Wike urges fiscal federalism, allocation of more funds to states, local councils
Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, has canvassed fiscal federalism and allocation of more resources to states and local councils.The governor says that the country risks continual dissention if justice and equity which are twin guardians of democracy, are not made the cornerstones of Nigeria.
Wike stated this in his address to mark the 50th anniversary of the state and to celebrate his two years in office at the Obi Wali Centre, Port Harcourt.The governor said that before the state was created 50 years ago by former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, Rivers people were held in bondage and had to endure severe hardship in the default Eastern Region.
According to him, those who fought for the liberation of Rivers State did so at the risk of their lives.He stressed that there is a linkage between fiscal federalism and economic development, compared to a system of unjust concentration of resources at the centre as against the component states.
The governor noted that a federal system that expropriates Rivers’ people God-given resources and denies them the right to adequate share of what is taken from them and then leaves the people to grapple with the ecological problems is unfair.
“We deserve, as of right, to have more of our God-given oil resources to drive development in our state at our own pace and not to be constrained or held down by a skewed revenue allocation system that pays little premium to derivation and ecological factors. While we reaffirm our loyalty to the nation and commitment to its indivisibility, we know that every unjust system contains the internal contradictions that will eventually destroy it unless it corrects itself before it is too late,” he said.
Wike said his administration would make conscientious effort to diversify the economy of the state and make it stronger in the years ahead.He said he had dedicated 70 per cent of the state budget to capital projects and had blocked perceived leakages in the state finances.
He regretted that the 10 gunboats the state government donated to the Nigerian Navy to enhance maritime security around Bonny and other coastal communities have not been put to use.
The governor implored the opposition politicians in the state to collaborate with his administration to chart a new course of development and prosperity for the state in the next 50 years.