As part of the review of the 1999 Constitution, the South-west governors have proposed conversion of the present six geopolitical zones into federating units.
In a document presented last week to the members of the National Assembly from the geopolitical zone, the governors also made other proposals to weaken central government, while allocating more powers to the federating units and states.
In the document titled, ‘Proposals for the Review of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (As Amended): Presentation by South-West Governors’ Forum’ and dated July 5, 2021, the governors sought amendment to Section 3(1) and (3) of the constitution.
The present Section 3(1) reads, “There shall be 36 states in Nigeria, that is to say, Abia, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Gombe, Imo, Jigawa, Kaduna,Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe and Zamfara.”
The governors added, “We propose that Section 3(1) be amended as a federation consisting of six geopolitical zones constituted from the states. The federating units or regions are divided into the following geopolitical zones: North-West Zone, North-Eastern Zone, Middle – Belt Zone, South-East Zone, South-South Zone, South-West Zone and the Federal Capital Territory.
The forum added that “the geopolitical zones have been recognised and accepted by Nigeria’s political class.”
It also said, “Section 3(6) be amended to provide for a number of local governments or such autonomous administrative units to be created by the respective federating units or states, the criteria of which shall include population, taxable capacity, ethno-religious or other cultural and social affinities.”
Another major proposal in the presentation is an amendment to Section 7 of the constitution which is about local government.
The governors asked that the section “include an additional (sub) section prohibiting the dissolution of elected local government councils.”
“This will be in compliance with the Supreme Court decisions in ALGON v. Oyo State Government; AG Plateau State & Others v. Goyol & Others; Governor, Ekiti State v. Olubunmo & Others,” the forum added.
Also, the South-West governors proposed that Section 8 be amended by deleting Subsections 5 and 6, thereby removing the powers to create state from the Federal Government.
The proposal reads, “Section 8(5) and (6) should be expunged. Section 8 (1) and (2) provides for the procedures for creation of state while Section 8(3), (4), (5) and (6) provides for the procedure for creation of local governments.
“However, Section 8(5) and (6) should be expunged to make local government creation the exclusive duty of the state government.”
The governors also wanted the wordings of Section 14(4) changed
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