Association of Lagos Titled Chiefs, a non-political association of honorary chiefs and prominent members of the Lagos community, has reaffirmed its total support for the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, for his integrity, steadfastness, and veracity.
The association said it took the decision having reviewed the allegation of the transfer of the sum of N90 billion from Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) to the Office of the Vice President for purpose of financing the 2019 elections as well as responses from relevant quarters.
The association, while re-affirming its total support for Osinbajo based on qualities such as his integrity and steadfastness, maintained that the creation of the new economic body, the Economic Advisory Council (EAC) by President Muhammadu Buhari does not in any way appear to clash with or in any manner disturb the working of the Economic Management Team (EMT) of which Osinbajo is the chairman.
The titled chiefs, in a statement signed by their General Secretary, Engr Olawumi Gasper, and made available to newsmen at the end of its meeting, said President Buhari was constitutionally empowered to create bodies and appoint members therein to assist him in the governance of the nation and the discharge of his duties.
According to the association, this the president can do “as long as such creation or appointment do not in any way derogate or is contrary to the provision of the constitution,” which assigns the role of chairmanship of National Economic Council to the vice president.
“His Excellency, the Vice President, remains the Chairman of the National Economic Council. The creation of the new Economic Body, Economic Advisory Council (New Body) by His Excellency the President does not appear to clash with or in any manner disturb the working of the Council of which Osinbajo is the Chairman,” Gasper said.
He, however, enjoined the president to ensure that any future creation of office or appointment does not in any way give the impression that his vice was being sidelined, adding that Osinbajo could easily have been made the chairman of the new body.
Gasper said this could be done to ensure “that the scope of his duties on the council would seem enhanced and enlarged and the vice president could also benefit from the experts Mr. President appointed on the new body.”
Speaking further, the association said the increase in Value Added Tax (VAT) being contemplated in was probably not necessary in view of the present state of the economy, declaring that such an increase would further compound the hardship presently being experienced by the people in the country.
This was just as the titled chiefs called for a review of the distribution of the proceeds of VAT amongst the beneficiaries in the country.
“The distribution of the proceeds of VAT should be re-examined so that those states from where much of the VAT proceeds are collected are correspondingly compensated,” he said.