Abuja (Sundiata Post) – Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has urged the Supreme Court to adjudicate urgently the dispute between some states and the federal government on the collection and sharing of Value Added Tax (VAT).
Such urgency and eventual ruling in favour of Rivers will provide more resources for it to accelerate economic growth, he argued at a parade marking Nigeria’s 62nd independence anniversary at Sharks Football Stadium in Port Harcourt.
“We have also not given up in our determination to right the injustice associated with the collection and distribution of Value Added Taxes generated from the state by the Federal Government just as we again call on the Supreme Court to please, treat this matter with the urgency that it requires,” Wike said.
He reiterated that since Nigeria returned to democracy in 1999, it has witnessed deliberate constitutional distortions, institutional weaknesses, and widespread corruption that prevent Nigerians from enjoying a robust democratic practice.
He also listed a lack free and fair elections, the rule of law, and social justice as part of the problems in Nigeria.
“This is not to say that Nigeria has not made any progress as a nation. Certainly, we have achieved some visible developmental strides and economic progress as Africa’s largest economy.
“The fact that we have remained together despite the recurrent conflicts and crisis of confidence is also worth celebrating as an achievement.”
Nigeria and Nigerians deserve more
“But, after 62 years, Nigeria deserves more than what it has achieved and Nigerians likewise deserve much more than what their leaders have delivered to them with the country’s enormous natural and human resources.
“Life is sacrosanct, but the present federal government has failed in the most basic duty to the nation to protect the lives and property of its citizens,” Wike added, per The PUNCH.
“Under their watch, infrastructure across all sectors, including roads, education and healthcare has collapsed.
“Tertiary education has remained comatose for over seven months and with no employment opportunities, the federal government continues to toy with the future of the youths.”
Wike decried the situation where healthcare delivery is a nightmare across the country with ordinary citizens unable to access medical services, basic diagnostics, and medications at affordable rates in public hospitals.
He cited spiraling crime and physical violence that are almost out of control nationwide with the schools, churches, and mosques no longer safe.
“And with compulsive corruption, insecurity, low export earnings, protracted forex crisis and an economy so close to bankruptcy the untold suffering and hopeless future among Nigerians will continue if something is not done to improve the quality of political leadership in our country.
“However, let’s not forget that before the present deplorable state of affairs, we experienced significant economic growth, relative prosperity, a stable educational system and a relatively better quality of life for our people, under the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP].
“This showed that Nigeria’s current economic, social and security situation can rapidly be resolved with new leadership that is courageous, decisive, purposeful and able to take the country in a new direction that would curb corruption, stop unsustainable debts, and drive economic growth to create jobs and prosperity for all citizens.”
Wike insisted there is a need to have a new government that cares about the unity of the country and the wellbeing of citizens.
Such government, he stressed, should be one religiously committed to changing the circumstances of the people and making life more meaningful for everyone.
Achievements of his administration
He said his administration is performing like the expected new government at the national level by providing road infrastructure in quality and quantity unmatched by any previous administration since the creation of Rivers.
“No State government, not even the federal government, can boast of the simultaneous construction of 12 flyovers and other major roads across the State in three years with Julius Berger Nigeria limited as the contractor; but that is what our government has successfully executed.
“We have expanded excess to quality education, including tertiary education with the successful establishment of the medical college and the four new campuses for the Rivers State University in Emohua, Ahoada, Etche and Tai Local Government Areas of the state.
“We have renovated existing hospitals, completed abandoned ones, delivered new ones, and are set to deliver the most advanced specialist hospital in entire West Africa for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and cardiovascular diseases here in Port Harcourt, which we believe will help the nation to stem medical tourism and conserve foreign exchange for the country.
“We have since started the payment of arrears of gratuities and death benefits to our senior citizens and legal beneficiaries and this will continue until all existing arrears of gratuities and death benefits are fully paid out.”
Wike said his administration has significantly advanced the economic interest of Rivers through securing important legal victories that helped recover several oil wells and gas fields Abuja previously denied the state.
“The 13% and other derivation funds from these oilfields have added appreciable resources to the state’s revenue base, which we are deploying to accelerate the development of our state.
“The roads and bridges we have built continue to stimulate economic growth and prosperity by providing safe and seamless commuting across the State for businesses, farmers and social endeavours.
“We have greatly enhanced the state’s judicial system and improved the living conditions of judicial officers serving in the state, including those serving in Rivers State jurisdictions of federal courts to enhance the rule of law and social justice in the state.
“Additionally, the tremendous support we are giving to the federal security agencies has resulted in curbing crimes and made Rivers State one of the safest States in the country to invest, live and bring up our children.”