From JOE EFFIONG, Uyo
Edo State Governor, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, has described as illegal the current revenue sharing formula among the federating units in the country. Consequently, Oshiomhole has asked for immediate review of the formula to reflect the realities of the time and in consonance with the constitution if the states are expected to grow at their own pace. Speaking in Uyo at the golden jubilee lecture in honour of his Akwa Ibom State counterpart, Chief Godswill Akpabio, Oshiomhole said, “it is illegal since 1999, 13 years after, the revenue allocation formula has not been revisited.
We don’t need all the resources in Nigeria to revisit the revenue mobilisation formula and we must obey the constitution, which says that constitution must be revisited every five years. “It is actually illegal that since 1999 and it is now almost 13 years, in clear breach of the spirit and the letter of the constitution, the revenue allocation formula has not been revisited; it has to be done.”
The Edo governor also said there was need to remove such jargons like rotations, federal characters and other sentiments which the elite had beaten themselves with in an attempt to divert attention from most of the problems affecting the country.
“I have argued even last week that Nigeria cannot continue the way it has been. To service our diversity, we must revisit very quickly the revenue allocation formula. I think what Akpabio has done for the committee of governors is to make a bold statement and give the line to those who think governors are in the states to share and steal; let them come to Akwa Ibom State and they will change their minds.
“The truth is that even for the politics of national stability, we need to remove jargons like rotation, federal character and all those sentiments that the elite have beaten themselves with in our futile attempt to divert attention from our poverty of the brain, poverty of leadership, set brothers against brothers, Muslims against Christians because they have nothing else to fill their brains and to fire their imaginations.
“If we remove resources from Abuja and leave Abuja to maintain diplomats like the guest speaker today, maintain the Nigerian army to defend the territorial integrity of our great nation, evolve sensible, timely policies that ensure efficient customs that give effect to those policies, maintain diplomacy and provide all those things that untie us and challenge the state as the agent of development, the story of Nigeria would not be the same again. “The more resources we put in Abuja, the more the need to revisit how we manage our national resources, so that different parts of the country can develop at their own pace. Those who want to sleep can continue to sleep.
Whenever they wake up will be their morning.” The chairman of the occasion, Justice Alfa Belgore (rtd), on his part said if Nigeria should break it would be the end of the black man in the world. “Nigeria is such a great country but we don’t realise it. If the turbulence that has affected us in the recent past had affected other countries it would have torn them apart. If Nigeria should break, it will be the end of the black man in the world. Nigeria should not be allowed to collapse,” Belgore said.
The Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade, who was the royal father of the day, commended Akpabio for his development stride in the state. The Ife monarch urged governors to emulate Akpabio’s approach to development and transform their states.
“We are celebrating success of Godswill Akpabio. We are saying government is not moving but Akwa Ibom State is moving. People will say he has been given so much money; he can pocket it without doing anything,” he said. The guest lecturer on the occasion, the Nigerian Ambassador to Canada, Ojo Maduekwe, said the uncommon transformation in Akwa Ibom under Akpabio was not occurring in vacuum. The ambassador reasoned that every great act of leadership involved clarity of mission and the necessary energy and passion to drive the mission. “That of Akwa Ibom has not been an exception.
In pursuit of the agenda for transformation of the state, Akpabio has placed great premium on human capacity development. Based on that, he has invested heavily in education. “The matrix of free education, massive infrastructure development and targeted spending on security, have all converged to make Akwa Ibom one of Nigeria’s best destinations for investment,” he said.
Other dignitaries in attendance were Governors of Ondo State, Olusegun Mimiko; Gombe State, Alh. Ibrahim Dankwambo; former minister of information and communications, Prof. Dora Akunyili; former Senate president, Ken Nnamani; all former military administrators of Akwa Ibom State; captains of industries; actors and actresses, among others.