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Should The Six Geopolitical Zones Become Federating Units In Nigeria?

Posted by on Feb 11th, 2013 and filed under Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

One issue that is critical to the development of the country is the high cost of governance. Thus, Nigerians have had cause to suggest the collapsing of the 36 states structure in favour of the six geo-political zones as federating units.

Following this, The Tide correspondent, Calista Ezeaku sought the views of Nigerians on the issue.

Excerpts

 

Ordinarily, on paper, we say we practise a federated State. But in practice, that is not the true position because if you say you practice true federalism, the states should mange their own resources and give a certain percentage to the federal government. But what is in practice in the country is a situation where by the federal government controls all the resources and dishes out to the state the way it pleases it. That is not true federalism. So as a country we need to practise true federalism by allowing the states manage their own resources.

So obviously, I am in support of the six geo political zones becoming federating units. These units will manage their resources and give to the federal government what ever percentage they have agreed as a democratic body, as people who have agreed to stay together as a nation. They give back to the federal government a percentage of their earnings.  If this is truly practised, the states individually whether geopolitical or as they are right now, will want to make sure that they produce and make the economy of their states blossom because now they will no longer be relying on the federal government. The federal government will rather be relying on them to sustain its structure.

But now, it is the other way round. The federal government is the almighty structure on ground. While the states look up to it for their allocations. Because of this some states do not produce any thing. They just sit back and wait for the allocation to come from the federal government, whether they work or not. Meanwhile, other states are doing every thing to get resources out and every other state is depending on it. But by the time it is the other way round and practiced the way it should be practiced, each state will begin to look in ward and produce something.

The heavens have endowed each state with something but rather the drive for quick out money is killing the other sectors of  the economy. But if true federalism is allowed, every state will begin to produce and see the potentials that they have. They will explore it and it will be to the maximum use of the nation as a whole and the so called power of the federal government because of the money that is there right now, will be minimized.

Although there are some fears that if the states become autonomous, the black man knowing who we are we’ll want to be effective in our power because there may be no limitation but if the government is ready for it, every thing will be well spelt out. And one of the things that will help is the removal of immunity clause for our leaders, because if any body who is in a place of authority violates the rights of other people because he is an autonomous government, a state governor as it were, and do things the way he ought not to do, if he knows that he can be fired even while there, I think it will help resolve a lot of issues.

 

Mrs Lilian Okonkwo, Journalist

Well I think the six geopolitical zones should become federated units in Nigeria because  that will give the people a voice and bring about rapid development of  the country. Before now, we had three regions – the Eastern, Western and Northern which functioned very effectively. So, I think if the six zones become federated units, governance will be easier and it will give a voice to every ethnic group in Nigeria. Of course you know that the geopolitical zones we have now is not constitutional.

They were created out of political need. But when you make them federated units, it becomes constitutional, go there is this request now that it should be constitutionalised, although some people in the north are kicking against it. Those of them who feel that democracy is a game of number are saying that they have over 50 percent of Nigeria’s population, so equating them with other zones like South South and south who they say are lower in number, will affect them, while these other people in the south feel it will help them.

So the geo-political zones were created as a political need, to reach out to every ethnic group in the country. And if it is serving that purpose, then why not constitutionalise it and make them federated units.

But even when you make the zones federated units and true federalism is not practiced, there will still be problem. Let there be true federalism. Nigeria is a Federal Republic but we have several issues as a result of not practicing federalism in the true sense of it.

So, what ever we are doing, let us do it right. The emphasis is on doing it right. If we do it right it’s going to work. I will also advise that politicians should forget about political or self interest and work for the good of the country.

 

Mr Ikechi Akpuh:

The original aim of creating the six geopolitical zones was to harness the multi-ethnic interests in Nigeria. So the zones were politically divided. But since then it has not actually yielded the desired result. So, I don’t think if the current geopolitical zones become federated units, it will really make any difference.

The truth is that the six geopolitical zones have caused more problems because it helps to promote ethnic interest. Everybody wants to attract things to his / her zone and by that they have forgotten about Nigeria as an entity. Making the six geo-political zones, federated units will not solve the problems in Nigeria. The only solution is that we should respect our constitution and forget about the geo-political zones. Nigeria is an entity. Our interest should be Nigeria and Nigeria alone. Any thing outside Nigeria and the constitution of Nigeria will cause more problem. Let us obey our constitution and remain one Nigeria.

I call for true federalism as an entity called Nigeria and not six federating units in one country. Those things will cause more problems and promote ethnic interest. And when a country is going like that, it’s a time bomb.

 

Mr Goddy Ekikpoye, Student

I think the six geopolitical zones should become federated units, because they are closer to the people that the current system of government in Nigeria, where the interest of some people, especially the minority groups are not protected it will bring government nearer to the people and there will be faster development of the units and in effect, the entire country. I don’t think there is any need pretending that the federal system we have in place now is working when we know that it is not working. Let the six geopolitical zones – South South, South East, South West, North West, North East and Central be made federated unit.

Yon see, one characteristics of the six zones is that they are made up of people that have one or two things in common language, culture, history or what have you. So, let each zone form its government, administer, themselves and manager their resources and the heads of the units may be premires or what ever, will be accountable to the President of the Federal Republic.

This will promote healthy competition among the units and all of them will strive discover and develop their potentials instead of all the states relying on oil Monday as it is presently the case.

 

Mr Augustine Taneeh, Publisher.

In my opinion, making the six geo-political zones federating units is not a bad idea. But the snag we have in the country is implementation. For example, we say we are operating a federal system of government. We have federal, state and local government. It has never worked. You find a situation where the federal government will like to control the states and the states want to control the local governments.

So, the federating units will only work when we have respect for the rule of law. But if we don’t have respect for the rule of law, it will just be on paper and on our lips and it will not be put into practice. Ideally, becoming federating units will make the zones autonomous and bring out rapid development in the country but will the federated units be given the free hand to practice true federalism, so for the federated units to produce the expected good results, they should be allowed to operate and manage themselves and their resources. That is why I said we should have respect for the rule of law because if we have respect for the rule of law, you’ll know that these are autonomous states, these are wheat they should do one their own, you allow them. For example, look at what is happening in the country today the local government areas are not allowed to use their allocations freely. You see the state government fingering into local government allocations. So the bottom line is respect for rule of law.

 

Barr Piomikei Amadi-Operaeli, Lawyer

Ordinarily, on paper, we say we practise a federated State. But in practice, that is not the true position because if you say you practice true federalism, the states should mange their own resources and give a certain percentage to the federal government. But what is in practice in the country is a situation where by the federal government controls all the resources and dishes out to the state the way it pleases it. That is not true federalism. So as a country we need to practise true federalism by allowing the states manage their own resources.

So obviously, I am in support of the six geo political zones becoming federating units. These units will manage their resources and give to the federal government what ever percentage they have agreed as a democratic body, as people who have agreed to stay together as a nation. They give back to the federal government a percentage of their earnings.  If this is truly practised, the states individually whether geopolitical or as they are right now, will want to make sure that they produce and make the economy of their states blossom because now they will no longer be relying on the federal government. The federal government will rather be relying on them to sustain its structure.

But now, it is the other way round. The federal government is the almighty structure on ground. While the states look up to it for their allocations. Because of this some states do not produce any thing. They just sit back and wait for the allocation to come from the federal government, whether they work or not. Meanwhile, other states are doing every thing to get resources out and every other state is depending on it. But by the time it is the other way round and practiced the way it should be practiced, each state will begin to look in ward and produce something.

The heavens have endowed each state with something but rather the drive for quick out money is killing the other sectors of  the economy. But if true federalism is allowed, every state will begin to produce and see the potentials that they have. They will explore it and it will be to the maximum use of the nation as a whole and the so called power of the federal government because of the money that is there right now, will be minimized.

Although there are some fears that if the states become autonomous, the black man knowing who we are we’ll want to be effective in our power because there may be no limitation but if the government is ready for it, every thing will be well spelt out. And one of the things that will help is the removal of immunity clause for our leaders, because if any body who is in a place of authority violates the rights of other people because he is an autonomous government, a state governor as it were, and do things the way he ought not to do, if he knows that he can be fired even while there, I think it will help resolve a lot of issues.

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