Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has faulted governors who depend on the monthly Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC), saying no state in Nigeria is poor.
Speaking during a lecture of the Executive Management Course 14 in Abuja, Wike wondered why governors lament there is no money in their states yet seek a second term in office.
The governor noted that every state has its own advantage and disadvantage, comparing two American states – Houston and California.
The first, according to Wike, is blessed with oil but not as developed as the second which doesn’t have crude oil but is the biggest economy in the United States.
He believes that development can strive if the governor is able to use the advantage for the benefit of the state and its people.
“No state is poor in this country, it is this over-dependence on the Federal Government,” Wike said. “At the end of every month, they send their Accountant-General/Commissioner of Finance for FAAC.”
“Any state that tells you we are poor and they deceive you by saying their state is poor. I keep on telling them ‘if your state is poor, why do you want to be governor? Your state is poor; you want to run the second term.”
He, therefore, charged governors to make good use of the opportunities at their disposal and stop relying solely on the Federal Government for survival.
On the issue of the Value Added Tax, the governor criticised the Federal Government for collecting VATs from states, insisting that “I looked at it and saw that what the Federal Government was collecting is not their own.”
When he came into office in 2015, Governor Wike recalled that he inherited Rivers State as one that was financially depleted and very close to bankruptcy.
This, to him, is because workers in the state were owed their monthly salaries; pensioners were not paid as well as contractors, describing the situation as being problematic.
Wike of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), explained that what he met on the ground became worse for him because his predecessor, Rotimi Amaechi (of the All Progressives Congress) did not leave a handover note to ease governance.
According to him, institutions should be made strong so that whether a governor is leaving the office or not, governance would not fail as it is a continuum.
He added, “Nigeria is one funny country how a democratically elected governor in the history of Nigeria will take a padlock and lock the court for two years. For two years, the courts were shut down in Rivers State and you know the implication of the courts being shut down.
“We, the governors are too powerful. The President is too powerful. If the governors were not too powerful, how can a governor think of a whole arm of government, the judiciary, and shut it for two years?
“Tell me what will be the fate of those who have problems with their contracts, how do they go for determination of who is wrong or right?” he questioned.
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2023: Tinubu Visits Minna, Says IBB ‘Gave Me His Prayers’
A presidential aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2023 general elections, Bola Tinubu has visited Minna, the Niger State capital.
Addressing journalists on Thursday, Tinubu said he met with former Military President, Ibrahim Babangida who prayed for success for his presidential ambition.
The APC chieftain and former Lagos State Governor said his mission to the North-Central state was part of his consultations to brighten his chances of succeeding President Muhammadu Buhari, whose tenure will expire next year.
According to him, consultations were still ongoing and he wouldn’t stop seeking extensive consultations before the 2023 general elections.
“Generally, I came to Niger State to commiserate with the Governor and the people of Niger State. I can’t stop by without paying a courtesy call to the enigma General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, Retired,” Tinubu said.
“So, he gave me his prayers. You want to know the outcome of the consultation? We are running a democracy, I took my decision voluntarily and I am running for the Presidency of the country, we are running a democracy, thank you very much and God bless you.
“When I made the declaration, I told you that I am still consulting and I will consult as widely as possible.”
Before visiting the former Head of State, he was at the Niger State Government House where he donated the sum of N50 million to families of victims of the recent killings by bandits on communities in Niger State this month alone.
Speaking with Governor Bello Abubakar, he decried the security situation in the country and said it can be fixed with prayers and self-belief.
He equally asked Nigerians not to see the nation’s security challenges as a hopeless situation.
709 total views, 395 views today
No Decision Yet On Petrol Subsidy, Says Obaseki
The National Economic Council in Nigeria says deliberations on the issue of subsidy on premium motor spirit are ongoing and that no decision has been taken on it.
Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, Southern Nigeria, stated this while briefing State House correspondents on Thursday after the meeting of the Council presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
Obaseki says the NEC ad-hoc committee headed by Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, North West Nigeria, has been working on the issue, but insisted that the Council has not taken a decision yet.
“The issue of subsidy has been one matter that NEC has deliberated on for more than a year now.
“There was an ad-hoc committee which was set up by NEC, headed by Gov. El-Rufai that included members of the executive arm of government that worked on recommendations as to what we should do about the cost of PMS locally because as has been told us the cost of pms in Nigeria today is about N162 for a litre whereas every other country surrounding Nigeria is selling the product at more than 100% of the cost in Nigeria.”
According to Obaseki, the huge amount Nigeria spends on subsidy could have been put on the provision of amenities in the country.
“The country as at last year spent in excess of—we must have the exact figures—but we must have spent almost N2trillion subsidizing petroleum products.
“That is money that could have gone into building roads; money that could have gone into healthcare and education.
“So, for NEC, the argument has been put out: should we continue this regime of spending money that we do not have to subsidize the living standard of mostly those who have vehicles.
“When NEC looked at some of the analysis last year, we then realized that less than 1/3 of the states in this country consume 2/3 of the subsidy.
“So the issue of equity also came up. All of these findings were presented to the NEC and NEC has had deliberations on still ongoing.
“So, NEC has not come up with any decision yet and I think has also been made to the president.”
1,418 total views, 678 views today
How I Narrowly Escaped Being Killed In Bomb Blast On Kawo Bridge, Buhari Narrates Ordeal
President Muhammadu Buhari has said he narrowly escaped being killed by a bomb near the Kawo bridge, while travelling to Katsina State in July 2014.
The president dropped the hint while he was commissioning the multi-billion naira project in Kaduna on Thursday.
Recall, the Kawo bridge had attracted many tourists to Kaduna since its completion.
The president had said, “they wanted to blow me. But my escort somehow stopped them. Before we came to this bridge they became so desperate and there was a small market or something like this here.
“They detonated the device. God protected us and here I am again. Thank you very much your Excellency and remarkably you became my governor. I don’t think I have any input. Zainab became my minister of finance. I didn’t know you’re from the gentleman I respect and go to his house. This is a fabulous coincidence and I thank God for it. Therefore I have taken your loyalty for granted.”
As part of the visit to Kaduna, President Buhari also commissioned the ultra-modern sports and shopping complex at Murtala Square Kaduna, where he reiterated the likelihood of staying in Kaduna after he leaves office.
Earlier, President Buhari who arrived in Kaduna on Wednesday was in Kafanchan, Southern Kaduna where he appreciated the numerous projects he commissioned and thanked the governor for building good roads and other infrastructural projects in rural parts of the state.
Buhari and his entourage led by Governor El-Rufai are expected to be in Zaria in continuation of the project commissioning.
The president’s visit to Kaduna is expected to end on Friday.
1,421 total views, 339 views today
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