States should get 42% from Federation Account, says Gov Fayemi

Governors have advocated 42 per cent of national revenue accruing to the Federation Account to states and 35 per cent to the Federal Government.

Ekiti State Governor and Chairman of the Nigeria Governor’s Forum (NGF), Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who disclosed this, said Nigeria was also ripe for restructuring. Fayemi spoke at a national dialogue and book presentation in Abuja.

He said: “On revenue collection and sharing, the position of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum to which I subscribe is that the sharing formula should be reviewed in favour of the states, especially given the argument of devolved responsibilities to the sub-nationals.

In the context of the-proposed new federal structure, governors have argued for a formula along the lines of 42 per cent to states, 35 per cent to the Federal and 2.3 per cent to local governments.”

Fayemi said the nation’s federal system has not served the best interests of Nigerians because it is devoid of devolution of power, decentralization and true federalism. While arguing that the Nigeria has tried to run away from addressing these issues, he queried:

”For how long can we continue to run away from this issue and continue to pretend that somehow it would resolve itself someday? The governor said that the main challenge confronting federalism in Nigeria is remodeling the union. He said: “Caught in our politics of difference and otherness, devolution, decentralisation, restructuring and such other concepts have come to mean different things to different people, depending on the ethnic and regional toga they wear.”

In my view, structural changes (like state creation and merger) would appear to me, unrealistic in a democratic dispensation. I also do not think we can easily go back to the pre-1966 regional structure or adopt the 54 federating- units proposal of the 2014 conference, which I find unrealistic, no matter the appeal or attraction. “Rather, our preoccupations should be, how can we make the current structure work better for us in terms of, first our governance system; second, our economy and national productivity; and third citizenship and inclusion.

There may be other issues that should be the object of our restructuring, but I consider these to be paramount. Fayemi threw his weight behind the suggestion by former Chairman of INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega that “sooner than later, these matters have to be addressed squarely, but dispassionately.

He said the challenge is how to address restructuring without upsetting the apple-cart; that is, without unleashing instability occasioned by the mobilisation of Ethnic, regional and religious sentiments and identities”.

He stressed: “Our idea of restructuring must be motivated only by our generational responsibility to perfect our union and to build a nation where peace and justice shall reign based on an operative principle that true greatness lies in building a country that works for everyone, regardless of the language they speak, or how they understand and worship God. “The evolution of Nigeria’s federalism has not served our best interests and it is not surprising that we have witnessed protests at every attempt at constitutional reengineering.

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