By Ikechukwu Okaforadi with agency report
Kano and Katsina states have expressed their support for a strong and united nation even as they urged restraint in any process aimed at addressing agitations for restructuring and devolution of powers in the polity.
The two states made their position known during the All Progressive Congress public meeting on true federalism held in Kano which is aimed at taking a position on the rising agitations of sections of the country over perceived marginalisation and restructuring requests.
A committee on true federalism headed by the governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, had kick-started the regional public hearings on September 18.
At the hearing on Thursday, Kano State subtly rejected tinkering with the structure of the current federating units of Nigeria and equally opposed amending the current devolution of power format.
Articulating the position of Kano, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje said even if any constitutional amendment would be effected, it should be a gradual process.
“We are of the view that power should, in a process of gradual constitution amendment, continue to be shared among and between the current tiers of government in keeping with the dictates of the principles of federalism,” he said inter-alia.
Similarly, Mr. Ganduje said Kano people believed in one united nation.
”Kano is in total support of the indivisibility and oneness of Nigeria as a single geographical entity based on the solid principles of democracy, liberty, justice and Federalism. ”
On the creation of more states, the governor said the nation needs not be saddled with extra financial burden such moves would entail.
Governor Ganduje also said the derivation formula pegged for oil-producing states should not exceed 13 per cent.
There have been growing calls by some states that the formula be reviewed upward.
“Equally the Federal Republic of Nigeria should maintain the present Presidential system of government, the three tiers of government consisting of the 36 States and 774 Local governments as provided in the 1999 Constitution,” Mr. Ganduje said.
Meanwhile, at the meeting, the Katsina State Governor, Aminu Bello Masari, said the military foray into politics is the prime reason why calls for restructuring were mounting daily.
He also said Nigerians needed to be on the same page regarding the true meaning of true federalism to be able to proffer solutions on the way forward.
”Many have forgotten that we, in the first place, need to be even enlightened on what is true federalism and restructuring, because as it is, many have given it different meanings,” the governor argued.
He also reiterated the belief his state in the indivisibility of the nation as presently constituted.
He said Katsina ”rejected devolution of powers and restructuring as being pushed,” but ”believed in one united Nigeria that takes care of every section of the nation.”
He assured that Katsina’s position aligned with that of its sister states which he listed as Kano, Kaduna, Jigawa, Sokoto, Zamfara and Kebbi.
“This is because whatever touches them or concerns them, concerns us,” he added.
Former Governor Sullivan Chime of Enugu, who represented the committee in Kano said Nigerians needed to communicate with the ”same language” concerning the agitations so as to fashion a way forward.
Mr. Chime urged Nigerians to ”critically examine the calls for restructuring and give their input on how best the clamour could be tackled.”
The committee according to a statement issued by Mr El-Rufai at its inauguration is expected to organise 13 public hearings across the nation before finally coming out with a position on the matter at the national level.