Tinubu Tells ACN Lawmakers To Seek Revenue Increase For States
SAN FRANCISCO, May 10, (THEWILL) – Federal lawmakers elected under the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) have been mandated to lead the campaign for the review of the revenue allocation formula to reflect the ideals of true federalism.
The Action Congress of Nigeria is the major opposition party in Nigeria dusting the All Nigeria Peoples party (ANPP) to 3rd position.
National Leader of the party and former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu gave the charge in Abuja during an interactive session with the party’s members-elect in the National Assembly, saying that a review of the sharing formula is the only path to Nigeria’s development. The session took place at the Musa Yar’Adua Centre.
“We are the largest opposition party in the country. God bless Nigeria,” he said.
“What we are saying is a controlled mechanism that will ensure a better and more assured free and fair elections. We will have a government and the opposition that is truly the representative of the wishes of the people.
“What should be our agenda? What we stand for is what we are saying. We have a Federal Republic of Nigeria and we are running a federal constitution. Then, we are here to ensure true federalism and I hope I am clear. Now fiscal federalism is mandatory for us. It is only the legislature that can effect the change in the revenue sharing formula.
“In the last 12 years, I have not heard that the revenue allocation has been reviewed and implemented. We have a lopsided revenue sharing formula.
“Critical to that, you have a lopsided revenue formula giving the Federal Government 52 per cent of the commonwealth of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is not acceptable. The real people are there in the states and local government levels. The Federal Government should not take more than 25-30 per cent of the revenue.”
“In the federal principle under the constitution, it is the state who ceded power and trust to the Federal Government to hold certain aspects in trust on behalf of the states. Without the states, there is no federal. We have not been running an effective federal system; it has been unitary system and it has to stop. And we have to work hard on that.
“Added to that they brought Revenue Allocation Mobilization and Fiscal Commission. It is clear in the constitution, but it has never been implemented. It has been abused by the same government since 1999. Obasanjo was the worst abuser of the provision.
“Again, back to fiscal federalism. Throughout 2005 - 2007, several recommendations were made to review the revenue allocation formula. I think the governors are still struggling on that, even though the PDP might not understand the need for the review and I don’t see why because they even control more states. This must be for the benefit of the states.
“The Federal Government should not take more than 25-30 per cent of the revenue,” the party leader stated.
Tinubu however commended ACN legislators Senator Olorunimbe Mamora and Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila for proposing a Legislative Research Centre.
“International agencies will fund such a resource centre, if well-established. The acquisition of knowledge and things you will acquire from there is yours. So go and think about it,” he added.
In his contribution, Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola advised the members-elect to always attend plenary sessions and committee sittings.
“One of the things I will recommend is regular and full attendance. As a governor, I have watched the plenary many times and it has not looked too good when you see empty parliament. We expect to see fullest possible attendance. We have listened to eminent and experienced parliamentarians, but the truth is that you cannot give what you do not have. You will also do yourself a lot of good to be computer literate. You will get a lot of information about issues from the internet even at short notice. I use internet as part of my research and resource data,” the governor said.
In his address to the members-elect, the National Chairman of the party, Chief Bisi Akande distanced the ACN from the proposed Government of National Unity.
“In Nigeria, to do GNU as a matter of pleasure is to compromise democracy. If we want to maintain a good democracy in this country, we must have a strong opposition. You will be recognized as an alternate voice and democracy will be more robust.
“In a civilized society, GNU is always done when a country is at war. When a country is at peace, you allow robust democracy to thrive.
“We are going to sit down as a party and take a firm decision on this. When you want to cringe, don’t use our name or our party. And when you are appointed to serve by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), you are on your own,” he said.
Some of those in attendance include ACN National Vice Chairman, Boss Mustapha, a former National Chairman of the PDP and ACN, Dr. Audu Ogbeh, party’s National Publicity Secretary Alhaji Lai Mohammed, National Secretary Lawal Shuaibu and National Legal Adviser Muiz Banire.
Others include the Governor-elect of Ogun State, Sen. Ibikunle Amosun; Senator-elect Dr Chris Ngige; Senator George Akume and Senator-elect Babafemi Ojudu amongst others.