Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, has appealed to the Supreme Court of Nigeria to grant accelerated hearing to the case before it on the collection and distribution of Value Added Taxes (VAT) generated from the state by the Federal Government.
The Governor made the appeal at the match pass and parade in commemoration of the 62nd independence of Nigeria at the Sharks Football Stadium in Port Harcourt on Saturday.
He explained that such urgency and eventual ruling of the case in favour of the State will further add more financial resources that will accelerate the economic growth of Rivers State.
He said: “We have also not given up in our determination to right the injustice associated with the collection and distribution of Value-Added Taxes generated from the State by the Federal Government just as we again call on the Supreme Court to please, treat this matter with the urgency that it requires.”
He pointed out since 1999 that the country returned to democracy, it has continued to witness deliberate constitutional distortions, institutional weaknesses and widespread corruption that have prevented Nigerians from enjoying a robust democratic practice.
He listed the absence of a free and fair elections, the rule of law and social justice as part of experiences that have refused to take root in Nigeria.
Wike said: “This is not to say that Nigeria has not made any progress as a nation. Certainly, we have achieved some visible developmental strides and economic progress as Africa’s largest economy.
“The fact that we have remained together despite the recurrent conflicts and crisis of confidence is also worth celebrating as an achievement.
“But, after 62 years, Nigeria deserves more than what it has achieved and Nigerians likewise deserve much more than what their leaders have delivered to them with the country’s enormous natural and human resources.”
The Governor bemoaned the inability of the All Progressives Congress (APC) led federal government, over the last seven years, to keep the economic and social conditions within Nigeria from deteriorating.
He added: “Life is sacrosanct, but the present federal government has failed in the most basic duty to the nation to protect the lives and property of its citizens.
Under their watch, infrastructure across all sectors, including roads, education and healthcare has collapsed. Tertiary education has remained comatose for over seven months and with no employment opportunities, the federal government continues to toy with the future of the youths.”
Wike decried the situation where healthcare delivery is a nightmare across the country with ordinary citizens unable to access necessary medical services, basic diagnostics and medications at affordable rates in public hospitals.
He noted the spiralling crime and physical violence that are almost out of control across the country with the schools, churches and mosques no longer serving as safe places anymore.
“And with compulsive corruption, insecurity, low export earnings, protracted forex crisis and an economy so close to bankruptcy the untold suffering and hopeless future among Nigerians will continue if something is not done to improve the quality of political leadership in our country,” he stressed.
The Governor, however, stated that things can be better if there is the right political leadership in place that has the courage, decisive and purposeful in driving the country on a new path saying; “let’s not forget that before the present deplorable state of affairs, we experienced significant economic growth, relative prosperity, a stable educational system and a relatively better quality of life for our people, under the Peoples Democratic Party.
“This showed that Nigeria’s current economic, social and security situation can rapidly be resolved with new leadership that is courageous, decisive, purposeful and able to take the country in a new direction that would curb corruption, stop unsustainable debts, and drive economic growth to create jobs and prosperity for all citizens.”
Governor Wike insisted that there is a need to have a new government that cares about the unity of the country and the well-being of its citizens.
Such government, he said, should be one that is religiously committed to changing the present circumstances of the people and making life more meaningful for everyone.