African Development Bank President Advocates for Change to ‘United States of Nigeria’ to Foster Economic Growth and Decentralization

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In a bold move aimed at fostering economic growth and decentralization, the President of the African Development Bank Group, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, has proposed a change of name for Nigeria from the Federal Republic of Nigeria to ‘The United States of Nigeria.’

Addressing the audience as the recipient of the 2024 Obafemi Awolowo Prize for Leadership, Adesina outlined his vision for a reimagined Nigeria in his lecture titled, ‘Making a New Nigeria: Welfarist Policies and People-Centred Development.’

Adesina emphasized that the proposed change to the ‘United States of Nigeria’ would signify a shift in the relational dynamics between the states and the federal government. Under this framework, the states would serve as the fulcrum of governance, with the federal government providing support rather than exerting centralized control.

He stated, “We must be audacious! Instead of the Federal Government of Nigeria, we could think of the United States of Nigeria. The old would give way to the new. We would change the relational mindset between the states and Abuja: the fulcrum would be the states, while the centre would support them, not lord over them.”

Adesina highlighted the potential benefits of this restructuring, including improved governance, enhanced accountability, and the emergence of economically stronger constituent states. By devolving more economic and fiscal powers to the states, Nigeria could unlock massive wealth across its regions and foster rapid development.

However, Adesina also underscored the need for constitutional changes to facilitate this transition towards decentralization. He stressed that economic and financial viability should drive the restructuring process, rather than political expediency.

Furthermore, Adesina lamented the high implicit tax rates borne by Nigerians due to the government’s failure to provide basic services. He emphasized the importance of governments delivering on their responsibilities and called for greater fiscal autonomy for states to address local needs effectively.

To succeed in implementing welfarist and people-centred policies, Adesina advocated for a shift towards decentralized governance, empowering states to harness their resources and unlock their full potential. By adopting strategies tailored to their comparative advantages, states could reduce reliance on federal allocations and access long-term financing for sustainable development.

Adesina’s visionary proposals signal a paradigm shift in Nigeria’s governance framework, calling for bold decisions and visionary leadership to chart a new course towards prosperity and inclusivity. As Nigeria contemplates its future, Adesina’s words serve as a rallying cry for transformative change and renewed hope for a better tomorrow.

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