Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has remained quiet since the Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the Muhammadu Buhari led federal government by granting its request for a stay of execution on the issue of Value Added Tax (VAT).
By doing that, the Court of Appeal stopped Wike and Governor Babajide Samwo- Olu of Lagos State from going ahead with their initial plan to start the collection of VAT in their states. The Court also expects that the parties should halt further actions until the main suit has been determined and decided. While an indication emerged that Lagos State may go ahead with the collection of the VAT despite the court order based on a revelation by a member of Lagos State House of Assembly, Wike chose to remain quiet and wait. This article discusses two wise reasons why Wike chose to be quiet and wait.
Wike prefers to obey the court order. This is a wise decision taken by Wike. You cannot go to court to get justice when you think others have violated your rights but turn around and choose not to obey court orders when they do not favour you. A wise saying in Law has it that, ‘ ‘ He who goes to equity must go with clean hands. ‘ ‘ You cannot be violating or disobeying court orders when they do not favour you and expect others to obey the court order when it favours you. As a Barrister, Wike understands that it is wise and paramount to obey court orders. This is one reason why he is quiet and prefers to wait for the main suit to be determined.
Again, Wike believes that he would win the case. It will be recalled that a High Court in Port Harcourt had ruled in favour of Wike earlier when it stated that the state (Rivers in this case) had the legal right to collect VAT in its territory. That judgment was given by Justice Stephem Pam. In view of this previous legal victory, Wike has weighed his chances in the case and he is confident that he would win the case again at the Court of Appeal. That is another reason he prefers to wait.
Wike to Buhari: Don’ t transfer role of security to govs
After all, the stay of execution that was granted does not mean that the federal government through Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has won the main case. The main case will be heard on September 16 which is few days from now and Wike is hopeful that he would win. Instead of disobeying the court and ruining his chances, he prefers to keep quiet and wait. Wike believes that a little more patience will make the difference. Who do you think will win the case: Wike or federal government?
Lagos May Be Punished If It Goes On To Collect VAT After Court Stopped It From Doing So
Nigerian can remember that the Court of Appeal had ordered Governor Nyesom Wike and Governor Babajide Sanwo- Olu not to go ahead with the planned collection of the Value Added Tax (VAT).
This order was given by the Court of Appeal after it granted the stay of execution demanded by the federal government through the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS). Since then, Nigerians felt that the two states (Rivers and Lagos) would halt further actions until the main suit has been decided in view of that order. But, it seems Lagos may not do so following a latest revelation that emerged.
This was because a member of Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Setonji David, revealed that Lagos State would go ahead with the collection of the VAT as earlier planned despite the order of the Court of Appeal. In a report by The Punch, David argued that the status quo that the Court of Appeal told all parties to maintain means that Lagos law on VAT and the plan to implement it are not affected as they are all part of the status quo. His argument is that Lagos State can go on with the VAT collection because the plan is not affected by the stay of execution order given by the Court of Appeal.
What may happen if Lagos collects the VAT.
If Lagos State goes ahead to collect the VAT as David disclosed, the state may found guilty of contempt of the Court. Contempt of the Court is serious offence in the eyes of the law because the court is the temple of justice. If the Court allow individuals, groups and entities to hold it in contempt and go unpunished, then the course of justice would be greatly undermined.
What are your thoughts on this? Kindly leave a comment on the comment box below.