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Published On: Fri, Apr 25th, 2014

National Conference committee rejects regional governments

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The National Conference Committee on Political Restructuring and Form of Government on Wednesday disapproved the option of regionalism as a form of government for the country.

The committee, at its resumed sitting, deliberated on three options of federalism to be adopted in order to meet the peculiarity of the country.

The options are: a central government with states as federating units; a central government with zones as federating units; and a central government with three regions as federating units.

The session became heated with regional and geo-political interests resurfacing in canvassing for or against each option.

While some delegates favoured a central government with either regions or zones as federating units, others favoured a central government with states as federating units.

Yinka Odumakin and Femi Okurounmu, representing South West argued that some states are not viable and the centre was too powerful as it was currently constituted.

They, therefore, called for the devolution of more powers to the federating units as zones or regions so as to make the centre less attractive.

They also said that zonal or regional governments would ensure socio-politico-economic integration in the zones and fast-track development as it was obtained in the first republic.

However, Siddique Abubakar, Mohammed Aruwa, Adamu Maina and Jeremiah Temlong, said the problem with Nigeria was not about states or regions.

They argued that every state in the country was viable but identified corruption as the major challenge that had not allowed states and local government areas to function effectively.

All members of the committee agreed that state creation should be accommodated in the constitution based on merit and viability.

They also agreed that there should be compromises for all the interests to give and take in a way that would be in the best interest of the country.

The Co-Chairman of the committee, Ike Nwachukwu, remarked that the tentative position of the committee was that “there should be a central government with states as federating units.

“States should create their own local governments; local governments should be removed from the constitution.

“For equitable sharing of resources, appointments should be rotated in states and at federal level.

“States that wish to merge as federating units may do so but the status of states as federating units remain,” Mr. Nwachukwu said before adjourning the session. (NAN)

 

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