The six Governors of the South-Western states have proposed the conversion of the present six geopolitical zones into federating units, as part of the ongoing review of the 1999 Constitution by the National Assembly.
The South West Governors’ Forum made this proposal in a document presented to South-West members of the National Assembly as part of their contribution to the review of the 1999 constitution.
The Governors in the document also proposed the weakening of the Federal/central government, while advocating for more powers to be allocated to the federating units and states.
In the document, the Governors also proposed that the states or the federating units should have the exclusive powers to create a local government or autonomous administrative units.
The governors also want the states to be in charge of mineral resources within their respective territories.
Recall that the governors had met with the lawmakers in Abuja behind closed doors last week.
Present at the meeting were; Governor of Ondo State and the Chairman, South West Governors’ Forum,Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo State); Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State; Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State; Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun State; Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State and Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State.
Afer the meeting, Akeredolu had said the South-West would be approaching the constitution review with a common front.
He further stated that a committee has been constituted to further push the demands of the governors. The Committee is made up of senators led by Sentor Oyeyemi Bamidele. During the meeting Akeredolu added that the meeting had set up a committee composed of members of the House of Representatives, led by Femi Fakeye, alongside attorney-generals of the Southwest state.
Meanwhile, 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’, the governors sought amendment to Section 3(1) and (3) of the constitution.
The document partly reads, “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.
“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.”
“Section 8(5) and (6) should be expunged. Section 8 (1) and (2) provides for the procedures for creation of state while Section 8(3), (4), (5) and (6) provides for the procedure for creation of local governments.
“However, Section 8(5) and (6) should be expunged to make local government creation the exclusive duty of the state government.”
The governors also proposed that the sentences of the Section 14(4) be changed.
The present version reads, “The composition of the government of a state, a local government council, or any of the agencies of such government or council, and the conduct of the affairs of the government or council or such agencies shall be carried out in such manner as to recognise the diversity of the people within its area of authority and the need to promote a sense of belonging and loyalty among all the people of the federation.”
The proposed version reads, “The composition of the government of the federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, fair representation of individuals and groups and also command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of a particular gender and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that government or in any of its agencies.”
The forum also called for deletion of Section 29(4)(b), which confers adulthood status on a married under-18 woman.
“Section 29(4)(a) and (b) contradicts each other. While (a) says ‘full age means the age of 18 years and above’, (b) says ‘any woman who is married shall be deemed to be full of age.’ This reinforces child marriage which negates the Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989 and the Child’s Rights Act 2003, which outlaws child marriage,” the governors stated in the document.