Rivers State Governor, Mr Nyesom Wike, says there is an urgent need for the international community to save Nigeria’s democracy from imminent collapse.
The governor expects the international community to achieve that goal by mounting pressure on the Federal Government to uphold the rule of law and guarantee the integrity of the electoral system, a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Electronic Media, Simeon Nwakaudu, said.
Wike spoke about the country’s democracy on Monday at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House), London while delivering a lecture on the topic, ‘Defining Development for Rivers State and Steps to Sustainable Implementation’.
“There is need for the international community to save the country and its democracy from avoidable crisis by putting sufficient pressures on the Federal Government to uphold the rule of law, guarantee the integrity of the electoral system and do socio-economic justice to all segments of the Nigerian society,” her said.
The governor alleged that key national institutions such as the Independent National Electoral Commission and the Nigerian Police Force had been politicised.
He accused both of helping to rig the rerun election in River State, insisting that their actions “was not only an affront to democracy, such acts constitute a serious invitation to chaos with destructive consequences of unknown dimensions”.
Wike also criticised the country’s revenue sharing formula, arguing that a situation were the the Federal Government gets 53 percent of national revenue, while the 36 states share a meagre 22 percent has made it difficult for the states to develop.
He said, “The fact cannot be disputed that states bear greater development burden than the Federal Government. However, under the flawed revenue allocation regime, the Federal Government alone retains 53 percent of national revenue and allocates only 22 percent to the entire 36 States of the federation.
“Obviously, when 22 percent of national revenue is disaggregated among 36 states, what comes to each state is not more than 0.6 per cent on the average per annum, which by any stretch of imagination is incapable of funding serious developmental programmes for any State”.
Continuing, the governor explained that despite generating a huge percentage of the nation’s resources, Rivers State had suffered untold neglect and deprivation by the Federal Government over the years.
He said, “As an integral part of the country Rivers State is entitled to development support from the Federal Government through the direct provision of projects and programmes in the state.
“This is even more so considering the state’s enormous contributions to the national revenue bowl. Unfortunately, this is not the case as the Federal Government continues to neglect and marginalise the State in the provision of development projects.
“For instance, the Federal Government has not undertaken any new development project in the state for the last two decades. Even the existing ones, such as the Port Harcourt International Airport, the two seaports and the East-West highway have severely degenerated without attention for years.
“These are important economic projects that needed to function maximally to drive the socio-economic development of the State, yet the Federal Government continues to turn a blind eye to them with impunity.”