We all know that resource control is the biggest obstacle to the actualization of true federalism in Nigeria. If we are honest to ourselves, we will all admit that we cannot separate resource control from true federalism. They are inseparable.
You cannot give the states more fiscal responsibilities and yet deny them access to maximize their areas of natural comparative advantage. You cannot let the states or regions generate their own electricity and yet deny them access to the gas beneath their land for gas plants and water for their dams. Whatever their comparative advantages is, be it human made or natural made, they must be controlled by the govt closest to the people. You cannot tell Kano state to have its own state and community police system and yet deny them access to the natural resources which they would use to fund their new fiscal responsibility. This is why we cannot separate resource control from true federalism. True federalism is not resource control, however, resource control is a feature of true federalism
Now that we know what the most contentious feature of federalism is and who are in opposition to it, we now have a duty to solve it. Now that we know why the North in particular is against true federalism; fear of losing crude oil allocations, we now have a duty to think for over the genuine fears. Can our states survive if monthly allocations come to an end? We now have a duty to study the North and see how their comparative advantages can be maximized in the interest of the region. This is not suppose to be so but because we know this is imperative, we now have to think a way out. If it is indeed axiomatic and even incontrovertible that Nigeria needs true federalism as we strongly believe, then we have not just a patriotic duty but a moral duty to make it happen. There is need for the intellectual community of Nigeria to take a position on this.
What exactly is Resource Control?
Prof. Itsey Sagay gives us an interesting understanding of the concept. Resource control in his view involves three major components:
The power and right of a Community or State to raise funds by way of tax on persons, matters, services and materials within its territory.
The exclusive right to the ownership and control of resources, both natural and created within its territory.
The right to customs duties on goods destined for its territory and excise duties on goods manufactured in its territory.