in the list of 774 LGs [PCI: N985]. In the bottom 30, the only southern LGs that make the list are all from Oyo State [Ibadan North, Ibadan North East, Egbeda]. You dont need me to tell you that the number one driver of this compounded poverty [the country isnt rich in the first place] is a large population.
What is also sad from looking at the numbers is how much damage corruption is doing to us as a country. Corruption basically entrenches the poverty our people already find themselves in. Take Jigawa State under Saminu Turaki as an example. The EFCC charged him for stealing N36bn from the state over the 8 years of his governorship [1999 – 2007]. Now in March Jigawa received a total of N4.2bn which works out to a PCI of N992 per month for the citizens of that state. Now say Jigawa received N4bn per month for 8 years, they’d have received something like N384bn……and Saminu Turaki walked away with 9.4% of that. When you feed this into the PCI, each person in that state will be poorer by nearly N100 per month….and that’s before factoring all the other people who have their hands in the coffers and inflation and everything else which makes people poorer.
A friend on Facebook recently remarked that Nigerian democracy is effectively a war by politicians against the people. You can see why….everytime they steal, we just get poorer and poorer. The message is clear; it’s not enough for us to hate corruption. That wont do. We must despise it……the anger must well up inside of us when we hear of people stealing public money….whether the person is a Fashola who is ‘performing’ or an Alao-Akala who is bleaching. No one has a right to appropriate our money for themselves.
The time for games have also passed. We are not just looking for a career politician as President in 2011. We are looking for a brilliant Manager. This country is NOT rich….dont let any half baked politician fool you. We need people who understand this fact so they can know how to allocate our scarce resources for maximum effect.
The other day I was speaking to a friend who told me that Nigeria is currently importing Cassava into the country to meet local demand! These things are heartbreaking to hear…….cassava only needs to be stuck in the ground for it to grow…you literarily just stick the stem into the soil and you are good to go. And we cant deal with that as a nation…..SMH
Back to our PCI calculations. Now let’s add the ‘oyel’ money into the mix and see what happens. Abaji LG in the FCT still has the highest PCI in the country but after that it’s all change as they say on the London Underground. Remember Udong Uko LG in Akwa Ibom? They are now #2. It’s an almost perfect place to live [lol] because of the combination of a very low population [53k] and a N1,587 derivation top up to to the N1,652 it already had from the LG and state allocation. In fact numbers 2 to 7 on the list are all LGs from Akwa Ibom state. Kolokuma LG in Bayelsa breaks the trend at #8 with a PCI of N2,932 before the Akwa Ibom juggernaut resumes from #9 to #16. Nembe LG in Bayelsa comes in at #17 and Akwa Ibom again holds numbers 18 to 26. This is the richest state in Nigeria per capita by a mile. Again a combination of a low population and oil money does the trick. If you are from Akwa Ibom and you are unable to see the evidence of what I am talking about, you need to have a word with Obong Godswill Akpabio. There cant be any excuse for a lack of visible development in that state.
How about the bottom of the list after the derivation money is added? Naturally it remains the same as before. Kano is still dominating the pack along with Kaduna, Katsina and Oyo states. The first state to break their monopoly on this infamy is Ifo LG in Ogun State. As an aside, Ifo is one of the LGs in Nigeria to have more women than men according to the 2006 census. It’s also interesting to note that Enugu and Ebonyi states are the only states to have more women than men in the total population [only Uzo Uwani and Igbo-Etiti LGs have more men than women of the 17 LGs in Enugu State] . My guess is that the women of Enugu dont know this….given the allegations of wife battery that dogged Chimaroke ‘Ebeano’ Nnamani while he was governor of that state.
The long and short of the above is that high population numbers only makes everyone poorer. We as the citizens must excuse ourselves from the arguments made by politicians to boost the population numbers of their states. The simple question to ask is ‘how does it benefit me if there’s more of us in this state? It benefits the politician because it means the govt allocates more money to the state from the federation account [the formula for revenue allocation is a bit complicated but it’s safe to say around 40% of the money a state receives is directly driven by population while the rest of it is indirectly driven by population numbers as well….stealing the money is pretty straightforward though].
So why do people lie about population numbers then? I will try to explain that bit in part 2…..titled P is for ‘Power’.
This note’s long enough already and I hate to bore you.