Gov Okowa wants National Assembly to uphold true federalism

"The Federal Government should not be entitled to more than 40 per cent while the remaining 60 per cent should be shared between states and local governments. If we are in a federation, all federating units must be treated with respect," Okowa says.

Gov Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State (Twitter: @IAOkowa)

Delta Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, has called on the National Assembly to embody in the 1999 constitution being amended, true federalism and independence of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC).

The governor made the call on Monday, September 20, during a nationwide sensitisation on the review of the existing revenue allocation formula, which held at Unity Hall, Government House, Asaba.

He explained that an independent RMAFC would carry out its functions independently, including laying its proposals directly before the National Assembly for approval.

According to the governor, the current practice where recommendations of the commission are presented to the president, has led to the non-review of the revenue allocation formula since 1992, as no president was able to demonstrate the political will to forward the amendments to the legislature.

He commended RMAFC for the ongoing sensitisation of the states before a zonal exercise where recommendations from the states would be received.

"For quite some time a lot of talks have gone on in the revenue allocation and it’s very unfortunate that in this country we are still operating a revenue allocation formula that was actually reviewed in 1992.

"As we look forward to a new revenue allocation formula, we hope that you come out with something that is fair, justifiable and equitable.

"But, the challenge is that when you have done all this work, you are going to eventually, by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, lay this before the president and the president ought to lay it before the National Assembly.

"There is a challenge there and there has always been a challenge there, because what is there in our laws that will ensure that the president lays the recommendations of RMAFC before the national assembly?

"We hope that the national assembly takes a look at this amendment because RMAFC is supposed to be an independent commission, a commission on behalf of all federating units and component parts of the federation.

"They cannot tie your hands; the constitution ought to be amended to enable Chairman of RMAFC to directly lay before the national assembly whatever review it has come up with so that nobody stands it down,’’ Okowa said.

Okowa stated that the National Assembly must do what is right because "a nation is a nation. A federation is a federation with federating units and we must have that principle of justice and fairness.

"The independence of the RMAFC must be entrenched in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and they must ensure that this aspect of the constitution is reviewed to ensure that RMAFC Chairman lays its report directly to the National Assembly."

According to the governor, efforts of the commission can be in vain if the president fails to lay the report before the national assembly.

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