The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has described the raging Value Added Tax (VAT) controversy in the country as a wake-up call for northern governors.
The Director of Publicity and Advocacy, Northern Elders Forum, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, said this in an interview on Arise TV, he said it is time for governors in the North to depend less on revenue from VAT, wondering what would become of most state governments in the North should the Supreme Court rule in favor of Rivers and Lagos states.
The VAT issue is a wake-up call for northern governors. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of Rivers and Lagos, what would governors in the north do?
‘’Northern governors should, without delay, develop their own resources; they should develop the huge agriculture resources to develop the North. The North has a huge population that is largely undeveloped. This population can be deployed into agriculture to develop the North,’’ he said.
Baba-Ahmed said the VAT controversy had raised the need to restructure the country but lamented that the present administration had no interest in restructuring. According to him, the VAT controversy has brought to the fore the need for fiscal federalism.
On 2023 presidency, Baba-Ahmed, insisted that the north could not be intimidated or threatened into submitting to southern governors’ resolution of producing the next president.
According to him, “The South cannot be threatened to have a southern presidency. Allow democratic process to decide who becomes the president.
‘’The North has the numbers. If the South wants the presidency in 2023, it should negotiate and solicit the support of the North for its candidate and not to say the two major political parties in the country must failed southern candidates. Nobody can dictate to political parties that have their rules, let democratic principles prevail.
“The southern governors’ call for a southern president is hypocrisy of the highest order. The southern governors’ forum is a gang-up against the North. The North cannot be blamed for using arrogant and condescending language when southern governors are doing the same thing. Nobody has monopoly of rhetoric. Don’t say our language is unbecoming, talk to the southern governors.’’
Bala-Ahmed also said the All Progressives Congress, APC, and Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, do not have the solution to the nation’s problems, called on the Federal Government to allow electronic voting in 2023 to remove all doubts in the electoral process.
“APC and PDP do not have solutions to Nigeria’s problems. They cannot inspire change; they cannot deal with the issue of corruption. The smaller parties must be encouraged to wrest power from these two major political parties that have failed the nation,’’ he said.
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