Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has kicked against the continued use of the number of local governments by Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) as a yardstick for sharing revenues to states in the country.
He said the federal government has continued to shortchange Bayelsa State with eight local government areas in revenue sharing.
Speaking Friday while declaring open a sensitization programme on review of the existing revenue allocation formula, organized by RMAFC, Diri called on the commission to review some of its revenue-sharing parameters in the interest of equity and fairness.
Represented by the Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, the Governor pointed out that Bayelsa was being shortchanged with only eight local government areas even though it has more square kilometres than several states in the country.
According to Senator Diri, Bayelsa has about 11,000 Square Kilometers, noting that some of its local government areas, like Southern Ijaw, were equivalent to five or more council areas elsewhere in the country.
He also frowned at the decision of the commission for allocating revenues accruing from the disputed Soku Oil wells to the Rivers State Government even as the case has yet to be finally determined.
He said: “We believe that some of the indicators you are using to share revenues currently do not promote equity and fairness in this country and therefore not acceptable to us.
“For instance, we do not agree that you should continue to use local government areas as a basis of sharing revenues. It is faulty because the creation of local governments was not done scientifically.
“It was purely political and a case of who was holding the knife and the yam at the time of creating them. And so, those who had the knife cut more to themselves.
“You are aware that, if we are to take Southern Ijaw Local Government Area and place it on some states, Southern Ijaw is equivalent to several local government areas in those states.
“Bayelsa has about 11,000 Square Kilometers with only eight local government areas. While some states with about 6,000 Square Kilometers have 13 local government areas or more. So, where is the justice and fairness?” He said.
Earlier in his remarks, the Team Leader for RMAFC, Hon. Alfred Egba, assured that the Commission would do all within its powers to consider the inputs of various stakeholders with a view to fashioning out a more acceptable revenue sharing formula. (The Nation)