2023: ‘South’s call for power shift unconstitutional’ – Northern governors

Says it is sub-judice to act on VAT while issue is before court
…Insists Rivers, Lagos confusing VAT with Sales Tax

The Northern Governors Forum, (NGF), has declared that the position of their southern counterparts that the next president must come from the South contradicts the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution.

In a communique issued at the end of their joint meeting with Northern traditional rulers yesterday in Kaduna, the governors condemned statements by their Southern Governors Forum (SGF) that the Presidency must go to the South in 2023.

The NGF also spoke on the on-going controversy over the collection of Value-Added Tax (VAT), declaring that it is ‘being confused by Rivers and Lagos state governments as a sales tax’.

Recall that Southern governors have repeatedly maintained that power must shift to their region.

The NGF observed that some Northern State Governors had earlier expressed views for a power-shift to three geopolitical zones in the South with a view to promoting unity and peace in the nation. Notwithstanding their comments, the Forum unanimously condemns the statement by the Southern Governors Forum that the Presidency must go to the South.

The statement is quite contradictory with the provision of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) as amended, that the elected President shall: score the majority votes; score at least 25% of the votes cast in 2/3 States of the Federation. In the case of run-up, simple majority wins the election”, the communiqué partly read.

The communique added, “VAT is being confused by these state governments as a sales tax”.

The governors argued further that, “If every State enacted its own VAT Law, multiple taxations will result in increases of prices of goods and services and collapsed in interstate trade. “VAT is not a production tax like excise, but terminal tax which is paid by the ultimate consumer”, it stated.

The communiqué said, “Until and unless the Supreme Court pronounces judgment on the substantive matter between Rivers State and Federal Government, the matter is sub-judice and the Northern States Governors Forum would respect this”.

The governors reviewed the security situation in the North and called for a sustained synergy and coordinated efforts between the federal and the Northern States governments to tackle the situation.

The governors commended the ongoing onslaught against banditry, kidnapping and Boko Haram especially in the North East and parts of North West and North Central state and urged the armed forces and other security agencies to sustain the tempo.

The NGF called on agencies to leave up to their responsibility and urged traditional rulers to mobilise their various communities in checkmating the ugly trend of criminality in their domains.

The meeting was attended by the governors of Plateau, Kaduna, Sokoto, Nasarawa, Borno, Jigawa, Gombe and the deputy governor of Kano state.

Also at the meeting was the Chairman of the Northern Traditional rulers council, the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Sa’ad Abubakar III, the Emir’s of Zazzau, Bauchi and Kano, among others.

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