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Wike, VAT and the Quest for True Federalism



By Chidiebere Nwobodo

Boldness is not second to everyone, it is intentionality.” — Janna Cachola

History is being made in Rivers State. There is a bold move by the State Government at challenging the retrogressive status quo of the federation. Nigeria’s political structure is not only lopsidedly skewed against the states but has become a clog on the nation’s wheel of progress. Like local government areas, the states are mere appendages of the behemoth center—yet we call this country “Federal Republic of Nigeria”. It is feeding bottle federalism!

The rattling question is: what is federal about a country structured along unitary system by respective military dictatorships. In the last few years, there has been vehement agitations for a restructured Nigeria that will encompass true federalism where states will have the needed autonomy and resources to determine and unleash their socio-political cum economic destinies.

Failure to make any meaningful progress in the direction of restructuring, in the last few years, has birthed agitations for self-determination, especially in southern Nigeria. Restructuring advocates are opposed to separatist campaigners calling for total balkanization of the country. While true federalists believe that Nigeria can still be salvaged via restructuring, self-determination proponents have been pummeling them for not walking their talk.

Rivers State Government has changed the game. Age-longed problems cannot be solved by persistently and indefinitely talking about them without action. There comes a time in history when courageous and well-calculated actions are left to do the talking because all talk and no action makes someone a rabble-rouser reveling in ramblings. Rivers State decided to confront the hydra-headed monster of unitary structure that made states subservient to the center.

The bone of the contention is Value Added Tax (VAT).

Recently, Rivers State Government went to court to challenge Federal Government’s collection of VAT via Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS). It argued that FIRS did not have the constitutional right to collect VAT and Personal Income Tax (PIT) on behalf of local governments, states and federal government. It advocated that states should be allowed to collect VAT—and not Federal Government.

On August 9, Justice Stephen Pam of Federal High Court, Rivers State, ordered the tax agency of the FG, the FIRS and the Attorney General of the Federation, from collecting VAT and Personal Income Tax (PIT) from residents of Rivers State. Federal Government via FIRS fumed and vowed to appeal the judgement.

Rivers State Government did not stop there, it ensured that the State Assembly legislated on it through a bill, which was swiftly signed into law on August 19, 2021, as Value Added Tax Law No. 4 of 2024 by the man behind the wheels—Governor Nyesom Wike. I doff my cap for this courageous move of Rivers State Government.

There are insinuations in the media that FIRS is lobbying National Assembly to put VAT in the exclusive list, in order to legitimacy its illegality—to continue the exploitation, and but this move is dead on arrival. I am sure that even all other states will sleep and allow the agency to ambush the states using National Assembly, Rivers State Government under the leadership of Governor Wike will not allow this to happen.

Governor Wike has demystified the bogus term called restructuring cum true federalism. It is not rocket science. He has proved that easiest way to handle mountainous challenge is by compartmentalization of it. My own definition of restructuring of which Governor Wike has accentuated, is using legitimate avenues to get back your resources and power that were illegally taken away using military regimes.

Back to issue at stake—VAT.

Value Added Tax (VAT) was introduced in 1993. The sharing formula; states—50%, LGAs—35% and FG—15%. FIRS gets 4% from FG’s share as operational cost. But the subject of controversy had been whose duty it was to collect VAT—states or FG via FIRS? but the judgement of Federal High Court has lent credence to narratives of restructuring advocates; though FIRS said it has appealed the historic judgment. Let wait and see how it goes. But why is it running to National Assembly if it has water-tight case?

VAT falls under consumption tax, which is within the state government power to collect and remit 15% to the Federal Government. Majority of the VAT are generated from the states, which gave them lion share of 85% in the sharing formula. Why then should FIRS, on behalf of Federal Government, collect VAT and distribute to the state? Did states complain that they lack capacity to collect VAT?

What is the work of states Internal Revenue agencies responsible for Internally Generated Revenues (IGR)? Why will a minority stakeholder in a company be the one collecting revenues, especially when the revenues are being generated from the states—majority stakeholders? Sadly, this illegality cum impunity had gone on unchallenged for decades. As a restructuring advocate, I am happy Rivers State Government has taken the bull by the horn to correct this obnoxious practice of “monkey dey work bamboo dey chop”.

FIRS collection of VAT from states and distributing same via the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC), is tantamount to robbing Peter to pay Paul. Majority of the VAT remitted to FAAC monthly comes from just few economically viable states with high volume of VAT generation like Lagos, Rivers, Ogun, Delta, Enugu, Akwa Ibom, etcetera, yet other states get rewarded for indolence and crass unproductivity—the reason Nigeria is economically backward—and poverty capital of the world.

FAAC shared a total of N733 billion as June, 2021 revenue, out of the sum, VAT revenue got N143.6 billion—huge chunk of the VAT came in from alcohol consumption. Look at the injustice and irony here, majority of Sharia-compliant states that routinely destroy alcoholic beverages in their states, did not only partake in revenues from VAT but got lion share of it—going by the hegemonic template of using number of states and local government councils to share revenues.

Why will someone drink beer in Lagos and another person in Kano State that detest alcohol as a result of religious belief gets more share in the distribution of VAT emanating from the produce? This is wickedness taken too far. I strongly stand with Governor Nyesom Wike and Rivers State Government on this courageous step to end this official theft.

Other state governments with huge volume of VAT generation should throw their weight behind Rivers State and see this to a logical conclusion. This is the real battle for a restructured Nigeria. The die is cast. Governor Wike has shown leadership where it mattered mostly and should be railed round. There is a weighty allegation that FIRS illegally withholds some VAT it collects on behalf of the states—it remits only a fraction of what truly comes into it coffers.

States do not control FIRS; its operations and recruitment process, thereby cannot efficiently monitor its modus operandi yet FIRS generates most of its revenues from the states. Ideally, FIRS should not collect VAT outside Abuja—FCT; where FG has substantial control of its Internally Generated Revenues. It VAT collection influence should be limited to FCT alone.

While signing the historic Value Added Tax bill into law, Governor Wike could not hide his ill feelings towards impunity of Federal Government using FIRS to strip states of their VAT revenues, of which made state governors to always go cap-in-hand begging for financial support from the center. He was quoted as saying:

“In this (Rivers) state, we awarded contract to companies and within the last month we paid over N30billion to the contractors and 7.5% will now be deducted from that and to be given to FIRS.

“Now, look at 7.5% of N30billion of contracts we awarded to companies in Rivers State, you will be talking about almost N3billion only from that source. Now, at the end of the month, Rivers State government has never received more than N2billion from VAT. So, I have contributed more through the award of contracts and you are giving me less. What’s the justification for it.”

With this calculated move that has quaked the foundation of the FIRS and rattled Federal Government, Governor Wike has become the Moses of our time leading true federalists to the promise land of a restructured Nigeria. We are morally bound to give him all the support.

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Voice of Emancipation: Nigeria’s New President




By Kayode Emola

In less than 48 hours Nigeria will welcome a new President, charged with handling its affairs for the next four years. Yet among the many challenges awaiting the new president, whether Nigeria itself can even survive another four years remains to be seen. There is no doubt that the Tinubu/Shettima presidency will need more than courage to keep Nigeria united for the full duration of their elected term.

Only time will tell whether Tinubu and Shettima will be sworn in come May 29, or whether we will instead have an interim government. However, one thing of which we are certain is that the era of Muhammad Buhari is over, never to be experienced again. Those who have survived living under Buhari’s misrule in Nigeria for the last eight years deserve an award for endurance.

We must not allow the expected swearing-in of a Yoruba man as Nigeria’s president on Monday 29 to make us complacent. Indeed, my Yoruba people, our task has just doubled.

Nigeria’s future is now looking more imperiled than ever before. The Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) are already threatening to declare their own independent Biafra nation if Tinubu is sworn in come May 29. And the Biafra campaigners are not the only disgruntled people within the country. The vast majority of our Yoruba people and even the Hausa people are becoming embittered with the trajectory Nigeria has taken since independence. At this point now, the new president must decide if Nigeria will continue as it is, or ask the indigenous people to decide their future.

It is increasingly evident that Nigeria is not a sustainable venture, and that a trading post cannot become a country that can endure the test of time. The people within Nigeria never decided to unite and become a country, so trying to hold them to ransom can never succeed.

I will therefore urge the incoming president to rethink his policies if he has not thought about a peaceful way in which Nigeria’s dissolution can be established. Powering through and hoping that he can hold Nigeria together like his predecessor Buhari did will definitely not stand the test of time.

To my fellow Yoruba people who are singing hallelujah that a Yoruba man is going to be president. I want us to know that just as Buhari is leaving the Presidential seat come Monday 29, Tinubu will also not be president for life. When he leaves what will be the fate of the Yoruba people or the other nationalities that makes up Nigeria.

At this juncture in our history, it would be the time to give the indigenous peoples of Nigerians the opportunity to determine their future in a constitutional conference. Nigeria has gone past its due date and must now be prepared for decommissioning just like several countries such as Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, etc has done in the past. If not, a dysfunctional disengagement may lead to utter chaos if not another civil considering the damage the country is currently doing to the lives of millions of frustrated youths. The rate of poverty is not abating with the currency being devalued on a daily basis putting more strain on the people’s finances

The handlers of Nigeria must acknowledge that the unitary system being practiced in Nigeria has utterly failed the people. The people must now be handed a lifeline in order to salvage a future for themselves and their future generations. Anything short of that may mean Nigeria may go the way other African countries such as Somalia and South Sudan etc have divided with years of bitter civil war which has resulted in the loss of millions of innocent lives.

Yoruba people should not shout ‘Uhuru’ yet because one of us is sitting in ‘Aso rock’. If history has thought us anything, whoever becomes president of Nigeria is there for themselves and not necessarily representing their constituents. That Tinubu will be president does not stop the call for an independent Yoruba nation, if anything, the call for an independent Yoruba nation should now become louder and clearer to send a strong signal to the local and international communities that the Yoruba people have finally made up their mind to leave Nigeria.

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DNV: Namibia Welcomes First Digital Nomads




By Dolapo Aina

According to Citizen Remote, “A digital nomad visa is a temporary permit that allows visitors to stay in a country while they work remotely. Multiple countries offer these sorts of visas, and most of them have a duration of twelve months, with the possibility to extend your stay. While they may not be for everyone, a digital nomad visa allows many remote workers to travel the world while they work from the comfort of their computers. They also help the countries impulse their economy by having foreigners stay for extended periods.”

Several benefits and fallouts of having digital nomads in a country include but not limited to positive country branding by the digital nomads who are residents in their host country. Digital nomads tend to amplify messages the host country might have been trying to get across to potential travellers. On the African Continent, only a few countries have latched on to Digital Nomads and Digital Nomad visas (and it is noteworthy to state that some African countries might not term it Digital Nomad Visas but have something in that guise.)

Since the COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant fallouts, digital nomads and remote work have increased exponentially globally and in Africa particularly.

According to the Harvard School of Business, with the global shift towards remote work over the past three years, approximately forty-seven countries have developed digital nomad visa programmes. On the African Continent, a few countries offer Digital Nomad Visa. These countries are and in no particular order: Cape Verde, Mauritius, Namibia and Seychelles. Other countries on the African Continent have something within this category but officially, it is designated as Digital Nomad Visa.

On Tuesday, 9th of May 2023, Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board announced and welcomed Namibia’s first Digital Nomads.

According to a statement signed by Ms. Catherine Shipushu, who is the senior manager: Marketing, Branding and Communications of Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board, “Namibia officially recorded her first digital nomads just five months after the official launch of the country’s Digital Nomad Visa (DNV) on 11 October 2022. The programme was launched by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration and Security (MHAISS) and the Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB), with the aim of enhancing economic activity in the country. The first two digital nomad visa applications were approved on Tuesday, 14 February 2023.”

The statement further revealed that the Digital Nomad Visa programme aims to capitalise on the growing global remote workforce by offering location-independent foreign professionals the chance to live, work, and experience Namibia for up to six months. These digital nomads contribute towards the country’s economy by injecting foreign currency in the ecosystem, but without usurping jobs meant for Namibians. Early results are encouraging, with over 121 enquiries about the programme recorded so far. Of this number a total of 20 applications were received, out of which nine were approved, with five rejections. The reasons for rejection were made known to include; applicants who do not meet the income requirements of two thousand dollars per month, and are thus unable to prove that they can effectively sustain themselves while in Namibia. Other applications were rejected because they were submitted while the applicants were already in Namibia on a different legal status such as a Tourist Visa, or they arrived in the country before approval of their application.

According to Ms. Catherine Shipushu; “The launch of the Digital Nomad Visa earned Namibia international praise, from Cape Town to Germany and as far as Australia. Additionally, we have witnessed a surge in queries and applications for the DNV through our website, further demonstrating the growing global interest. This demonstrates Namibia’s potential to harness the digital nomad trend and create new opportunities for local businesses in the tourism and information and communication technologies support sectors. As an effective marketing tool for Namibia, the DNV program has also created visibility through digital nomads documenting and sharing their experiences on social media and other mass media platforms, showcasing the nation’s natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and hospitality. This increased visibility has the potential to help attract more tourists, investors, and talent, further stimulating the nation’s economic growth and development.”

It is said that, by design, the Digital Nomad Visa complements, rather than competes with, the local workforce, ensuring digital nomads bring their own remote jobs or freelance projects to Namibia. This approach benefits the Namibian economy and its people while creating an environment for local entrepreneurs and professionals to expand their networks, learn from their international counterparts, and explore new avenues for collaboration.

Dolapo Aina reached out to Ms. Catherine Shipushu (senior manager: Marketing, Branding and Communications of Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board, in the Office of The Presidency) for more clarifications and insights.

On the abovementioned statement that the digital nomads contribute towards the country’s economy by injecting foreign currency in the ecosystem, I asked if this is the only criteria being looked at? What about those nomads who can attract global attention and global traffic into Namibia? How do you factor that into the policy? Ms. Catherine Shipushu stated that, “The Namibia Digital Nomad Visa (DNV) serves a dual purpose in enhancing the country’s economy. Firstly, it allows digital nomads to inject foreign currency into the ecosystem, contributing to economic activities and growth. Additionally, the DNV harnesses the power of digital nomads as ambassadors for Namibia. Through their documentation and sharing of experiences on social media and other platforms, they become valuable marketing assets, attracting global attention and generating publicity for the country. As part of our marketing campaign, we have engaged digital nomads, who are currently in Namibia, to share their unique perspectives and experiences, aiming to inspire and attract more digital nomads to choose Namibia as their preferred “work” destination. By leveraging their presence and influence, we strive to create a ripple effect of positive exposure and interest in Namibia, ultimately benefiting the local economy and fostering collaboration between local and international professionals.”

On the two thousand dollars per month projection, I asked if this was targeted at only Western nomads only or global nomads including African nomads who might not have the same financial muscle as their Western counterparts? And would this amount be reduced anytime soon? Ms. Catherine Shipushu stated that, “The requirement of USD 2,000 per month for the Namibia Digital Nomad Visa is not targeted exclusively at Western nomads. The income requirement serves as a benchmark to ensure that digital nomads, regardless of their nationality, have the financial means to sustain themselves comfortably in Namibia. The aim is to provide a positive experience for digital nomads and contribute to the local economy. The income requirement is based on the cost of living in Namibia and takes into account expenses such as accommodation, transportation, food and other essentials. The Namibian government understands the diverse backgrounds of digital nomads and aims to create an inclusive environment that welcomes global nomads, including those from Africa and other parts of the world, while maintaining a reasonable financial stability requirement. As with any programme, there is a possibility of periodic evaluation and adjustments based on feedback and the evolving circumstances.”

The launch of Namibia’s Digital Nomad Visa programme is a bold and strategic move that positions the country as a prime destination for remote workers from around the world. By embracing this global trend and offering a world-class visa program, Namibia stands to reap substantial economic, social, and cultural benefits.

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Adding Value

Adding Value: Understanding Oneself: Foundation to Success by Henry Ukazu




Dear Destiny Friends,

“To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom” – Socrates

Please permit me to begin this article by asking a simple question. Who are you? By this, I mean what you stand for or represent and not what the world thinks of you. It is instructive to note that what the world thinks of you is your reputation, but your character is who you really are.

If an employer wants to know more about a prospective employee, they can ask an open-ended question such as how would you describe yourself in one sentence? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Have you ever experienced a challenge or problem at work? If yes, how did you handle it? All these questions are structured to inquire more about the personality of the employee.

One of the best things anyone can do in life is not only to understand who they are, but also understand what they represent. It will be hard to know what you represent if you don’t understand who you are. If you don’t understand yourself, it will be difficult to understand other people.

According to Forbes, only 15% of the world are self-aware. One begins to wonder, what about the remaining 85%. As a transformational Human Capacity Coach, my company is focused on helping people unleash their potential. To do this, we use our self-discovery and mindset training manual to know more about them by giving them a set of self awareness questions which they are required to answer to the best of their knowledge. It is rather unfortunate that a lot of people don’t know themselves. They just exist as opposed to living.

Self-discovery is truly lacking in our society. When you truly know yourself, you will know your strengths and weaknesses. When you know yourself, you will know your boundaries as regards what to accept from people and where to draw the lines; you will know your personality traits; you will have a clearer understanding of your career path in your professional life; you will know how to interact with people; you will know your core values; you will have a clearer version of your life purpose; and you will be self-motivated. The list is literally endless.

In the journey of life, we engage in a lot of activities we are not supposed to be engaged in. For example, we study courses we are not wired or love to study, and this makes understanding difficult. Some of us apply for jobs we are not passionate about just to pay bills. Some of us even marry partners we don’t really like due to circumstances. Again, the list is endless. All these can lead to frustration and depression if not properly managed. If only we can take a deep breath and ask ourselves some deep thought-provoking questions on what we really want in life, and the reason we are doing what we are doing, the result will be different.

There are many ways to understand oneself. You can understand yourself by staying silent, reflecting about, and observing your life. These acts will help you to practice self-awareness which will ultimately help you to look inward and enable you to understand your feelings, emotions, and your personality. Self knowledge will enable you to know your values, interests, temperament, life mission, and activities to engage in.

As human beings, one thing we should constantly engage in is learning new things about ourselves on a daily basis. Knowing oneself takes time. However, due to desperation, most people don’t practice the art of stillness. When you take time to understand what’s involved in a particular work, it will be easy to solve it in a more efficient and effective manner. There is a story told of a philosopher, who fell into a ditch in front of him because he was too busy to see what was ahead of him.

Again, let’s take the case of Japan with about one hundred and twenty-five million people, which is one of the most industrialized countries on the planet, yet it maintains a level of calm despite the busy nature of the country.

The benefits of knowing oneself is priceless. It will make you confident which will ultimately eliminate self-doubt. It will help you build better and healthy health relationships by attracting the people you need and eliminating people you don’t need. You will be less stressed because you will focus on what’s important as opposed to irrelevant things which will keep your temperament and mindset in good shape.

Self discovery will help you to know your self-worth because no one will price you cheap when you know your value, and you will feel happier.

Furthermore, self knowledge will help you in decision making. When you know yourself, you will be able to make better choices about everything, from minor decisions to major decisions. Your temperament and personality type will be better managed as a leader or rational being.

Self control: When you know yourself, you will better manage yourself. If you can’t manage yourself, it will be hard to manage other people. When you know yourself, you understand what motivates you to resist bad habits and develop good ones. Knowing your strengths is one of the foundations of self confidence.

Resistance to social pressure. Self knowledge helps you to focus on what’s beneficial to you as opposed to other people. According to Bill Cosby, “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone. When you are grounded in your values and preferences, you are less likely to say “yes” when you want to say “no.”

In conclusion, take time and reflect on this question, who am I? This is one of the most important questions you will answer in your entire life. When you answer this question, you have solved 50% of your life challenges. If you can’t answer this question, and need assistance, you can use the email below to reach out for assistance.

Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He works with the New York City Department of Correction as the Legal Coordinator.  He’s a Transformative Human Capacity and Mindset coach. He is also a public speaker, youth advocate and creative writer Design Your Destiny and Unleash Your Destiny.  He can be reached via

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