The governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have condemned the way top government agencies like the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) have been managed under President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
The governors, under the aegis of the PDP Governors’ Forum, said the agencies have been run with complete disregard to true federalism and against the interest of the Nigerian people.
They also mentioned others like the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), Federal Inland Revenue Services, the Nigerian Customs Service.
These are the agencies that bring in huge revenue to the Nigerian government.
The governors said NNPC’s operations, for instance, have been so “opaque”.
The PDP governors made their position known in a communique issued on Monday after their meeting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
According to the communique, the governors “decried the recent NNPC’s decision not to make its statutory contributions to the Federation Account, thereby starving the States and Local Governments and indeed Nigerians of funds needed for employment, development and general wellbeing”.
NNPC, the governors said, is bound by the Nigerian Constitution to pay the proceeds of sale of petroleum into the Federation Account for onward sharing to the three tiers of government.
They said the NNPC rather prefers to use its discretion to decide “how much to spend, how to spend it and how much to remit to the Federation Account, contrary to the letters and even the spirit of the 1999 Constitution.”
The PDP governors described the operations of NNPC and other agencies as “ugly trends” that should be reversed in “our practice of democracy, constitutionalism and federalism.”
The NNPC, NPA, NIMASA, NCC and others government agencies required by the constitution to contribute money into the Federation Account should endeavour to do so, the governors said.
The governors said, “The federating States should, going forward now have a say in the determination of operating costs to ensure transparency and accountability (in these agencies).”
CBN now a leviathan, Father Christmas
The PDP governors also criticised the way the Central Bank of Nigeria has been run, describing the apex bank as acting like “an independent government within a government”.
“A situation where CBN creates money, decides how much of it to spend, on what to spend it on without any form of controls or supervision is patently subversive of our constitutional order.
“It has become not just a leviathan, but also a father Christmas of sorts, dabbling into every sphere and scope of governmental activity, not just as a lender of last resort, but as a full executing agency of government.
“The meeting observed that the CBN has become such an octopus that it threatens state governments publicly, without decorum, about sanctions on any attempt to question its modus operandi,” the governors said, while also calling on the bank to take immediate steps to halt the depreciation of the naira.
The Uyo meeting was attended by Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, who is the chairman of the forum, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, who is the vice chairman, and Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State who hosted the meeting.
Douye Diri, Bayelsa; Samuel Ortom, Benue; Ifeanyi Okowa, Delta; Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Enugu; Nyesom Wike, Rivers, and Oluseyi Makinde of Oyo State also attended the meeting.
Others were Ahmadu Fintiri, Adamawa; Godwin Obaseki, Edo; Bala Mohammed, Bauchi; Darius Ishaku, Taraba; and Mahdi Mohammed, the Deputy Governor of Zamfara State.