Nigerian governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have called for an urgent review of the country’s revenue sharing formula in favour of states.
In a communiqué issued at the end of their meeting in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, the governors implored the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation, and Fiscal Commission to “urgently send the revised Revenue Allocation Formulae to Mr. President for onward transmission to the National Assembly for enactment, such that more resources are made available to states and local governments”.
The communique read by Aminu Tambuwal, governor of Sokoto State and chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, said the new revenue formula should be made in favour of states and local government councils because that is “where ordinary Nigerians reside”.
The governors expressed support for the implementation of judicial and legislative autonomy in the federation and states in conformity with the extant provisions of the 1999 Constitution, calling for more involvement of states in mining and geophysical activities within their states.
“This is necessary not just to curtail harm to the environment but to further diversify the Nigerian economy and complement oil as a foreign exchange earner for Nigeria,” the governors said in the communique.
“The PDP governors further reviewed the emerging threats to our democracy, constitutionalism, and rule of law and cautioned the Federal Government to exercise power with restraint.”
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The PDP governors said the need for law and order is paramount to secure the country but condemned mindless killings of innocent civilians.
“It is in the same vein that the meeting reiterated its earlier revulsion at any attack on security personnel and their property anywhere in the country as a criminal and egregious act for which perpetrators should be brought to book.”
The meeting, which also examined the suspension of Twitter from operating in Nigeria, condemned the personalized reasons given for the action, saying the “mere ego of Mr President is not enough for such a drastic action that deprives millions of Nigerians of such an affordable means of expression and communication”.
The governors hoped that the action was not a harbinger or early warning signs of descent into dictatorship.
“The meeting noted that social media regulation can only be done within the existing laws on the subject and should not be used as an attempt to punish or gag Nigerians from enjoying constitutionally guaranteed rights. Nigerian youths do not have adequate access to employment and a lot of Nigerians rely on Twitter for their livelihood, businesses, and self-employment.
“This will further worsen Nigeria’s 33% unemployment rate which is the highest in the world, improve Nigeria’s ranking as the country with the second-highest poverty rate in the entire world, all of which happened under APC’s unfortunate stewardship,” the communique said.
Consequently, the governors requested Mr. President to review the suspension of Twitter operations in Nigeria in the national interest.
The forum further called on the APC-led Federal government to think outside the box and “find solutions to the challenges facing electricity supply in Nigeria as the current system is certainly not delivering the power needed for Nigeria’s rapid industrialization”.
“On the recurring question of insecurity of lives and property in Nigeria, the PDP governors reiterated the need to decentralize the operations of the security apparatus of state even within the existing legal framework, to ensure the input of local operators in state and local governments in policing and security.
“It lamented the fact that Mr. President seems not to be aware that the coercive instrument of state security is firmly within his hands and not the governors, considering his recent media interview on the subject.
“The meeting reminded Mr. President that he has ultimate authority under the Constitution over security organizations, even though the states have a role to play. Cooperation and synergy between states and the Federal Government in security operations is critical in securing Nigeria.”
They said, in any case, even though police is on the Exclusive List, the states, as a practical matter, spend huge sums of money to support the security agencies to carry out their duties. They harped on the need for an appropriate legal framework to involve the states in policing, saying that has become even more urgent by the day.
“To this end, we reiterate our call for the National Assembly to expedite action in passing the Electoral Act and Constitution amendments to ensure restructuring and decentralization of governmental powers and functions.
“The PDP governors frowned at the rising and seemingly uncontrollable debt profile of Nigeria with over 80% of normal appropriation spent on debt servicing. All the gains of the PDP government under Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR, where Nigeria exited its foreign debt obligations has been destroyed. Borrowing for frivolous items such as funding the Nigerian Television Authority is scandalous.”
The governors said money should only be borrowed for productive purposes as Nigeria’s current debt of over N36 trillion is becoming clearly unsustainable.
“We should not saddle incoming generations with undue debt burden. The borrowing spree of the APC administration, if unchecked, will certainly lead Nigeria into avoidable bankruptcy,” they said.
The meeting was attended by 13 governors including those of Abia, Delta, Benue, Edo and Oyo States.
Others in attendance were governors of Rivers, Bauchi, Taraba, Enugu, among others, while Zamfara State was represented by the deputy governor.