The recent drama between Southern Governors and the Northern Elders Forum seems to have taken to a new twist, as Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa state recently waded into the debate surrounding the issue of the 2023 presidency and the collecting of Value Added Tax (VAT) by states instead of the Federal Government.
Photo Credit: Proshare.
People's Gazette quoted the governor as saying that Northerners would resist any attempt by the South to force the 2023 Presidency, and the collection of VAT by states, on them.
Gov. Sule blasted the Southern Governors for insisting that the 2023 Presidency should be zoned to the South, reiterating that the office is one that should be campaigned and lobbied for and not demanded. He also condemned moves by Governors Nyesom Wike and Babajide Sanwo-Olu to implement a state-controlled VAT revenue generation structure in the country.
Gov. Sule. Credit: Eggon News.
Based on the above, there are two key statements the Nasarawa Governor made that I would like to point out.
1. First, the governor said the North would "resist attempts by the South to force VAT collection by states on them."
2. Secondly, the Governor said the North would resist (blackmail) attempts by the South on the issue of 2023 Presidency, as it is a "free world" and the North can vote for whomever it chooses.
Now, the South is not forcing the issue of VAT on the North. In fact, Lagos and Rivers are only seeking to control the VAT structure in THEIR states. How does this translate into forcing it on the North?
Photo Credit: PUNCH.
The states that have decried the present VAT revenue sharing formula by the FG argue that they are not being given enough of what they actually generated, while some Northern states receive 100% of their revenue; based on this, is it not fair for these states to demand to control VAT since they are the ones generating it? How does it relate to Sule's claim that the South is trying to force VAT on the North?
Southern Governors: Credit: Premium Times.
Speaking on the issue of the 2023 Presidency, the Southern Governors are only urging the North to embrace the spirit of diplomacy and allow the South to rule, since the president who would complete his 8-year tenure in 2023 hails from the North.
Recall that this is not the first time that the issue of Zoning has been raised. I can personally recall that during the end of the tenure of ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo, there were calls from some Northern elites that the then 2007 Presidency should be rotated to the North because Obasanjo hails from the South.
Northern Elders Forum also condemned calls for zoning by the South. Credit: Premium Times.
Based on all these, the writer opines that the North should not challenge moves by southern states to control VAT and demand for the 2023 Presidency in the spirit of fairness and equity.
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