The National Conference yesterday took a bold and unprecedented step under a democratic dispensation when it approved 18 requests, in principle, for state creation across the country as a way of meeting the yearnings and aspirations of the people. It has also put to rest decades of agitations by promoters of new states.
The resolution was among many others adopted by delegates at plenary while considering the report of the Standing Committee on Political Restructuring and Forms of Government, which was subjected to robust debates.
The approved requests, subject to the amendment of the constitution, were proposed by the committee and they include Apa State from the present Benue, Kainji from Niger State, Katagum from Bauchi State, Savannah State from Borno, Amana from Adamawa, Ghari from Kano, Gurara from Kaduna, Etiti State from the South-East zone, Aba from Abia, Adada from Enugu, Njaba/Anim from both Anambra and Imo States, Ogoja from Cross River, Anioma from Delta, Ijebu from Ogun, New Oyo from the present Oyo State and unnamed others.
Henceforth, it has been resolved that state creation should be on the basis of parity between the geo-political zones to ensure equality of zones.
Power Rotation gets legal backing
Meanwhile, delegates have also resolved that henceforth the office of the President of Nigeria shall rotate between the North and South divide and simultaneously revolve among the six geo-political zones of the country.
This resolution applies to the office of the state governors, which shall be rotated among the three senatorial districts of each state while that of the local government chairmen shall be rotated within the local government areas.
The Committee, among others, had examined Nigeria's attendant political challenges and the need to lay a solid foundation for an all-inclusive and cost-effective system of government which would serve the best interest of Nigeria and Nigerians.
Whenever the President dies in office, is incapacitated, is impeached or resigns, Conference agreed that the Vice President shall take over the position in acting capacity for a period of 90 days during which an election to the office would be conducted in order to allow for each geopolitical zone to run the full course of the constitutionally allowed tenure without undue disruption.
Delegates also agreed that based on the adopted zoning formula, whenever a president leaves under any of the circumstances mentioned above, another president would be elected from the same zone where the previous one came from.
Conference also voted in support of the recommended Modified Presidential System of Government, which is seen as home-made model of government that combines the attributes of Parliamentary and Presidential systems.
New Presidential powers
A President elected under this new system shall exercise full responsibility for his government and shall select not more than 18 ministers from the six geo-political zones of the country.
It was agreed that henceforth, the Minister of Finance and no longer the President as presently obtained, would present the annual budget estimates to the National Assembly.
Conference also voted to retain the existing bicameral legislature instead of the unicameral proposed by the committee.
As the conference is about to finish its business in two weeks' time, delegates have resolved on the need for modalities for the entrenchment of referendum in the Constitution in order to decide the outcome of the confab.