Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has warned that Nigeria’s political and economic declines are signs of imminent crises.Wike raised the alarm yesterday at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House), London, in a paper titled: “Defining development for Rivers State and steps to sustainable implementation.”
He criticized the revenue sharing formula, which he said, allows the Federal Government to receive 53 per cent of the national revenue.He added that the situation, which makes the 36 states to share a meager 22 per cent, was outrageous and the reason developments have been difficult in the country.
Wike urged the international community to prevail on the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government to uphold the rule of law in the country.
He also urged the Federal Government to guarantee the integrity of the electoral system, as well as the socio-economic justice to all parts of the country.
Wike said the call became necessary to save the country from imminent collapse, adding: “Facts cannot be disputed that states bear the greater development burden than the Federal Government.”He explained that under the existing revenue allocation regime, the Federal Government alone retains 53 per cent of the national revenue and allocates only 22 per cent to the entire 36 states.
“Obviously, when 22 per cent of the national revenue is shared among the 36 states, what comes to each unit is not more than 0.6 per cent on the average per year. This, by any stretch of imagination, is incapable of funding serious developmental programmes in any state,” he said.
Wike lamented that even the Ogoni cleanup has been politicized by the Federal Government. He blamed key national institutions like the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the police for the rigging of the last re-run elections in the state.
“The Federal Government has continued to marginalize Rivers in the provision of projects. For instance, it has not undertaken any new project in the state in the last two decades. Even the existing ones, such as the Port Harcourt international Airport, the two seaports and the East-West highway have severely degenerated for years without attention.”
The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Paul Awkright, urged Wike to continue to work for the improvement of security in the state to earn foreign direct investments.
A former British High Commissioner to Nigeria from 2004-2007), Sir Richard Gozney, stressed the importance of the state in the country’s development and regional affairs.
Former Rivers State Governor, Celestine Omehia, senators Osinakachukwu Ideozu and George Thompson Sekibo, Ken Chikere, Boma Goodhead, Betty Apiafi and a former Minister of Sports, Dr. Tammy Danagogo attended the event.
Others were a former Minister of Transport, Dr. Abiye Sekibo, Senator Olaka Nwogu, Commissioner of Information, Emma Okah, a former Commissioner of Transport, Glory Emeh and Ambassador Desmond Akawor. The Guardian