Devolve power to states, curb importation, Akeredolu tells Tinubu
The Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, has called on the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, to take the issue of power devolution seriously in his administration for a fast-track development of the country.
Akeredolu, who is also the Chairman of Southern Governors’ Forum, reiterated that the power at the central was too overwhelming and needed to be devolved to the states.
Moreover, he opined that the next President should ban importation of all items, which could be produced in the country, adding that luxury items should be taxed heavily for the country to bounce back economically.
He said, “The Federal Government must divest itself of the overwhelming but self-imposed duties for the country to breathe. The states must be encouraged to explore their domains and be creative. The Federal Government must ban importation of all items which the country is capable of producing. The taxation on luxury goods must be heavy.”
Akeredolu stated this at the 59th Founders’ Day Anniversary Lecture, Award, and Endowment of the Adeyemi Federal University of Education, Ondo.
Represented by his Special Adviser on Union Matters and Special Duties, Mr Dare Aragbaiye, the Governor frowned on the present constitution being used to govern the country, which granted enormous power to the Federal Government, insisting that the federating units must be able to chart the course of development in their localities. He stated that every state should be free to explore its areas of strength for the benefit of the indigenes and inhabitants, and states should not be reduced to pathetic beggars in a federation, as the situation is at the moment.
He said, “The incoming administration has its job clearly defined. It is inheriting not only a heavy backlog of disaffection and complaints from the citizenry from all parts of the country, and it has sold its campaign on the promise of a renewed hope.
“This clearly points at its readiness to address existential issues, which bedevil the country at the moment. The expectations are high, but the obstacles which have been erected to militate against progress are enormous. The tasks are going to be arduous, but not insurmountable. The President and his team, as well as the governors in the states, must be courageous to confront the problems headlong.
“The states must be allowed to operate fully without hindrance, as it is the case from federal agencies which encroach steadily on their sphere of influence. The states should control their resources and pay taxes to the Federal Government. Proceeds from sales tax and Value Added Tax must be distributed according to contributions.
“Any state, which feels incapable of proceeding as a socioeconomic cum political entity, may seek to join others. The states must be allowed to assume their full identities. They are no junior partners to the Federal Government. They enjoy coordinate powers.”
Akeredolu also emphasised that the development of Nigeria would continue to be an imaginary possibility, “unless these measures are considered, all efforts geared towards development will amount to reinforcing failure.”