Restructuring: No state can have 100 percent control of its resources – El-Rufai

Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Committee on True Federalism, Governor Nasir El-Rufai, said Wednesday that demanding equal states for all the geopolitical zones  is  injustice to others because it will amount to trying to make “the unequal equal”

The governor also said that it will be difficult for states agitating for resource control to achieve 100 per cent control of resources in their states.

To him, because states without oil are more, those with oil might not get the required vote in the National Assembly for their wish.

The governor who spoke at an interactive session with Nigerian Youths in Abuja also said he was prepared to open the books for those willing to audit his security votes.

According to him, his security vote is being controlled by the Secretary to the State Government.

The governor who was responding to questions and suggestions raised by some of the youths said rather that make suggestions that will not stand the test of time, the youths should find a way of engaging the process after learning from history.

He said: There is absolutely no way in the Nigeria of today that a state that has oil will have 100 per cent of the revenue. That is not possible because to get that document through, you have to pass it through the National Assembly and in the National Assembly, there are more states that have no oil than those that have oil and so, they will vote it down.

“So, you better start proposing something that works for the entire country and not just you. Otherwise, it will not help. The greatest injustice you can do is to try to make the unequal equal or the equal unequal.

“You cannot come here and say we should create nine states in each zone. Nigeria is not equal in terms of land mass, population, resources etc. so, you can’t do that. It is injustice trying to make the unequal equal because there is nowhere in the world.”

He said those agitating for the scrapping of the Senate should realize that no member of the senate will vote to scrap the chamber, saying “Whatever you learn with some knowledge of history is incomplete. Unfortunately, in this country, history is not a subject in our schools. We started with a parliamentary system of government with the Queen as our leader, then, we became a Republic in 1963. You should not trace history without learning from the mistakes of the past or make recommendations without some sense of history.

“When you make “recommendation that you want to abolish the senate, you should know that the senate cannot be abolished unless the Senate votes to abolish the senate. Who is going to vote to make himself unemployed?

“We have a political process and so, we are not over throwing the government and starting afresh. So, we have to work with what we have in a sensible and pragmatic manner and reform what need to be reformed.

“When you say create states on the one hand and on the other hand you say cost of governance is too high, you are contradicting yourself. For every state you create, you are adding to the budget of the country. So, you cannot be saying that the cost of governance is too high and yet ask for more states.

“We must think for once what will be of interest to the country. We must think of what will be of interest to Nigeria because what will work in one part of the country may not work in another. If we don’t think first of what is of interest to all of us before the individuals, we will only have series of conflicting argument without consensus.

Speaking on security vote and its legality, the governor said there were a lot of misconception about security votes, saying security votes was not unconstitutional.

He said “Go and read your constitution. The state House of Assembly has the power to appropriate anything and security vote is a line charge in the budget and so. It is not illegal. But it is how it is used is the issue.

“I know of a former governor who used to collect N1.5 billion in cash as security votes and come to Abuja. It has been subject of abuse and that is not how it should be. The idea of security vote is for the governor to have discretionary funds to deal with emergency situations because you don’t know when you will have security challenges and you need money to be able to respond to these challenges.

“Sometimes, you need money to pay for information and sometimes, you can’t imagine the type of people you pay as informant because armed robbers patronize a lot of places and you need to know what they are planning next. Another use of security vote is to support security agents in the states.”

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