Prominent Nigerians have continued to react to the landmark judgment delivered by a Federal High Court, following the Value Added Tax (VAT) suit instituted by Rivers State Government.
The Court ruled that it is the Rivers State Government and not the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), that was entitled to collect value added tax in the state.
It will be recalled that immediately after the judgment, the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike-led administration enacted a law promptly in that regard, pursuant to the timely interpretation of the constitution by the court of competent jurisdiction.
A Port Harcourt-based lawyer, Anthony Amachree said “It is my view that if Nigeria is a Federal Republic, it ought to be operated as such. There should be strict adherence to the rule of law; the constitution and nothing else should guide actions of the government at all levels. To me, these are the things Fovernor Wike stands for”.
“It is the governor’s drive to enthrone proper democracy, by ensuring that the country is restructured that warranted the lawsuit which gave birth to the landmark judgment that is on the lips of thousands of Nigerians today, and if maintained at the final point of litigation, it will significantly extricate the federating units from the current skewed feeding-bottle federal system that is a shackle on the ankles of the progress of this country”.
It will be recalled that this is not the first time Governor Wike is correcting the federal government through the courts and other relevant institutions, in the face of flagrant violation of the constitution and brazen disregard of the rule of law as it concerns states. He has always exhibited excellent leadership when it is needed in the country despite being only the governor of a state.
In May 2020, the Rivers State Government dragged the Federal Government to court over illegal deductions of states’ monthly allocations unilaterally to fund the police that is on the exclusive list. Whilst some state governors were grumbling in their closets, the governor of Rivers State boldly challenged the illegality that would have set a bad precedent.
When the former Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, attempted to give himself powers he lacks, by illegally setting up panel of enquiry over what happened in a state, something only governors are allowed by the constitution to do. It was Governor Nyesom Wike who also secured a court judgment to rectify the anomaly.
If each of the six geopolitical zones has at least one governor who is bold, courageous, smart and informed like Governor Nyesom Wike, the hands of the federal government would be forced to give Nigerians the country they desire and truly deserve.
A politician, Sekibo Ogan said, “I call on the state governors to work together to enhance a better Nigeria, devoid of ethnic sentiments and political differences”.