Governors Should Seek Regionalism, VAT Too Minimal Says Gani Adams

Governors Should Seek Regionalism, VAT Too Minimal says, Gani Adams, the Aareonakakanfo of Yorubaland on Wednesday.

He urged the 36 state governors in the country to demand regionalism.

Adams requested that they should not just agitate for the collection of Value Added Tax as some of them are currently pursuing.

Adams made this known on Wednesday as a guest on PUNCH Online interview programme, The Roundtable.

According to him, the pursuit for the collection of VAT by subnational is minimal to what they would control if they pursue total federalism and regionalism.

VAT is a consumption tax paid when goods are purchased and services are rendered. It is charged at a rate of 7.5 per cent.

The Rivers State Government took the Federal Inland Revenue Service to court and won the rights to VAT collection within its territory.

Governor Nyesom Wike subsequently signed the state’s VAT bill into law last month after it was passed by the Rivers State House of Assembly.

In the same vein, the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, last Friday, signed the State VAT Bill into law a day after it was passed by the Lagos State House of Assembly.

Lagos state also asked to be joined as a respondent alongside Rivers State in the appeal filed by the FIRS challenging the judgment of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt which ruled that Rivers should commence VAT collection.

Justice Haruna Tsammani of the Appeal Court had adjourned to September 16 to hear the application by Lagos and asked all parties to “maintain status quo”.

Adams commended the two governors but said they have more to gain by demanding federalism and regionalism.

He said, “Nigeria has two ways to survive now, either we restructure Nigeria to regionalism or we allow Nigeria to split naturally without even shooting one gun the way Nigeria is going.

“The Presidency and those in corridors of power have the opportunity to determine what is going on in this country.

“The can allow Nigeria to survive with only one condition which is by allowing the federating unit to go back to the region”.

“So the centre will still be controlling about 30 per cent of the economic activities, economic interest, political power, security sectors of the country at the federal level.”

Asked whether he was in support of the VAT chase by some governors of late, Adams said, “That is even minimal to my own demand.

According to him, “that is too minimal”. When you have your region, you control more than VAT.

You will control your security, you can project what would happen in your region for the next 20 years (but) now you can’t project what would happen in your state as a governor.

“The state governors are powerless based on the constitution given to us by the military in 1999.

Every day, Yoruba people lose their economic value, we are even losing a friendly, well-organised environment to insecurity every day. Yoruba are being known for qualitative education.
We are losing that value every day. We are losing everything given to us by our political father Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Before we lost it all, we have to do something, we must not fold our arms.”

He further noted that “the decision taken by the Lagos and Rivers state governments is a welcome development”.

Adam, affirm that “Lagos needs money” to build qualitative education, free basic health, and others enjoyed under the government of the late elder statesman, Alhaji Lateef Jakande”.

Jakande was Lagos governor between October 1, 1979, and December 31, 1983.