The immediate past Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomole has urged the Federal Government, FG to review tax laws.
He said this at the 26th Convocation Ceremony of the Lagos State Polytechnic yesterday, where he delivered a lecture titled “Crisis of Governance, Governance of Crisis: The Role of Education in Nibbling Governance Crisis in Nigeria.”
Oshiomole said FG must put all hands on deck to ensure that those who are expected to pay tax do so to enhance revenue generation for government and provide infrastructures for the comfort of the populace.
He expressed disappointment that millions of taxable adults had devised means of evading tax with the excuse that “they will steal the money.”
According to him, such statement were mere excuses as the first step to be taken is to pay the tax to get moral and legal right to demand the judicious use of the money by the government.
Oshiomhole urged the Federal Government to take a cue from the effective tax system of the Lagos State Government which had devised a means of identifying those who are expected to pay tax and ensure that they comply.
“The developmental strides and successes recorded in Lagos State is a result of proper tax collection and judicious use of the fund.
“Government must ensure that those who are at advantage pay their taxes and the fund generated should be used to deliver infrastructure for those who are at disadvantaged and everyone.
“You can’t expect good roads, water and other social amenities if you don’t pay tax; once you pay then you can begin to probe the authorities and demand accountability for your money,” he said.
On the rights of the citizens, Oshiomhole noted that the logic of democracy enables citizens to have not only the weapon to vote once in four years, but to “police and interrogate” those they voted for in between the elections.
He condemned the poor state of the nation’s economy which he blamed on misappropriation by the Goodluck Jonathan led administration.
“The manifestation of crises in Nigeria includes but not limited to corruption, failing public schools, security challenges, growing population, among others.
“While it cannot be established that everybody is involved in corruption, its existence must be recognised by all and fought out of our system.”
Oshiomhole noted that corruption had has eaten deep into the nation and is not just a government affair.
On petrol subsidy, he said rather than subsidising petroleum products the government should hand over the refineries to competent private investors who would make manage and run them.
“Rather than to lament and agonise, what we need do is to organise and tackle those things that have brought us down as a nation.”
“As Nigerians we must recognise the problems confronting the country so as to diagnose and prescribe solutions to fix them.”
“The responsibility of leaders is to fix the country rather than join the citizens to lament.”
“When one notices that an environment is oppressive, what is expected of the victim is not to sit down to lament but to devise a way out of the problem,” the ex-NLC Leader stated.
He, however, hailed President Muhammadu Buhari on the war against corruption, saying it recorded remarkable results.
“The era of impunity of do it and nothing will happen is almost over in Nigeria; this is an era bringing every offender to book no matter their status.”
Oshiomhole urged Nigerian students to be interested in governance as the future of the nation depends on them.
“You must interrogate power, organise yourself decently and ensure that your leaders are accountable just like the NANS during the military era who demand answers for every action.
“Unlike the NANS of today who go mute on burning societal issues and are giving awards and giving plaques to government officials and other influential people,” he said.
Also speaking at the event was the representative of Lagos state Governor, Dr. Abdullateef Abdulakeem, the Commissioner for Home Affairs. He commended Oshiomole on his roles in nation development when was NLC leader and former Governor of Edo state.
The Rector of the institution, Mr. Samuel Sogunro, noted that governance was all about serving the populace and must be handled well.
He also expressed disappointment over the issue of tax evasion.
Sogunro advised the government to prioritise education stating that is the “nation’s bulwark.”