Against the backdrop of the legal tussle over Value Added Tax collection, the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, has said the state has no intention to fight the Federal Government.
Wike said this during a public lecture on ‘Taxing powers in a federal system’, held on Saturday to mark the 60th birthday of a lawyer, Ahmed Raji (SAN).
The governor, who was represented by Rivers State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Zacchaeus Adangor (SAN), said, “I have heard a lot of comments been made that we are fighting Federal Government; there is no desire or any intention of the Rivers state government to fight the Federal Government. But you must remember that in a federal system, the states are not house boys of the Federal Government.
“The principle of co-equality is fundamental to the federal arrangement; that principle leads to the principle of autonomy, autonomy leads you to physical autonomy and physical autonomy leads you to physical federalism.”
According to him, the federal or state governments are co-equal because none derives its life from the other.
Wike said, “They both derive their life from the constitution because they have co-equality and every level of government is entitled to have access to sufficient revenue so that they can carry out its own responsibility without subordinating its will to that of a superior authority.
“That is the fundamental aspect of fiscal federalism and until we get it, we will continue this journey of talking and talking without result. But I think that the court has a role to play; the court can lay this crisis and controversy to rest when it makes a pronouncement.”
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