2023: Northern Governors Rejects Power Shift
Governors from the north and traditional rulers met in Kaduna yesterday.
iexclusive News Nigeria reports that governors and monarchs from the 19 states in the north Monday slammed governors from the southern half of the country’s desire for a power shift to the area, calling the demand unconstitutional.
According to this online news source, the Southern Governors Forum asked in July that power be shifted to the south in the sake of equity and fairness.
Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, the forum’s Chairman, stated last week that the southern governors would not support any political party fielding a northerner as a presidential candidate in the 2023 general elections.
However, during an emergency closed-door meeting at Sir Kashim Ibrahim House between the governor and chairmen of Traditional Councils from the 19 northern states led by His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad III, the northern leaders described the southern governors’ position as contradictory to the provision of the Federative Constitution.
The Chairman of the Forum is flanked by Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State, Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, and Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State.
Despite the fact that some northern state governors had previously indicated support for a power shift to the three geopolitical zones in the south in order to promote unity and peace, Plateau State Governor Simon Bako Lalong stated that
The Forum unanimously rejects the Southern Governors Forum’s assertion that the presidency must be returned to the South.
“The statement is in direct contradiction to the clause of the Federal Republic of Nigeria’s Constitution (1999) as amended, which says that the chosen President must receive a majority of votes and at least 25% of the votes cast in two-thirds of the federation’s states.
In the case of a run-off, the election is won by a simple majority,” the statement stated in part.
The leaders also said that the Southern Governors Forum’s stance on the dispute surrounding the Port Harcourt court’s Value Added Tax (VAT) judgment demonstrates that the governors are mistaking VAT with sales tax.
“These state governments are mistaking VAT for a sales tax. Multiple taxes would result in higher pricing for products and services, as well as a collapse in interstate trade, if each state passed its own VAT Law. VAT is a terminal tax paid by the final customer, not a manufacturing tax like excise.”
“Another blunder is dismissing the preceding observation and its ‘overall effect.’
The reason Lagos accounts for half of our VAT collection is that most communications businesses, banks, manufacturing, and other trading operations have their headquarters in Lagos, resulting in erroneous VAT attribution,” Lalong explained.
While the Forum is constrained by the fact that the matter is pending, he said that as responsible leaders, the Forum must state for the purpose of public education that the Federal High Court’s judgment calls into question the constitutionality of VAT, withholding tax, education tax, Niger Delta Development Commission, National Information Technology Development Agency, and 13 percent derivation tax.
Despite the fact that Rivers and Lagos State governments have enacted their own VAT laws, and the Southern Governors Forum has expressed support for this course of action, the matter remains under judicial review until the Supreme Court rules on the substantive dispute between Rivers State and the federal government, according to the communique.
The meeting, which reviewed regional security reports, praised the continued fight against banditry, abduction, and Boko Haram, particularly in the North East and sections of the North West and North Central States, and urged the Armed Forces and other security agencies to keep up the pressure.
It did, however, emphasize the importance of ongoing synergy and coordinated efforts between the federal and northern state administrations, as well as voicing concern about security service constraints and urging the Armed Forces to conduct simultaneous operations.
Various reports commissioned by the Northern Governors Forum in the development of the region were also evaluated for implementation, according to the conference.