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Nigeria 2023: Northern Governors says agitation for Southern President is “unconstitutional’

Nigeria’s Northern Governors rose from their meeting on Monday with a condemnation of their counterpart in the South for agitating for zoning of the President to the area in the next dispensation.

The meeting, held under the auspices of Northern Governors Forum, in a communiqué, “observed that some Northern States Governors had earlier expressed views for a power-shift to three Geo-Political Zone in the South with a view to promoting unity and peace in the Nation.

“Notwithstanding their comments, the Forum unanimously condemn 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 percent of the votes cast in two third States of the Federation.

*In the case of run-up simple majority win the election.”

The meeting, which was held in Abuja, also had in attendance some Emirs from the zone.

The communique, signed by the Chairman of the Forum, Governor Simon Bako Lalong KSGG, did not state specific position of the Governors on the Value Added Tax, (VAT) currently being fought by some Governors in the South.

“The Northern State Governors Forum considered the on-going National debate on the collection of Value Added Tax (VAT). As responsible leaders while we are constrained by the fact that the matter is subjudice we, however, for the purposes of educating the public make the following observations:

“The judgement of the Federal High Court calls to question the constitutionality of VAT, withholding tax, education tax, Niger Delta Development Commission, National Information Technology Development Agency, 13 percent derivation, National Economic Development Council and many others currently levied and collected by the Federal Government of Nigeria, Federal Inlands Revenue Service.

“Rivers and Lagos State Government had enacted their own VAT laws and the Southern Governors Forum have expressed support for this course of action. VAT is being confused by these State Government as a sales tax.

“If every State enacted its own VAT Law, multiple taxation will result in increases of prices of goods and services and collapse in interstate trade. VAT is not a production tax like excise, but terminal tax which is paid by the ultimate consumer;

“Another confusion is ignoring observation above and its “overall effect”.  The reason Lagos account for our 50 percent VAT collection is because most of the telecommunication companies, Banks, manufacturing and other trading activities have their headquarters in Lagos with the resultant and wrongful attribution of VAT.

“Until, and unless, the Supreme Court pronounces judgement on the substantive matter between Rivers State and Federal Government, the matter is subjudice and Northern States Governors Forum would respect this.”

On security, “the Forum reviewed security updates from the Region and observed the need for a sustained synergy and coordinated efforts between the Federal and Northern State Governments while noting success of recent measures.

“The meeting also noted with concern the constraint of the security services and urged the Armed Forces to embark on simultaneous operations and resolved to share the plans of the Frontline States come up with common with other Region; and assured of its readiness to work in synergy with the Federal Government of Nigeria in finding lasting solution to the current security challenges.

“The Forum appreciated the ongoing onslaught against banditry, kidnapping and Boko Haram especially in the North East and parts of North West and North Central States and encouraged the Armed forces and other security agencies to sustain the tempo to enable the security challenges be permanently addressed in the shortest time.”core the majority votes; score at least 25 percent of the votes cast in two third States of the Federation. In the case of run-up simple majority win the election.”

The meeting, which was held in Abuja, also had in attendance some Emirs from the zone.

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