Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta has called on the international community to partner the Federal Government to enthrone credibility and integrity in its electoral process, saying Nigeria is too strategic for its challenges to be ignored.
Okowa made the call on Tuesday when he received the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, at Government House, Asaba.
He said that Nigerians were desirous for free and credible elections in 2023 and beyond, and urged the global community to lend its support as the country was important enough not to be allowed to be in crisis.
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“The international community has a lot of role to play; we know that they are not going to be directly involved in the electioneering process but we also believe that in whatever way and manner they are able to have strong voice towards ensuring a credible process in the electioneering that will take place in 2023, the better for us.
“Nigeria is too important a nation to go into crisis and we know that any crisis in Nigeria will impact very negatively in our world today.
“To that extent, I believe that the global community has to have their eyes on Nigeria. Wherever they need to offer support to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), they should not hesitate to do so.
“Whatever they have to do through diplomacy also to truly help in partnership with the Federal Government to drive credible elections in 2023, we will appreciate it because a credible election in 2023 will obviously strengthen us as a people and as a nation,” he said.
The governor stated that the state government has a working relationship with the British High Commission and assured that the state would remain committed to nurturing the relationship for the mutual benefits of both countries.
He identified unemployment as one of the factors responsible for insecurity in the country, but disclosed that his administration had invested heavily in entrepreneurship programmes for youths, women and the girl-child in the state.
On Value Added Tax (VAT), Okowa said that it was still a subject in the courts, but declared that “the real truth is that it is a consumption tax and everybody knows that it belongs to states’’.
“There could be a collaboration with the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) – between them and the states directly – to fine-tune the best way of doing the collection but the first thing is that it is a consumption tax and it ought to be at the level of the states.”
On the call for restructuring, the governor said that a lot of voices had been speaking on the subject and called for a roundtable on the way forward for the country.