This morning, I watched a little bit of the IGR (internally generated revenue) roundtable shown by AIT. Key speakers included Governors Fashola (Lagos), Oshiomhole (Edo) and Imoke (Cross River). As usual, Gov. Oshiomhole was on the mark, arguing why it is important to “annoy” the wealthy with tax: to enable the majority enjoy the dividends of democracy; to give governors an independent voice in Nigeria; and to move Nigeria away from the mono-crop nonsense whose dangers our leaders don’t appear to see.
Watching the array of personalities invited to speak at the event, I was tempted to ask: where is the Governor of Sokoto State? According to the 2008 CBN Annual Report, Sokoto is running second to Lagos in terms of internal revenue harvest as a percentage of total revenue: While Lagos’ IGR is 63.5%, Sokoto State is 46.6%. Ogun State (again, the governor is only a discussant at the roundtable, not a key speaker), ran a distant third with 27.5%.
This statistic also makes one wonder at the oil producing states (Delta, Rivers, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Ondo, etc). With all the money that passes into the hands of corporate and private individuals in their states, why are they not in the forefront of the war to garner internal revenue.
Answer: Their governors are more interested in having their eyes firmly fixed on Abuja, where the national cake is shared each month.