Ado Ekiti — GOVERNOR Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, has challenged the Federal Government to enthrone the same system of accountability in the distribution of federal revenue, in its collection.
He claimed that no one governor in the country knows the exact amount of money collected into the Federation Account.
Governor Fayemi in an interview, weekend, said though governors were not saints, the present set of governors had proved themselves to be far better than their predecessors.
Governor Fayemi also cited development statistics showing that Ekiti State had the highest life expectancy, the lowest HIV prevalence rate and the lowest maternal mortality rate in the country to show the development strides achieved in the state over the period.
Fayemi boasted: "This is the only state in the federation that gives every secondary school child a computer, personalised computer. We have the highest life expectancy in Nigeria at 55. We have the lowest HIV prevalence rate in Nigeria at one per cent and we have the lowest maternal mortality rate in in the country."
Faulting the regime of transparency adopted by the Federal Ministry of Finance in the distribution of allocations to the states, Governor Fayemi challenged the federal administration to adopt the same attitude in its collections.
According to him, "We like what Ngozi (Coordinating Minister of the Economy) has been doing by publishing what goes to us; that is fine.
"Our people should know what goes to us so that they can monitor us. We too, we want to know the actual money earned by the Nigerian state to which we belong, so that we can also challenge it with our own independent analysis. People should support that instead of haranguing us.
"Monies are collected by the NNPC, we do not know the amount, no governor in this country can tell you how much this country earns on a daily basis.
"Shouldn't I be whipped at home that I am supposed to be part of an entity and there is accountability and transparency, yet nobody gives me a full picture of what is earned?
"Time and again governors have raised this issue at all sorts of fora and we have four cases on this at the Supreme Court. The Federal Government has been requesting for an out of court settlement in many of these cases."
"I don't accept that devils are saints, we are not. But I don't believe that governors are the devils that they are painted as by a variety of people who cannot even stand up to scrutiny themselves. We have just become the football that everybody wants to kick. If you are a governor you are rogue, if are a governor you are a criminal yet, nobody can come around and give specificity on what you have done.
"There are governors that have misbehaved, but what I have noticed as a detached observer is that we have seen progressive improvement from those who get into governor's office from what used to happen and accountability has also increased because our people are more conscious of their rights and of the questions to ask. There may still be malfeasances out there, but how are you going to get better people in if demonise the reasonably good ones even if they are not perfect."
On the structure of the Police, he said: "Our argument has never been about state police, the media described it as state police. It has always been about multi-level police because we have never against federal police. We have said federal police in a federation, state police has its own role, local police has its own role and even university campus police has a role in that multi-level approach to security."
"I don't know any governor that has ever argued that federal police is unacceptable and is unwanted. We have always argued for a multi response to our security challenges."
"Another is our interpretation of Section 162 of the constitution. We have a religious interpretation of it in the Governors Forum which is why we are in court in about four cases. Section 162 (2) of the constitution is very clear that every penny that comes into the coffers of the Nigerian state goes into one and one account only, the federation account.."