THE National Assembly, through the ongoing public hearing on Constitution Review, may have provoked agitation for a new Constitution or, at least, its amendment.
Central to discussion are issues of devolution of powers, state creation, recognition of the six geopolitical zones in the Constitution, roles for traditional rulers, local government autonomy and removal of the Land Use Act; NYSC Act; and Code of Conduct from the Constitution.
Others are: Fiscal federalism, amendment of provisions relating to amendment of the Constitution; boundary adjustment to remove ambiguities; immunity clause, and creation of state police.
However, important as these issues are, many Nigerians believe that the most acrimonious are fiscal federalism, state creation, immunity clause, judicial reforms and state police.
While some speakers may want to dismiss the exercise as a waste of time and resources, implying a hidden agenda, Nigerians from the six geo-political zones, nonetheless participated in the public hearing with the majority of them calling for outright and far-reaching amendment of the constitution.
Kano State Governor, Dr. Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso, and former spokesperson of the pan-Yoruba socio cultural and political group, Afenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, both decared the exercise as deceit meant to hoodwink the people into a more sinister agenda.
Kwankwaso said the public hearing was nothing but a complete deceit from the organisers, designed to achieve a pre-planned goal. Challenging the whole process at a press parley in Kano, the governor explained that the work should be handled by people that have Nigeria at heart, and not by people he called local jingoists that behave not like statesmen.
Meanwhile, in what they claim to be presenting for posterity and for the attention of “our long suffering people, and for the attention of local and international community”, a coalition representing 11 major self-determination groups in the Southwest, the Oodua Nationalist Coalition, declare what amounts to the demand of the people of the zone, from the coalition perspectives. They demanded that the present 36-state structure be abolished and the structures and institutions of government devolved into six-region federation, each empowered to create states or counties.
Other demands include, that the Southwest Region be made up of Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Ondo, Ekiti, Kwara and the Yoruba speaking parts of Kogi, Edo and Itsekiri part of Delta State.
They also want the Nigerian Police Force, (NPF) abolished and a replacement that should reflect the federal character of the country with a three-tier system of small federal, stronger state and community Police structure, be instituted.
The group, which demanded for a separate constitution for the Southwest, resource control, regional military, also want the right to secede enshrined in the constitution.
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