Another crisis looms in Zamfara State’s All Progressives Party as a former governor of the state, Abdulaziz Yari, and Senator Kabiru Marafa, have rejected the declaration by the national leadership of the party that the incumbent governor of the state, Bello Matawalle, has become leader of the party.
This is coming after Matawalle had defected to the party from the Peoples Democratic Party and was received with funfair on Tuesday, where Yobe State governor and chairman of the APC caretaker committee announced Governor Matawalle as a new leader of the party.
But Yari and Marafa, featuring on the BBC Hausa Service on Thursday, said they would not surrender to the Matawalle leadership.
Yari said, “It’s one thing that we are challenging which is the declaration by Governor Mai Mala. His declaration was not part of what we discussed with six governors before he (Matawalle) defected.
“What we all agreed during our meeting with the six governors was that Matawalle should be received into our fold and afterwards we should discuss how to integrate both his people and ours. But during the defection, we were told that the party executives should be dissolved. You just don’t dissolve executives of a party because nobody has the power to do so.”
On his part, Marafa said the declaration of Matawalle as the leader of the party in the state amounted to deception, insisting that they would not accept it.
He said, “We said for proper integration, there should be a meeting for proper consultations but all of a sudden, announcement was made that the party executives had been dissolved and someone was named as leader of our party. This is incorrect.”
Until February this year, Yari and Marafa were of different camps in the Zamfara State APC.
The intervention by Buni ended the feud between the two political gladiators which caused the APC Zamfara State in the 2019 to lose all elections it won including the governorship poll.
VAT claim is about fiscal federalism- Lagos State
Lagos State government on Thursday said it has a strong case in its demand to collect the Value Added Tax (VAT).
It said its claims were also about fiscal federalism.
The state said VAT collection would neither impoverish other states nor would the process be cumbersome.
Commissioner for Information Strategy Gbenga Omotoso, who spoke on ‘Your View’ on TVC, said: “Lagos has a solid case in the ongoing legal dispute as the crux of the disagreement is about equity, justice and fairness.
“Whichever way it goes, it will also enrich our jurisprudence and enhance the way we see and relate to the law.
“No matter what, Lagos will always stand for true fiscal federalism.”
The commissioner noted that the volume of air, sea and road transport activities in Lagos puts pressure on the state’s infrastructure.
He added that additional revenue from VAT would facilitate infrastructure development for faster movement of goods and services, as well as economic growth for the benefit of Lagos and other states since prices will fall.
On the demand for a special status for Lagos, Omotoso described Lagos as a ‘giant that carries most of the burden of Nigeria on its shoulders and the engine-room of the nation’s financial and business activities.
“Lagos must be empowered to play this role to the benefit of Nigerians”, he insisted.
Omotoso noted that other states can partner with Lagos to generate more revenue or resources by taking advantage of its huge population and massive market to sell their agricultural produce and other products, while profits realised therefrom would be repatriated to create more wealth for farmers and other producers in such states.
According to him, Lagos almost became an orphan following the movement of the Federal Capital Territory to Abuja in 1991, resulting in modest support from the Federal Government.
He was confident there would be resources for more infrastructure and facilities in transportation, health, education, e.t.c, that will benefit Lagosians and others who troop in every day if the state is allowed to collect VAT.
Omotoso added that the state will sensitise residents concerning its position on the debate.
Also yesterday, Akwa Ibom State Governor Udom Emmanuel said states were entitled to collect VAT.
He was a guest on Arise TV News ‘Morning Show’ aired to mark the state’s 34th anniversary.
According to him, it was wrong for the Federal Government to collect and share revenue from VAT because it is generated from businesses and activities in states.
Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, yesterday asked all taxpayers to continue remitting VAT to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
She said in an advertorial: “The ruling of the Court of Appeal employs all taxpayers in all the states to continue to collect VAT on behalf of the government in compliance with the VAT Act.”
But, Emmanuel said despite the huge oil and gas investments in the state, Akwa Ibom receives a paltry N2 billion from VAT.
He backed his Rivers and Lagos states counterparts, Nyesom Wike and Babajide Sanwo-Olu, both of whom have signed their VAT bills.
Emmanuel said: “If my brother state has gone to court, it is the same principle that we stand on. I think we are all in the same bucket, the same basket.
“All the 36 states do not need to join at the same time. Today my brother in Rivers State has gone far enough.
“I think the case has gone to the Appeal Court and there is also a stay of execution.
“Let me allow the rule of law. But for states saying they do not need VAT, maybe they do not know the hidden treasure in VAT.
“If today I sell a house in Uyo, or any other person sells a property, the value is enhanced because of the good roads, electricity, security and water I have created, and the value I have added to the property. Why should the VAT on the property not come to me 100 per cent?
“Just look at the money I have spent on capital projects in the first quarter put at N143 billion, if you take 7.5 per cent of that, why should all not come to me?”
Fani-Kayode: Some of Buhari’s harshest critics dine with him at Aso Rock – Femi Adesina
Mr Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, has said some of the persons who vilify his principal publicly return to Aso Rock for dinner.
The presidential spokesman said this while commenting on the return of Femi Fani-Kayode to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Fani-Kayode has been under fire since last week when the Chairman of APC National Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) and Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, presented him to Buhari at the State House, Abuja.
Both members of the APC and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have hurled insults at him over his defection.
In his weekly article, Adesina said Buhari is large-hearted and the manner in which he received Fani-Kayode showed this.
“Between last week and now, vitriol poured by FFK on anybody with the slightest affinity to APC has been dug up serially. He has said things straight from the gutters, things that the natural man would call unforgivable and unpardonable.”
“Against President Buhari, the first family, Yusuf Buhari whom he wished had died when the latter had an almost fatal bike accident, APC as a party, the government, leaders of the party, groups and individuals. Even this writer has suffered horrid descriptions from FFK in many write-ups.
“Yes, he even said he would rather die than return to APC, but last week, he returned—well and alive.
“Naturally, a lot of loyal APC members are hopping mad that FFK was readmitted into the party. And not only that, he got back at the highest level. Not at his ward in Ile-Ife, Osun State, but the triumphal entry was at the Presidential Villa, with President Buhari himself as the host.”
The presidential spokesman said aside Fani-Kayode, Buhari has hosted and dined with some of the persons who condemn him in public.
He said while some persons had formed the habit of lying that Buhari has an unforgiving spirit, the president has proved them wrong with his action.
“I have worked with the President for over six years. And I have seen amazing things in terms of accommodation and capacity to forgive.”
“I have visited him at home many times in the evenings, only to find at dinner table with him people who had been abusing his forefathers on television earlier in the day. This President has a capacity to forgive, and forget. And make peace.”
We have no mandate to zone President, VP positions – PDP committee
The Zoning Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party for national offices of the party says it has no mandate to determine which sections of the country should produce its presidential candidate and the running mate.
This was made known on Thursday in Enugu before members of the committee adjourned their meeting till next week for conclusion of their work.
Chairman of the committee and Governor of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, in his welcome address, said the committee had no mandate to zone political offices such as President or Vice President of Nigeria.
The governor said, “Our committee is strictly limited to the PDP National Executive Offices to be contested at the 2021 PDP National Convention scheduled for the end of October, 2021”, stressing, “We have no mandate to zone political offices such as President or Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Ugwuanyi maintained that the PDP remains the most credible platform to deliver good and accountable governance to Nigeria, adding that the work of the committee will contribute immensely “in this deliberate search for national officers of our party that will help PDP achieve the lofty ideals and goals of our founding fathers.”
He also said after the meeting had adjourned, “We had a fruitful meeting and we adjourned to conclude next week.”
The party has fived October 30-31 for its national convention.
Members of the committee present at the meeting are the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, who is the Deputy Chairman; the Deputy Governor of Zamfara State, Mahdi Aliyu Mohammed, who serves as Secretary; former presidents of the Senate, Senator Iyorchia Ayu and Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, and former governors of Niger, Ekiti, Sokoto, Jigawa and Adamawa states, Dr Muazu Aliyu Babangida, Ayodele Fayose, Attahiru Bafarawa, Sule Lamido, and Boni Haruna, respectively.
Others were Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje, Kabiru Tanimu Turaki, SAN, Rt. Hon. Sunday K. E Okoye, Chief Dan Orbih, Chief (Dr) Ali Odefa, Dr Kema Chikwe, Chief Osita Chidoka, Chidi Lloyd, Senator Bassey Ewa Henshaw, Senator Emmanuel Nwaka, Engr. Donatus Udeh, among others.
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