A renowned human right and pro-democracy activist, Comrade Razaq Olokoba, Olokoba has thrown his weight behind the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu on the call for a special status for the state, saying, doing so has even been long overdue.
Olokoba bared his mind on the issue Wednesday in Lagos while commenting on the governor’s demand for special status for the state at the just concluded 2-day public Hearing on Review of Revenue Allocation Formula by the Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) hosted by the state between Monday October 4 and Tuesday October 5.
Olokoba, who mobilised over 50 human right organizations and pro-democracy groups to the venue of the event at the Lagos Continental Hotel, Victoria Island was speaking on the governor’s demand for a new revenue sharing formula that is fair, equitable and reflects the contribution of stakeholders to the common purse, reminding of the state’s huge financial obligations to the national coffers.
Olokoba, who is the National Convener, Campaign for Dignity in Governance (CDG), supported the governor his quest for a revenue formula that would enhance the capacity to deliver high-quality services and dividends of democracy to Nigerians particularly Lagos that serves as a second home to all Nigerians, insisting it is only fair for the state to get what would assist it to bear the heavy burden on its own.
He could not agree less with Sanwo-Olu who was quoted to have said that, “The call for a special status for Lagos is not a selfish proposition; it is in the best interest of the country and all Nigerians, for Lagos which accounts for about 20 per cent of the national GDP and about 10 per cent of the nation’s population to continue to prosper. Lagos is more than just another state in the Nigerian federation as there is no tribe in the country that has no significant stake in the state.”
The youthful activist added that, Lagos being the former capital city of the country deserves a special status after the capital has been moved to Abuja, reminding that, “even then, the state still remains the economic capital of the nation.”
His word: “Lagos State is the country’s economic capital. So, it would be a disservice to abandon a state that is responsible for the larger chunk of the country’s earnings in form of the Value Added Tax (VAT). Therefore, it is taken that; special consideration for a state that performs such a feat should be compensated and honoured with a special status with special grant and commensurable revenue allocation.
“Granting Lagos a special status would safeguard the numerous Federal infrastructures in the state from going bad. It would also serve as morale booster for the residents to pay their taxes, dues and levies with enthusiasm. There should be a sort of givgivingck from the federal government to Lagos State in form of special status. In other countries where their capitals are relocated, the former capitals are not neglected or abandoned but treated with special consideration.”
The public hearing was attended by representatives from all the six states from the south-west geo-political zones of the country