The Federal Government has been advised to rely on purely political criteria for intergovernmental revenue sharing as a means of fighting corruption.
This was the submission of Professor Rotimi Suberu of the Department of Political Science, Bennington College, Vermont, U.S.A., who was the keynote speaker at the Ibadan School of Government and Public Policy (ISGPP) held Wednesday in Ibadan.
The theme of the seminar was “Constitutional Foundations of Political Corruption in Nigeria and a Reform Strategy.”
Prof. Ayo Olukotun, who is Oba Sikiru Adetona Professorial Chair in Governance, Department of Political Science, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, Ogun State, chaired the seminar while Prof Akin Mabogunje, the Chairman of ISGPP, was the host.
Suberu said fiscal centralism or centralised funding of the states and their local governments should be done via centrally collected and redistributed revenues.
“Government should rely on purely political criteria for intergovernmental revenue sharing. Absence of any strong mechanisms such as a conditional grants scheme to encourage SNGs spend devolved revenues efficiently, effectively, and transparently.
“Oversight agencies are weaker at the subnational level than at the centre, which further amplifies the discretionary authority and excesses of governors,” he said.
Suberu explained that there should be restructuring of the system of unconditional federal revenue distribution into a conditional grants scheme to make SNGs accountable, transparent, responsible and efficient in their use of devolved revenues.
Speaking earlier, Dr. Tunji Olaopa, the executive vice chairman of ISGPP, stated that corruption in Nigeria’s context was mostly viewed with fiscal lens, adding that there was need to deepen the view by interrogating the issue of political corruption especially as it manifests through the manipulation and exploitation of political institutions.
He said the aim of the day’s seminar was to look at the aforementioned issue as well as how political corruption plays out in the deliberate weakening and violation of the value foundation of political institutions “in a nation where the essence of everything including the meaning of eternity where we would all be at the end of time is politicised.”