It's not Ayo Fayose if it isn't dramatic and political. To be fair, we just love him that way.
Say hello to the new world order.
This week, Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose boarded an Abuja bound plane with one aim in mind--take on finance minister Kemi Adeosun concerning why the Budget Support Facility (BSF) due his State, had been withheld.
According to reports, Fayose arrived the premises of the finance ministry in the FCT at about 3pm, enraged and belching smoke from both nostrils.
It has become a familiar Fayose sight.
Adeosun was unavailable when Fayose stormed Abuja. She should thank her stars.
The minister was attending the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Speaking with reporters moments later, Fayose said Ekiti hadn't received its allocation for January because of politics.
The Governor belongs to the opposition PDP.
"The minister called yesterday to assure me that she would look into the matter", Fayose said. "But you should appreciate that civil servants in Ekiti are restive, having spent their money for Christmas and New Year celebrations. I met the PA (Personal Assistant) who assured me that the matter would be resolved.
“Part of the main allocation had been paid and the budget support is about N1.1billion, which has not been paid. I believe that it was a mix-up and she told me that the issue was not political", Fayose said.
On Thursday, the finance ministry explained that it had withheld BSF for Ekiti because the State hadn't met certain conditions attached to previous disbursements.
Director of Information in the federal ministry of information, Salisu Na’Inna, said Ekiti had been warned about flouting stipulated terms of agreement that goes with the allocations.
Na'Inna added that the State had ignored those warnings.
According to Na'Inna:
“The Ekiti State government and all the other participating States are aware of the consequence of failure to comply with the full conditions and it is not the first time that a State would be stopped from accessing the facility due to non-compliance.
"In the course of its normal duties, the ministry of finance has the right to query, suspend or withhold funds as part of the conditions of the Budget Support Facility.
“The process is for the commissioner of finance of any State or the Governor having issues to contact the federal ministry of finance and resolve the issues without resorting to the media because such issues are of a financial nature and therefore, confidential; they are routinely resolved amicably by the parties involved.
“The federal ministry of finance wishes to restate very strongly that the Budget Support Facility is a conditional programme and the Federal Government would not be intimidated or threatened in the discharge of its duties.”
Na'Inna's comments were all Fayose needed to appear before the TV Cameras hours later.
The Governor accused the federal government of deliberately withholding the support fund.
"Ekiti allocation has not been released", Fayose thundered, exhaling furiously with each sentence.
"The budget support which we signed ...Ekiti is the only State not paid for the month of January. And it seems it is deliberate. Because, up till now, no excuse was given for this action.
"I have written to the federal ministry of finance", Fayose added, brandishing a letter before the press. "My commissioner has been there. As well as to the CBN (Central Bank of Nigeria). Nobody is ready to talk to us.
"I want to appeal to the federal government...I want to appeal to the minister of finance, not to allow themselves to be used to oppress and suffer the innocent civil servants of my State. This State has been peaceful. This State has been running peacefully well, supporting Ayo Fayose at all times.
"If this is a political attempt or a deliberate attempt to cause problems in this State, it will not stand".
It says so much about the fake federalism we practice in Nigeria when States still rely wholesale on the center to survive.
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Fayose's rant would have been unnecessary if States were empowered to generate their own funds and use a portion of those to develop their States or regions.
This habit where State Governors head to Abuja, bowl in hand, to beg for funds monthly, is one of the ills of our democracy.
Governors should innovate and generate revenue for their States. They should strive for some level of financial independence. It is a worry that only a few State Governors bother to don their thinking caps.
Now more than ever before, fiscal federalism is badly needed to restructure our ailing country. We have to empower the federating units.
Sadly, this week, we saw the side of Fayose we are now used to--the 'area boy' part he loves to immerse himself in. This was sticking to persona.
Surely, all of this could have been resolved without the Governor jumping aboard an Abuja bound plane and calling a press conference?
Not many State Governors will storm the ministry of finance to physically demand that their State allowances be released and then appear before TV cameras to threaten fire and brimstone.
Not many will throw up politics as reason why allocations were being withheld even though that may well be a factor-- Fayose has been a self-confessed antagonist of President Muhammadu Buhari and his governing APC.
To ask Fayose to be a gentleman in 2017 would be asking for the impossible. We just love him this way.
Hopefully, the finance ministry disburses monies due to Ekiti on time in the future, just so we can get on with our lives.
The bigger issue after this Fayose drama recedes, will remain--Nigeria will probably never emerge out of the woods until the 'federation' is fiscally retructured.
We've played the Ostrich on this subject for far too long.