A foremost Nigerian lawyer and Principal Partner at the law firm of YC Maikyau and Company, Mr. Yakubu C. Maikyau, SAN has faulted the sincerity – or lack thereof – of the operators of the 1999 constitution of Nigeria (as amended) rather than the perceived weaknesses of the document itself, for the inadequacies of the Nigerian system as reflected in governance, economic management and their impact on the welfare and security of the people.

Maikyau was speaking at a plenary session at the ongoing 61st annual general conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
“Notwithstanding the challenges we have with the content of the constitution,’ the learned silk insisted, ‘ I still maintain that if the operators of this constitution will enforce the Constitution with 50% sincerity, we will not have all these problems.”

Nigeria is a much smaller economy than it ought to be, Maikyau added, not because she has no resources, but because we have refused to use the resources we have for the benefit of the majority of our people.

NEWSWIRE Law and Events Magazine correspondent in Port Harcourt reports that the session, which was moderated by Dr. Jude Odinkonigbo, a partner at the law firm of Templar’s (in place of Prof. RAC Achara, who was absent) was originally slated to feature the participation of two sitting state Governors, Nyesom Wike of Rivers and his Kano State counterpart, Umar Abdullahi Ganduje. Their Excellencies’ absence did not make the session any less impactful as the remaining panelists – the aforementioned Maikyau, Dr. Daniel Bwala, the special adviser to the Deputy Senate President on legal matters, Prof. Zacchaeus Adangoh, Attorney-General of Rivers State, and Mr. Olaleye Adebiyi, a managing partner at Andersen Tax Nigeria (who participated virtually) were thorough in examining the legal and policy framework of fiscal federalism, as well as what it really entailed (as envisaged by the country’s founding fathers) and the opportunities it presented.

While recognizing that the matter is still sub-judice at the time of this writing, the panelists were of the agreement, amomg other things, that though it is enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution, the principle of fiscal federalism was only honoured in the breach – and the fact that there is a debate on this at all is a sign of that deviation; the decreasing financial capacity of the federal government was both a threat to fiscal federalism as well as an opportunity for the states to do more to increase their internal revenue mechanisms rather than rely on the FG for their welfare and security needs; and the rule of law (and constitutionality) is always a bulwark against inequity, which is really at the heart of this debate on fiscal federalism.

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