The South–South Governors have reaffirmed their support for the position of Nigerian Governors Forum that revenue allocation formula should be reviewed to give more money to states and local government as well as dissolve more powers and responsibilities to the constituent states for rapid development.
This was the position taken by the governors after the first session of the Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Edo and Delta (BRACED) Commission Governors Council 2012 held in the Cross-river state capital, Calabar. The meeting was presided over by its chairman, Governor Liyel Imoke of Cross River State.
The governors regretted the attempt to link the increasing insecurity in parts of the country to the issue of 13 percent derivation and considered it unfortunate and misplaced.
Governors from the 19 northern states recently called for a review of the revenue allocation formula “to reflect current realities in view of the security challenges.
The chairman of the Northern Governors Forum and governor of Niger State, Dr. Babangida Aliyu, described a situation where a state like Niger gets between N4.2bn and N4.5bn as monthly allocation while some other states received 20 times the amount as ‘unfair’.
Also the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, in an interview with The Financial Times of London last month, decried what he termed the low allocation to Northern states from the Federation Account. He linked the lingering violence in the northern part of Nigeria, violent Islamic sect, Boko Haram, to the uneven distribution of the country’s wealth.
However, the governors from the South-south insisted that the issues to be addressed are the environmental degradation and pollution in the Niger Delta, caused by oil exploitation which has adversely affected fishing and farming activities.
They argued that the destruction of the region’s agriculture base “makes it imperative for an upward review of derivation principle and introduction of fiscal federalism.”
The governors questioned the rationale of not exploiting other mineral deposits in different parts of the country while depleting the oil and gas reserves of the South-South and expressed the strong conviction that the introduction of fiscal federalism and resources control will encourage each state of the federation to control its resources and develop in accordance with its capability.
In view of the security challenges in the country, they expressed deep concern at the level of insecurity in some parts of the country and appealed to the federal government to explore all avenues to end the indiscriminate and unnecessary destruction of lives and property.
The meeting which was attended by all the Governors of the South-South geopolitical zone, was the first to be held after the governorship elections in Cross River and Bayelsa States respectively.