The Governors in the Southern region of Nigeria reiterated that the 2023 presidency should be zoned to the southern region in line with the politics of equity, justice and fairness.
The Governors also showed support of State governments to begin the collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) as opposed the continuous collection of VAT by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
The Governors of the Southern region made their decisions known on Thursday after a meeting by the Forum which was held at the Lion Building, Government House Enugu and disclosed by the Chairman of the Forum who is also the Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, in a communique issued at the end of the meeting.
According to Akeredolu, the governor also reaffirmed their commitment to fiscal federalism, stressing the need for the southern states to pursue its inclusion in the Nigerian Constitution, through the ongoing constitutional amendment.
They therefore advised the states to leverage the legislative competence of their respective State Houses of Assembly, as well as their representatives in the National Assembly in order to achieve this.
While speaking on the 2023 presidential election, the governors insisted that the next Nigerian leader must come from the southern region.
The Governors commended the rate at which members were enacting the law banning open grazing of cattle in line with the uniform template and called on others states yet to do so, to follow suit.
They also commended the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) for handling issues around the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) and ownership of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and called for the total functioning of the agreed regional security outfits to ensure the security of lives and properties of the people in the region.
The statement of the Governors after the meeting partly read: “The Nigerian Southern Governors Forum at its meeting of today, Thursday, 16tm September 2021 held in the Government House, Enugu, Enugu State reviewed the state of the nation and the progress of implementation of the decisions reached in her previous meetings and further resolved as follows:
“Expressed satisfaction with the rate at which the states in Southern Nigeria are enacting or amending the Anti-Open Grazing Laws which align with the uniform template and aspiration of Southern Governors and encouraged the States that are yet to enact this law to do so expeditiously.
“Encouraged the full operationalization of already agreed regional security outfits, which would meet, share intelligence and collaborate, to ensure the security and safety of the region.
“Reaffirmed its earlier commitment to fiscal federalism as resolved at the inaugural meeting of the Forum held on Tuesday, 11 May 2021 at Asaba, Delta State and emphasized the need for the Southern States to leverage the legislative competence of their respective State Houses of Assembly as well as representation in the National assembly to pursue its inclusion in the Nigerian Constitution through the ongoing constitutional amendment.
“Following from paragraph 3 above, the meeting resolved to support the position that the collection of VAT falls within the powers of the States.
“Expressed satisfaction with the handling of issues around the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) and ownership of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) by the larger Nigerian Governors Forum.
“Reiterated their earlier position that the next President of Nigeria must come from the Southern part of Nigerian line with politics of equity, justice, and fairness.
“The Forum thanked the host Governor, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, and chose Rivers State as the next host for the Southern Governors’ Forum meeting in November 2021.”