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The Northern States Governors’ Forum (NSGF) has rejected calls by its southern counterpart that the presidency should return to the south by 2023.

They claimed that such call was against the spirit and letter of the 1999 Constitution.

The northern governors reached the decision at its emergency meeting held in Kaduna on Monday.

The forum also described as sub-judice to act on the controversial Value Added Tax (VAT) while the case between Rivers State and the Federal Government is before the Supreme Court.

Presenting the resolutions of the meeting, Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, said although some governors from the north had earlier expressed views on power shift to three geopolitical zones in the South with a view to promoting unity and peace in the nation, the demand made by the southern governors forum was not acceptable.

He said notwithstanding their comments, the forum unanimously condemns the statement by the Southern Governors Forum that the presidency must go to the South.

According to the forum, the statement by their southern counterpart is contradictory with the provision of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) as amended that the elected president shall score the majority votes; score at least 25% of the votes cast in 2/3 states of the federation. In the case of run-up, a simple majority wins the election.

On open grazing, it called on the Federal Government to expedite action on the National Livestock Transformation Programme.

Commenting on the security situation of the region, the forum observed the need for a sustained synergy and coordinated efforts between the Federal and Northern States Governments.

The meeting also noted with concern the constraint of the security services and urged the Armed Forces to embark on simultaneous operations.

The forum appreciated the ongoing onslaught against banditry, kidnapping and Boko Haram especially in the North East and parts of North West and the North Central States and encouraged the Armed forces and other security agencies to sustain the tempo to enable the security challenges to be permanently addressed in the shortest time.

The forum also considered the ongoing debate on the collection of Value Added Tax (VAT), even though it opined that the matter was subjudice.

“The judgement of the Federal High Court calls to question the constitutionality of VAT, withholding tax, education tax, Niger Delta Development Commission, National Information Technology Development Agency, 13% derivation, National Economic Development Council and many others currently levied and collected by the Federal Government of Nigeria, Federal Inland Revenue Service,” he said.

The forum noted that the reason Lagos accounts for our 50% Vat collection was because most of the telecommunication companies, banks, manufacturing and other trading activities have their headquarters in Lagos with the resultant and wrongful attribution of VAT.

“Thus, the forum said until and unless the Supreme Court pronounces judgement on the substantive matter between Rivers State and Federal Government, the matter is sub judice and Northern States Governors Forum would respect this,” the resolution read.

“On grazing, the forum also calls on the Federal Government to expedite action on the well-established National Livestock Transformation Programme as a springboard in transiting from the open-grazing system as widely practised in the North.”

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