24 November 2012

Nigeria: Amaechi Pushes for Two Federating Units, Devolution of Power

Port Harcourt — Rivers State Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has proposed the creation of two federating units between the states and federal government for inclusion in the ongoing constitutional review.

He spoke when members of the House of Representatives Committee on Youth and Social Development led by Hon. Kamil Akinlabi Mudashiru visited him in Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday.

Amaechi said, "there are only two federating units in most countries in the world .... In Germany, there are two federating units. In America, there are local governments but there are only two federating units - the states and the federal government.

The local counties (or what we call councils) are not part of the federating unit. So I urge the National Assembly to disregard this talk of autonomy for Local Government Councils that would make the Councils one of the federating units. We will not support it. Governors will not support. "

On financial autonomy for the state legislature, Amaechi, who is also the Chairman of Nigerian Governors Forum(NGF) said governors and the legislature should meet and discuss how much money the states get and how much both the legislature and the judiciary could get, so that the executive could still carry out its responsibilities.

"No matter what you do or say, the responsibility of disbursing resources still lies in the hands of the executive. Now if you compel by law of the constitution that the governors pay whatever the Assembly passes as law, then you cripple the poor states in the North and probably in the South-East and probably some of the states in the South-West because budget is an estimate," he said.

He said the state governments' bid to support the country's democracy should be strengthened by allowing state governors have concurrent powers in some areas.

He again called for devolution of power, saying, "The Federal Government is making the state governors not to keep to their responsibilities to their states. We are carrying too many responsibilities that belong to the federal government.

".... So the best thing to do is that the powers of the federal government be devolved heavily and I mean heavily downwards, so that the states can perform some of those functions", he added.

Earlier, Hon. Kamil Akinlabi Mudashiru, Chairman of the House Committee on Youth and Social Development said they were in the state to see the State NYSC Camp and thanked the Rivers State Governor for meeting the needs of serving Youth Corps members in the state.

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