Governors in the South-West region have proposed conversion of the present six geo-political zones into federating units, as part of the ongoing review of the 1999 Constitution.
The South West Governors’ Forum, in a document presented to members of the National Assembly from the geopolitical zone, also made other proposals to weaken central government, while allocating more powers to the federating units and states, The Punch reports.
According to The Punch, a document containing the proposals by the governors was presented to the South-West caucus of the National Assembly on Tuesday. The governors had met with the lawmakers in Abuja behind closed doors last week.
Governors at the meeting were Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo State), who is also the Chairman of the South West Governors’ Forum; Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti State), Gboyega Oyetola (Osun), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos) and Dapo Abiodun (Ogun).
After the meeting, Akeredolu had said the South-West would be approaching the constitution amendment with a common front.
He added that the meeting had set a committee made of up senators led by the caucus chairman (Opeyemi Bamidele) and House of Representatives caucus chairman (Femi Fakeye) and attorneys-generals of the South-West 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.”
The governors also want the states to be in charge of mineral resources within their respective territories.
Consequently, they have proposed an amendment to Section 44(3) that vests exploitation of mineral oils and natural gas in the Federal Government.
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