Mr. Nyesom Wike has made Nigerian political system to have a new dimension. He has dragged the Federal Government before the Supreme Court over the sole issue of Valued Added Tax which he said Rivers State Government would now be collecting. The question that readily comes to one's mind is "can Wike really defeat federal government over the VAT issue?
The Federal Government has been collecting taxes from all the states of the federation for several years and the money generated would be shared among the federal government, the thirty six states governments and the 774 local government areas. This system has enabled the less viable states to cope financially.
Since the issue has come up, a number of northern elders and governors have reacted to the unilateral decision of Wike to receive Valued Added Tax and spend the money on the Rivers State people. The governors including Inuwa Yahaya from Gombe State and Yahaya Bello of Kogi State have called on Nyesom Wike and Rivers State Government to stop the plan.
It should be noted that the Wike's decision would seriously disrupt the less viable economy of most of the northern states who rely solely on the monthly allocations from the federal government. Hence, the governors of northern states would back the federal government.
Secondly, the matter would even be seen from political angle. The northern region is dominated by the All Progressives Congress. Fourteen out of nineteen states are under the APC. And the states being controlled by the party generates little or no revenue. Whereas Mr Nyesom Wike is from the People's Democratic Party.
Wike's decision to collect VAT for the state government would be seen as another avenue to work against the federal government under President Muhammadu Buhari who is also from north. Hence, the governors and most of the northern leaders would want to join the federal government to fight Nyesom Wike and the Rivers State Government. Then, can Wike really defeat federal government over the issue of VAT?
Furthermore, a Court of Appeal had ruled that status quo should be maintained over the matter. The court didn't give much judgement and it remains vague what the appellate court means by status quo be maintained. Nevertheless, the court would have to consider the fact that the step taken by Nyesom Wike would adversely affect several states and the federal government which isn't buoyant at this moment.
Now that the matter has been taken to the Supreme Court, it should be known that the apex court often agrees with the appellate court in many matters. Therefore, Wike may meet the same thing that court of appeal said.
Lastly, Wike's tenure would soon be over. Simply put, he doesn't have time to lead the state like that compared to Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who is in his first term as Lagos State governor. Sanwo-Olu is also insisting on collection of VAT for Lagos State. Of course, if Wike leaves power, another person would come in. But can Wike really defeat the FG before he leaves power?
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