Immediate past Youth and Sports Development Minister, Mr Solomon Dalung, has chided the state governments for collecting huge allocations and grants from the Federal government but not allowing same to trickle to the people that such funds were meant for.
Dalung also while saying that the federal government has rolled out the biggest programmes for the empowerment of the youth, challenged the state governments to toe the line of the federal government in rolling out similar programmes for youth in their states.
The ex Minister who spoke in Abuja on Tuesday at a post ENDSARS roundtable workshop organised by the Patriotic Movement of Nigeria, challenged Nigerians for not speaking out against state governments.
The former Youth and Sports Minister blamed it on what he called the faulty federal arrangement which he said required restructuring.
The former Minister disclosed that the state governments had during the lockdown over COVID-19 pandemic received the sum of N1 billion each from the Federal Government, N1.1 billion released to each state by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as well as other parliatives from the centre but failed to disclose it to the people.
Darling said, “From the beginning of COVID-19 till now if you look at the money that has been released to the states , it’s mind blowing.
“When COVID-19 started, I went to the President and told him that we must prepare for a post COVID economy and that we are going to adopt the policy of lockdown and that 80 per cent of Nigerians depend on daily means of livelihood and when the economy is shutdown, there must be some stimulus to augment livelihood, otherwise there would be crisis and the president agreed with me.
“Not too long 2.5 billion was rolled out to the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs as parliatives and all of us were witnesses to what happened.
There was a day I saw the minister sharing N5,000 at the market square in Abuja.
“The President also released N1 billion to each state of the federation.
, no state government ever mentioned this until when Yahaya Bello came on air and now opened to say we were given N1 billion each. The World Health Organisation (WHO) gave N1.1 billion to each state of the federation.
“The federal government has released so many parliatives from the Federal grant reserve to the state and sadly Nigerians even did not know there was anything for them until the ENDSARS protest started and people now developed the instinct and Nigerians became palliative hunters and we are hunting all over for palliative.
With this situation, it is clear that the centre has put so much in the state but because of the weak federal arrangement which require restructuring, not much has been achieved.
“We must go back to what we agreed in London in 1954”, he said.
Chairman Patriotic Movement of Nigeria, Mallam Bello Abdulkadir, said his organisation “believe that it is now time to take stock of the protest movement, to underscore why its eruption was so organic and powerful, to ascertain how and why it degenerated into chaos and avoidable violence and unnecessary loss of innocent lives.”
He said the lessons learned from this momentous national occurrence, will help forging the way forward and forestalling such explosive national situation- with its attendant risks to national security- in the future.
He said “this roundtable will examine and engage with matters broadly relating to very weak political, economic and constitutional governance in Nigeria; how the government appeared uncoordinated and unprepared with the rapid expansion of the protests and could not articulate its containment positions clearly and coherently.
He also stated the workshop would examine “why the younger generation of Nigerians appear more patriotic than the elders because of the steady and compelling efforts of the youth to bind themselves and their protest movement around pan-national patriotic values and ideals as against the irredentist and regionalist mindset of the elders; and why and how the government’s poor understanding and appreciation of the generational desires of the youth and the place of digital economy and innovation in powering their vision of success fuelled the protests.”
According to Bello, this will help “to finding short term, mid-term and long term solutions to the overall crises of governance in Nigeria- the chief driver of the protests and possibly other major forms of volatile social disruptions that may occur in the future.