Governors of the 36 states of the federation rose from their meeting on Wednesday night in one accord and with once voice, declaring: “We are in bad shape.”
The N299 billion shared from the federation account for March 2016 is regarded as among the lowest in the 4th republic.
Deductions from the federation account were deferred to avoid some states receiving “negative” allocations.
The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), led by Abdulaziz Yari (pictured), governor of Zamfara state, has now expressed worry over the continued dwindling resources.
Speaking to the media after their closed-door meeting, Yari said the governors noted that they were in very bad situation and need to come together and discuss “intensively” about the economy.
“If you look carefully at this month’s federation account, it’s the worst ever in the last six years, so definitely we had to come to a round table,” he said.
“We were elected under different party platforms to perform, not just to pay salaries. It is worse not to be able to pay salaries, so the issue is very, very serious that we are coming back to discuss it and if we have the opportunity we will come back to see our leader, Mr. President.”
The governors want a permanent solution, not just bail-outs, he said.
He diversification is a “long term programme”.
“We are looking for a short term formula for you to live, at least survive before the long term. So on diversification, we are looking on agriculture, which is supposed to be the major focus long time ago but has been neglected by the past administrations,” Yari said.
“Now that we found ourselves in this situation we are working harder to diversify the economy and to look forward to a more permanent solution should oil go out of existence but at the same time we have to look for a short-term solution.”
Ayo Fayose, governor of Ekiti State, said he was comfortable that “everybody is concerned about the dwindling economy and we must as leaders of this country come together to find solutions and I agree with all the positions”.
Udom Emmanuel, governor of Akwa Ibom state, said no solution can be achieved in a two-hour meeting, saying the current economic crisis was not peculiar to Nigeria.
“It’s a global issue, so you can’t just at one meeting of about two hours fashion out entire solution for the country. We troubleshoot some points, we discuss those points and we have to weigh the impact of those points both the positive, negative, the extreme, the mid-point,” he said.
“Once you are bringing out certain policies, you also need to align those policies with the socio-cultural environment that you are operating in, what may work in this part of the world may not work in other parts, even though it is a good policy.”