South West governors demand six regions, council autonomy and others

Written by on July 13, 2021

Six governors of the South-West geo-political Zone have advocated the conversion of the present six geopolitical zones into federating units.

The proposal was part of the ongoing review of the 1999 Constitution by the National Assembly.

According to a document presented to members of the National Assembly, the governors also made other suggestions aimed to decentralise government, while allocating more powers to the federating units and states.

The document containing the proposals by the governors were said to have been presented to the South-West Caucus of the National Assembly recently.

The governors had apparently met with the zone’s lawmakers in Abuja behind closed doors last week.

The governors at the meeting were Chairman, South-West Governors’ Forum, Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Gboyega Oyetola (Osun), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos) and Dapo Abiodun (Ogun).

After the meeting, Akeredolu said that the governors would approach the constitution amendment with a common front.

He added that the meeting had set up a committee made of up senators led by the Caucus Chairman, Opeyemi Bamidele, House of Representatives Caucus Chairman, Femi Fakeye and Attorneys-General of the region.

“The committee is to harmonise our position so that we can present it when necessary before the two Houses and at the end of the day, have a constitutional amendment and have our serious input,” he had said.

MEANWHILE, there are strong indications that the joint Senate and House committee would fine-tune the proposals and ensured that they were captured in the constitution review exercise.

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 councils 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 the local council. The governors asked that the section “include an additional (sub)-section prohibiting the dissolution of elected local councils.”

The governors also proposed that Section 8 be amended by deleting sub-sections 5 and 6, thereby removing the powers to create a state from the Federal Government.

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