Delta State Governor, Sen. Ifeanyi Okowa, on Thursday, June 3, advocated devolution of powers to states and local government councils to stop overburdening the Federal Government with too many responsibilities.
Okowa made the call when he received House of Representatives Sub-Committee on review of the 1999 Constitution led by Deputy Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Ahmed Wase, at Government House, Asaba.
According to him, the Federal Government is overburdened with many responsibilities in the exclusive list, making it encumbered and inefficient.
He stated that states and local governments were closer to the people and required more funds to execute life-changing projects that would be beneficial to the people.
He noted that there’s a need for devolution of power. We believe that the exclusive list is too burdensome for the Federal government to handle.
He also said that the sub-national governments are closer to their people and in the best position to reach out to the needs of the people. So, we think that there’s a need to look at the exclusive list and to make adjustments, which will devolve more powers to the state.
“This will also follow a re-allocation of resources in order to make the sub-national government to be more impactful than they are at the moment.
Okowa called for amendment of Section 162 on public revenue, fiscal federalism and revenue allocations, adding that there was need to look at that aspect very closely.
He said that there hadn’t been any review since 1999 even when the Constitution provided for a review every five years.
He noted that in the past several years, that include all administrations from 1999 to date, we have not had a review of the revenue allocation formula. It ought not to be so, because that is not what the law provides for.
He said at no time has the National Assembly had the opportunity of debating such proposals. So to say that, we think that that section giving part to lay their proposal to the president first should be amended.
“Let the revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission make their proposals directly to the National Assembly. If you lay something before me and I am not convinced as a person that it will favour me in the National Assembly, I will not lay it before them.
“For justice and fairness, the revenue allocation commission should lay its proposal directly to the National Assembly,” he stated.