LAGOS — The Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) is proposing a bill to amend the constitution that would incorporate amendments to the existing revenue sharing formula.
Governor Chibuke Amaechi, Chairman of the NGF who disclosed this in a session with journalists has also disclosed the commitment of all governors in the country to conduct local government council elections as a way of sustaining the democratic system of governance at the grassroots.
While noting ongoing anti-corruption efforts by federal anti-corruption agencies, the Rivers State Governor noted that all the efforts would amount to failure so long as federal level which controls more than half of the federation account is not brought into searchlight.
The session with Amaechi in Abuja was against the background of the fourth anniversary of his first inauguration on October 26, 2007 following the Supreme Court judgment that validated him as the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP gubernatorial candidate in the April, 2007 gubernatorial election.
Asked on the agitation for a change in the present revenue formula by some governors, he said:
“We are working with the President in that regard. Currently what we have done is that we are pursuing constitution amendment. The Governors are meeting in that regard, we have met up to some point.
“We are bound to hold a second meeting and by next week or thereabout, we should hold a second meeting to conclude on all the issues and send a bill, a private member’s bill on the amendment of the constitution to the National Assembly.”
Asked on the specifics of the proposed constitution amendment, Amaechi refused to reveal but subsequently hinted at an amendment of the revenue formula.
“What we are saying is that we have a position. We will articulate that position in the next meeting we have and then come up with an amendment bill and send to the National Assembly.”
Governor Amaechi, however, disclosed the commitment of all Nigerian Governors to ensure complete implementation of democratic system of governance at the local government level. In that direction he said that all Governors had resolved to ensure that local government council elections are held in all the states of the federation.
“At the Governors Forum we have resolved that in the next few months Governors who have not conducted local government council elections should endeavour to do that and all Governors are very willing to conduct elections. Lagos has just finished their own.”
Asked on his assessment of the anti-corruption battle being waged by federal anti-corruption agencies, Governor Amaechi speaking in metaphor said:
“So, if the EFCC is serious about fighting corruption they should focus on the 52% and once they can stop corruption in the 52%, then they have passed. Even if they stop corruption in the 26%, they have not passed .”
“For EFCC to investigate 26% they have to take transport from here (Abuja) to the state they are going to, they have to book accommodation and they have to do everything possible to look for the 26% including going to London, going to Abuja looking for the 26%.”
“Now, even taxi can take them to the 52%. They abandon the 52% completely and begin to look for the 26% that is located in Rivers State, Sokoto or Lagos or Imo. You have no need to vilify the Governors. If you are serious about corruption, eliminate corruption in 100% of the economy or if you cannot, focus on the 52% because if you succeed in the 52%, what have you done? You have passed!”
“If you make 100% of the 26%, you have still not passed your exam, it is a re-sit. That is the argument. We are helpless victims of the ruling class who have always wanted to be Governors.”