The National Conference Committee on Political Restructuring and Forms of Government have all agreed that the SouthEast zone should be at par with others. The Southeast has five states; others zones have a minimum of six states. Jubilant Southeast delegates praised the magnanimity of the Committee. The Committee also adopted a simplified procedure if states wish to merge. Members of the Committee were unanimous in supporting the creation of additional state for the SouthEast. But Senator Nimi Barigha-Amange warned that the creation would lead to a deluge of demands from other parts of the country. This, in his view, may be difficult to manage at the critical stage. He said the viability of additional states should be considered as only five could be said to be viable of the 36 states. He said fiscal federalism would put a stop to agitation for state creation.
Senator Ahmed Aruwa said the Southeast demand is legitimate as the request had been on for long. States, he said, should be created where necessary in line with conditions spell out in the Constitution. SEE MORE AFTER CUT>>>>>
Yinka Odumakin supporting the SouthEast demand, noted that frivolous demands for states would only cease when the injustice perpetrated by the government is addressed.
Senator Femi Okuromu argued that the merger of states was not the same as the creation of a new one that has stringent conditions stipulated in the extant laws. He suggested that a referendum within the affected states should be enough to give legal backing to the merger.
But Malam Sule Hamma argued that a merger would mean the constitution that gives recognition to 36 states would have been tinkered with, meaning that a constitutional amendment is taking place with such a merger.
According to the co-chairman of the committee, delegates decided that the process must be simplified for a merger of two or more states to occur and without prejudice to the federating unit, it must go through a referendum of 75 per cent of the people.
In addition, two-thirds majority of the states affected must pass the resolution. A simple majority at NASS.
“That is something that allows the West, if it wants to have a zonal government without prejudice to the states as the federating units. The implication is that each state would still get its dues from the centre as federating unit but they can come together as one, pool their resources to form a government for the progress and development of their people,” Okunronmu said.