The President of the African Development Bank, AfDB, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, has urged the Federal and State Governments in Nigeria to refrain from transferring the responsibility of providing basic amenities to citizens.

He made this call while receiving the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo Prize for Leadership Award.

Adesina, a former Minister of Agriculture, stressed the need for proper autonomy for subnational governments and highlighted the unfairness of burdening citizens with the provision of essential services. He drew a contrast with Norway, which boasts a higher tax-to-GDP ratio than Nigeria yet offers its citizens free education, whereas Nigerians are compelled to fund basic amenities like borehole water themselves.

The AfDB President restated the government’s obligation to prioritize affordable housing for all Nigerians. He cautioned that overburdening citizens could undermine the government’s ability to generate revenue through taxation, consequently hindering development efforts.

Adesina received the award during a program commemorating the 115th posthumous birthday of Chief Obafemi Awolowo in Lagos.

He joins a league of past winners like Nigeria’s Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka; former President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, and lawyer-educationist, Afe Babalola.

The event was attended by President of Tanzania, Samia Hassan, Former Military Leader, Yakubu Gowon, Governors Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos, Caleb Muftwang of Plateau, Umar Bago of Niger, Dikko Radda of katsina among others.

Earlier, President Bola Tinubu said Akinwunmi Adesina was deserving of the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo Prize for Leadership because of his visionary transformation of agriculture in Africa.

In a congratulatory message signed by his Spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale, Tinubu acknowledged Adesina’s unblemished records, leadership and development strides, particularly in agriculture, a point restated by Vice President, Kashim Shettima at the event.

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