Delegates started Wednesday’s session with a discussion about Political Restructuring and Forms of Government report.
Bello Aliyu from Zamfara suggested that all those agitating for state creation should be made to follow the laid down criteria for attaining that and that there should be no preferential treatment. She also stressed on local government autonomy.
Raymond Dokpesi, endorsed the recommendations of the committee on state creation, he supported the agitations of the people of the South/West and encouraged local government autonomy.
Aniete Okon, from Akwa Ibom, supported unicameral legislature because it will enhance day to day transparency and that it will cut short the cost of governance. He also supported the creation of state for the South/East people.
Charles Ibiang admonished the political class to put the country first before their ambitions. He said the way our politicians cross-carpets is a reflection of their lack of morality and belief in what they stand for.
Sen Ibrahim Ida from Katsina, commended the committee for delivering a great job. On local government reforms, he faulted the provision that allowed states to create their own local government any time they deem it fit to. He said the provision will deprive the local governments of their freedom of existence.
Festus Okoye supported the creation of an additional state in the South/East.
On the issue of local governments, he believes we only pretend to have local governments because most of the states are being run by care takers committees, he proposed that the conference must guarantee the roles of states in running local government.
Ledum Mitee drew attention to the recommendation on the creation of states with particular emphasis on South-East. He argued that the criteria for the creation of states should be watered down to allow people get their state. He said the process of creating a state is onerous.
“What brings Nigerians together. Any political parties that have a certain percentage at the national Assembly should be represented at the federal cabinet. Such moves will reduce the winner takes it all syndrome that we are having today.” Mitee said
Femo Akande said the Conference has been hard on the governors and the local government chairmen without mentioning the Federal Government. He said, “The problem with Nigeria is that we are trying to impellent a system that we are not comfortable with.
“The problems we have now is how to reduce the cost of governance. From 1966 when we had the first coup, we had watered down the federal system. We pretend we are a federation while we are running a unitary system.” He added
He called for the creation of additional state for the South-East to balance the equation and look at other areas that are viable and create states for them.
Mike Ozekhome said the agitation for the creation of an additional state for the South East is to create parity among the other zones in the country.
“I support the recommendation that state should be the federating units and should have their own constitutions.”
The Vice Chairman then announced that a register has been opened to for members to write their names to speak on what should be done to the final report of the Conference.
He noted that since the Conference has just a day to round up plenary, delegates will be selected equally from the six geo-political zones.
Ahmadu Ali said the report of the committee was well-crafted and well delivered but insisted that the committee only traded a horse for a donkey. He said that rotation of power is not negotiable in the country.
“I don’t know what criterion was used in awarding a state for the south-East state. All of us must go and fight to state creation. I said it before that the old eastern region has 11 states.
“I believe that states that wish to merge should merge. Regionalism is retrogressive. The zone we also talk about is a dangerous precedent and is not constitutional. There is an attempt to smuggle it not the report of the Conference.
“There are no indigenes in the Federal Capital Territory, we created it and we know it,” he said as delegates shouted him down.” he said
Kola Bajomo commented on power rotation, saying that Bayo Ojo had clearly enunciated the true position to be adopted by the country.
He argued that the geo-political zones have come to stay, adding that Nigeria should adopt it in the course of sharing power among the various parts of the country.