By Jude Opara, Abuja
Ahead of the Zamfara state Governor, Bello Matawalle defection to the All Progressives Congress (APC) today, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has threatens to de-rope the governor of his office, saying he cannot take the party’s mandate to APC.
PDP warned the governor not to forget that there was no crisis in the party to warrant his defection, stressing that his present mandate was given to him from the platform of the PDP.
Addressing newsmen at the party’s secretariat, spokesman Kola Ologbondiyan said the party may head to court to challenge the defection, adding that the wave of defections had become uncontrollably.
Ologbondiyan said the massive defection was as a result of the politics of intimidation, which the APC had deployed against opposition parties.
He also announced the dissolution of the Zamfara state chapter of the party with immediate effect.
Ishaku Demands Urgent Review of Revenue Allocation Formula
From Victor Gai, Jalingo
Taraba state governor, Darius Ishaku has advocated immediate upward review of the current revenue allocation formula to cushion the pangs of financial burdens of the states and local government areas in the country.
He made the assertion during a two-day review meeting on revenue allocation formula with the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) in Jalingo, the State capital.
In his keynote address, Governor Ishaku, represented by his deputy, Engr Haruna Manu, stated that the upward review of the revenue allocation formula has become imperative because it has been long overdue, since the last exercise was carried out during the military rule in 1992.
The governor further frowned at the current situation where the federal government has continued to enjoy the lion share of 52%, leaving the 36 states and the 774 local government areas with a paltry 48% to share.
He said, “in the past decades, the transformations witnessed in the country have increasingly shifted the burden of governance in the face of insufficient and dwindling revenue allocation from the Federation Account; this has over the years affected the effective performance of state and local government administrations in Nigeria.
“In the light of this uneven and inequitable revenue sharing formula, I wish to State that the revenue sharing formula is unfavourable to the second and third tiers of government, since it cannot keep up with our rising obligations, necessitating an immediate review of the formula.”
Furthermore, the governor enjoined Tarabans, particularly the stakeholders, to participate fully in the review process by submitting position papers and engaging in meaningful dialogues to improve fiscal efficiency at the subnational level.
On his part, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Joseph Albasu Kunini, strongly argued that revenue allocation formula has been one of the fundamental decision rules in allocating resources in the public sector worldwide, hence Nigeria should not be an exception.
According to him, the main reasons for revenue allocation in the country was to promote national unity and rapid economic growth, but he regretted that despite the continuous increase in revenue generation in the country, the expected impact on the citizenry has not been realized and felt, due to the revenue allocation problems.
He further faulted the current revenue allocation formula among the three tiers of government, just as he averred that the current clamour and advocacy going on within the public domain has to do with the dire need for upward review of the revenue allocation formula among the federal, state and local governments in the country.
Against this backdrop, he stressed that upward review of the revenue allocation formula in the country would chart a new order to match up with other developed countries of the world.
“The current revenue allocation formula, adopted, maintained and used by the federal government of Nigeria be reviewed to enable each tier of government be funded based on the functions it performs.
“By doing so, each tier will perform the expenditure functions within its jurisdictions for exercising full autonomy as a federal component.
“That in the spirit of full autonomy for the principles of true federalism to be in operations, states and local governments in Nigeria should be given a higher percentage.
“This is because both the states and local governments are discovered to be the tiers of government that are closer to the citizens, in terms of the basic needs needed by the citizens, since majority of Nigerians live in rural areas where social amenities are in short supply,” the Speaker explained.
He then proposed a new revenue sharing formula in tandem with the current economic realties and burdens of governance as follows: federal government – 40.20%, state governments – 34.20%, and local governments – 25.60% (totally 100%).
The Speaker also advocated that the current 13% derivation being enjoyed by the oil producing states be reduced to 10%, since the 3% has now been captured in the Petroleum Industry Act signed by President Muhammadu Buhari, recently.
Earlier, in his opening speech, the Chairman of the Commission, Engr Elias N. Nbam, represented by a Federal Commissioner representing Taraba State, Engr Ahmed Yusuf, stated that the Commission was carrying out its constitutional functions as contained in Part I, Paragraph 32 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as Amended) which has empowered it, “to review from time to time the Revenue Allocation Formula and Principles in operation to ensure conformity with changing realities, provided that any Revenue Formula which had been accepted by an Act of the National Assembly shall remain in force for a period of not less than five (5) years from the date of commencement of the Act.”
He, therefore, stressed that the sensitization exercise was designed to enlist the interests of the stakeholders, through interactions at various levels in order to get informed and make useful inputs that could provide workable template to assist the Commission in its task of evolving and bequeathing to the Nation a fair, just and equitable new revenue sharing formula.
Incessant Borrowings Worrisome – Ndume Agrees
By Jude Opara, Abuja
Even as the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has continued to endorse the continuous borrowing of the federal government, Senator Ali Ndume (APC Bornu South), on Thursday agreed that the increasing requests for loans by the executive arm of government and expeditious approval by the National Assembly, are worrisome.
Ndume who stated this while fielding questions from newsmen, said though borrowing is not a crime, added that required scrutiny for its approval, is never followed by the National Assembly in most cases.
He said this lack of thoroughness has contributed in making Nigerians to be suspicious of the federal lawmakers, hence the derogatory tag of a rubber stamp.
The lawmaker further revealed that, some of such requests hurriedly approved in the past, have not been even granted.
According to him, in as much as loans or borrowings are required by government to address the problem of infrastructural deficits facing the country, such loans should be cautiously considered in the face of debt servicing getting to 80 or 90%.
“Borrowing is not a crime but when the rate of debt services increases which I understand is getting to 80% to 90% you have to be cautious, you have to look for alternative.
“They are some loans that are not just absolutely necessary, there are some that can be delayed there are some that can be negotiated or renegotiated in terms of conditions attached to them. I think this is what the media should analyze and see whether it is necessary.
“We have infrastructural deficit in this country and all we hear is that when people come to Abuja and allocation is made you don’t see anything happening, for me, is better to borrow that money and do the road instead of giving it out for people to collect it and go and spend it without accountability .
“What I am worried about again is the way the Senate is handling it. The Senate by definition is house of deliberation, when things like this come we don’t just rush and approve it.
“Such requests supposed to be looked at critically by crossing the Ts and dotting the Is, ask questions, carry the people you are representing along and not sit down here in the National Assembly carrying out expeditious approvals which make the people we represent look at us with suspicions.
“They call us rubber stamp because we don’t carry people along. We rushed to approve certain Borrowings which up till now, not granted by targeted creditors”.
IPOB Sit-At-Home Order, Facility Attacks May Threaten Anambra Guber poll – REC
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says repeated Sit-At-Home order by members of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) may threaten its preparations for the Nov. 6 governorship election in Anambra.
INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Anambra, Dr. Nkwachukwu Orji, expressed the fears on Thursday while speaking with newsmen in Nibo, Awka South Local Government Area.
He spoke shortly after the opening ceremony of the Election Monitoring and Support Centre (EMSC) AMBER Zone Implementers Workshop held in the state.
He also disclosed that the commission had so far recruited and mobilised about 25, 000 Ad hoc staff that would man the 5, 720 polling units in the state.
He said attacks on INEC facilities on May 23 were a source of worry to the commission, especially as it strives to achieve huge success in the coming governorship poll.
“Our preparations are on course, even with all the challenges we are facing, such as the attacks on our state office on May 23rd and the Sit-At-Home order, which is eating into our preparations.
“But we are doing our best to ensure that we overcome these challenges and we can only urge the public to be law abiding in order to achieve the desired electoral success in the state,” he said.
Orji noted that the commission was already recruiting Ad hoc staff online and at the same time interacting with stakeholders.
He expressed satisfaction at what they had achieved so far, in terms of human structure.
He said if the success continued without future interruptions of its activities, the commission would confidently be ready by Nov. 6 to conduct a free, fair and peaceful election.
Orji, however, dismissed claims by some stakeholders that the commission’s earlier decision to supply non- sensitive materials for the election from its Southeastern zonal store in Owerri, Imo, would jeopardise the smooth conduct of the poll.
Orji said the determination of the commission to bring all the needed materials for the poll down to Awka remained unshaken, pointing out that the damaged structures at the INEC headquarters were being restored.
“The sensitive materials will go to the Central Bank of Nigeria branch in Awka. But we are not talking about sensitive materials here. So there is no need for the alarm being raised.
“The commission is working according to plans to put all things in place by the end of this month.
“Election process is something that do not have room for mistakes. We make sure that in the process of preparing for election, all that are needed would be on ground”, he said.
He added that the commission had developed a system for monitoring activities closely, to make sure that all programmes and plans were well executed without failure.
Orji said as a mark of its seriousness for credible election, NEC officials reviewed what he called the Amber zone, three months before the election.
“The exercise will take us to the red zone, which is 11 days before the election day, and two days after the election, which is the most critical period in any election”, he said. (NAN)
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