A legal luminary has advocated for a 13 per cent derivation for Lagos State on the revenue accrued to Federal Government from ports situated in Lagos State, adding that provision of such benefit would better develop the State.
Professor itse Sagay (SAN) gave the charge while speaking as a guest lecturer at a special parliamentary session to mark the 1st anniversary of the present Lagos State House of Assembly at Alausa, Lagos recently.
Sagay stated that since there are states that get 13 percent derivation from oil revenue, the current practice where federal government collects total revenue from states that own ports should be discarded. He said in a federal system of government, Lagos State should control the Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports, and that even if they are controlled by the Federal Government, the state should get 13% derivation.
He also identified the leadership role played by the state on the move by the federal government to collect tax on properties, saying it was Lagos State that went to court to challenge the decision which it won.
He pointed out that the current political imbalances in the Nigerian federalism have been responsible for various problems plaguing the country, adding that the military regime had bastardized the constitution by foisting a unitary system of government on the country.
“Nigeria has deviated from an ideal federalism because of over-centralization of power. It is wrong to centralise institutions such as Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), Nigeria Police Council, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and others. Chief Obafemi Awolowo was right to have said that Nigeria is not a nation, but that it is a mere geographical expression.
“There should be respect for nationalities and the basis of our association should be explained. Under the regional government, the region keeps 50% of its resources, gives 20% to the central government and the remaining 30% is sent to the pool, which would be shared by the state,” he said.
According to him, each region had its own coat of arms, constitution and motto, but that the independence and autonomy of the regions were destroyed by the military in 1966.
Sagay stated that the arrogation of power to the central government got to the peak during the era of the late General Sanni Abacha as head of state.
He submitted that Nigeria is the only federal republic without a state police, and that apart from states, local governments and even schools should have their own police.
The lawyer berated the states in Nigeria for what he termed over-dependence on federal government, while stressing that the unitary system of government being operated in Nigeria is stifling the states.