Governor Nyesom Wike has explained why Rivers State is in court to challenge the Federal Government over Value Added Tax, VAT.
Wike alleged that the Federal Government was struggling to make revenue collected through VAT an exclusive preserve of the administration at the centre.
The Governor suggested the central government in Abuja was planning to hijack the constitutional rights and powers of states and stifle their sources of internal revenue generation.
He said the Rivers State Government was concerned about the situation, saying it was for that reason his government approached the courts.
“The Federal Inland Revenue wrote a letter to the National Assembly to amend the constitution to make VAT to be in the exclusive list.
“So, we intercepted that letter and brought it to court because they know that under the law, it is not within their powers to collect these taxes.
“In order to solve the problem, they wrote a letter to the National Assembly to amend the constitution to make them have the exclusive right. If they were right, they wouldn’t have done that”, Wike said in a television interview.
Wike who has had his back to the wall in the past few weeks said there were times he thought the PDP would implode.
“I use to be afraid of possibility of an implosion and that could have been the end of the party.
“What I saw on Monday”, Wike who lost out in the boardroom emphasised, “gave me a lot of confidence for the first time.”
“I have never seen that happen, the way the Governors came together and spoke in a convivial manner with no dissenting view. I was impressed”, Wike declared.
It was perhaps, an attempt by the Rivers Governor to convert negative energy into positive force; and a deft move on his part, to step into the waiting arms of his colleagues.
There is however no doubt the PDP Governors have been more even – handed in their approach towards dousing tension within the party.
He denied nursing serious animosity against the National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus.
The Rivers Governor stressed that developments within the party, rather than personal issues, influenced his action.
Apparently speaking of his personal relationship with Secondus and the role he played in his emergence as National Chairman, Wike remarked:
“Everybody believed that whatever the national chairman was doing was dictated by Wike and must have the backing of Wike.
“When you support somebody, support him to succeed…when things are also going wrong, if you don’t speak out, people will believe you are part of it.
“I owe it as a duty to say things are not going right”, Wike stated, reiterating there was nothing between Secondus and himself.
Wike observed that the way PDP Governors and Board of Trustee members resolved the crisis has deepened the faith of the Nigerian people in the ability of the PDP to capture power.
The Governor noted that it was not uncommon for a party to experience internal squabble in view of differing interests and the forthcoming poll in 2023.
He urged the PDP to be wary of agents of the All Progressives Congress (APC), whom he alleged, were bent on causing sharp divisions within the party.
He added that he was unaware of the purported ambition of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to contest the presidency. As he put it, the party is yet to engage in zoning.
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