• Thursday, July 25, 2024
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2023: APC promises states greater control over taxes, prisons, others

2023: APC promises states greater control over taxes, prisons, others

Greater control over stamp duties and certain forms of taxation, crime prevention, and prisons, among others, will be given to state governments, if Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the All Progressive (APC), wins next year’s presidential election, according to the party’s manifesto.

Tinubu, in his 80-page policy document titled ‘Renewed Hope 2023 – Action Plan for a Better Nigeria’, promised federalism and decentralisation.

He said that since the nation’s inception, too much power and resources have been lodged at the federal level at the expense of state and local governance.

According to the manifesto, this is problematic because state governments are closer to the people and must be more responsive to local needs and aspirations.

The document said: “A Tinubu administration will rebalance the responsibilities and authorities of the different tiers of government.

“We will collaborate with the National Assembly and state governments to amend our national governance architecture such that states are afforded the autonomy and resources needed to better serve the people.

“Review the Constitutional legislative lists to ensure that States are given greater control over certain critical matters. Focus areas will include, crime prevention, prisons, stamp duties and certain forms of taxation.”

It said to achieve these objectives, the government of Tinubu and his running mate, Kashim Shettima, will pursue the review of the constitutional legislative lists
to ensure that states are given greater control over certain critical matters.

The manifesto said the next APC administration intends to “embark on a review of the federation revenue allocation system to recalibrate the division of funds amongst the three tiers of government: federal, state and local.

“More funds should be allocated to the states and local governments so that they can better address local concerns and fulfill their expanded constitutional obligations to the people.

“This promotes stronger governance at the state and local level, thus reducing political congestion and competition for resources at the federal level. The performance of federal, state and local governments shall improve while the people will benefit by having more political democracy and economic development more closely at hand.”

Christian Okeke, a lecturer in the department of political science at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, expressed reservations that this could be campaign promises that may not be fulfilled.

Okeke said: “It is unfortunate that the political class chooses to base their campaigns on unfulfilled promises. This is sad for our country and her democracy. I do not believe that a Tinubu administration will pursue federalism, decentralisation and a more balanced democracy as he is promising now.

Read also: In repudiation of Buhari’s policy, Tinubu to abolish petrol subsidy, deregulate sector

“Politicians actually recruit people to write these things for them. They themselves don’t even believe in what the employees have written. Otherwise, is Tinubu not aware that his party promised true federalism for Nigeria? It went ahead to set up committees on this. It is almost eight years and the party is yet to fulfill what it promised and will not even.

“Can Tinubu tell his party and the electorate what he is going to do differently in specific terms? Can he really step on the toes of his partymen who never wanted true federalism?
To me, it is a shame that a party can campaign with failures. The party should rather apologize for the unfulfilled promises and borrow a leaf from what happened in the United Kingdom recently.”

Tinubu’s promise of federalism and decentralisation of power is coming despite the failure of his party to implement the report of its Committee on Restructuring/True Federalism headed by Governor Nasir el-Rufai.

The committee had submitted its report to the APC leadership since January 25, 2018 but the party appeared not have put any mechanism in place to implement or transmit same to the National which has already embarked on another Constitutional review exercise.

The report made key recommendations concerning resource control, making local government an affair of states, constitutional amendment to allow merger of states, state police, state court of appeal and independent candidacy.

El-Rufai, while presenting the report, had said: “We articulated only 13 issues from the various opinions expressed by Nigerians in our engagement, identified these 24 issues for which the committee deliberated and has made recommendations in the report.

“We went ahead to look at these recommendations to convert them into concrete actions that the party, government and the National Assembly can take to re-balance our federation.”

The 13 items articulated by the committee include the merger of states, delegation principle, fiscal federalism, devolution of power, food and drugs, fingerprint identification of criminals, registration of business names, mines and minerals, and revenue allocation.