The political fortunes of the Tinubu dynasty, today at the Senate, took a hit, as lawmakers, frustrated a bill seeking to give Lagos state a special status.
The bill sponsored by Senator Oluremi Tinubu (APC, Lagos Central). was shot down by her colleagues predominantly drawn from the north, South-east and South-south.
She had sought the consent of her colleagues to grant Lagos state a special status.
She had further pleaded that federal grants be given to Lagos state in recognition of its strategic socio-economic significance to the country.
During the debate which lasted for over an hour, tempers rose and repeated attempts by the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu to douse the tension, proved abortive.
Titled, “A bill for an act to make provisions for Federal Grants to Lagos state in recognition of its strategic socio-economic significance and other connected purposes”, the bill was read for the second time when lawmakers overwhelmingly voted against it.
The defeat of the bill was believed to have been spurred by Senator Olusola Adeyeye’s position on the issue.
Adeyeye who is the Chief Whip of the Senate, in his intervention, had accused some former northern governors who are now lawmakers of passing laws to halt the sale and consumption of alcoholic drinks.
He had also argued that such states should therefore not benefit from Value Added Taxes (VAT) paid by alcohol consumers in states like Lagos.
He equally made a case that like oil producing states, Lagos should get 13 per cent from taxes paid into the Federation Account.
“I do not even believe that one per cent is enough for Lagos state. But we have to be fair to Lagos state. We must not kill the chicken that lays the golden eggs. We have a governor here who made a law that alcohol should be banned in the state.
“But the state where such a law was made should not benefit from VAT gotten from sale of alcohol in states where it is banned. States who contribute should get 13 per cent of VAT like oil producing states,” he had argued.
While his colleagues were yet to recover from his first position, Adeyeye released another shot when he said “the FCT is a rotten pampered child.”
At this point, the chamber became rowdy, but Adeyeye continued and added that that “in Abuja, we do not pay taxes and Nigerians subsidize everything here. I am serious. In Asokoro and other places, people do not pay taxes.”
For about ten minutes, Ekweremadu tried in futility to calm angry lawmakers who were engaged in a shouting match. Ekweremadu had to break parliamentary protocol by standing up in order to restore sanity to the troubled chamber.
Meanwhile, the Senate has passed for a second reading, a bill for an act for the prohibition and protection of persons from lynching, mob action and extra-judicial executions and other related offences. The bill is sponsored by Dino Melaye from Kogi state.
After a brief debate, the bill was referred to the committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters for further consideration. The committee is expected to report back within four weeks.
By Ehisuan Odia
RipplesNigeria …without borders, without fears