The Chairman of the South-West Governors’ Forum, Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, has asked the Federal Government to shed itself of the excess weight it has appropriated over time.
Akeredolu declared that the present arrangement “is the major cause of friction in the country and reason for politics of bitterness”.
The governor, who insisted that the current system was not sustainable, said that the Federal Government should only coordinate and receive royalties.
He said this at the Public Hearing by the Senate Committee on Review of the 1999 Constitution in Akure, the Ondo State capital, yesterday.
“All the agitations of the peoples of this country must be looked into with a view to improving the economic power of the average citizens.
“The best way possible is to allow each region flower in its areas of comparative advantage.
“The behemoth called the Federal Government must shed the excess weight unduly appropriated over time. It is the major cause of friction.
“It is the reason for the politics of bitterness. It explains why everyone wants the power at the centre. It promotes ethnic chauvinists and encourages mediocrity.
“The new law must view, critically, the current misnomer which sees the Federal Government appropriating humongous amounts for moribund agencies whose duties overlap with those of the states.
“The fiscal policy of the country must be restructured to encourage ingenuity and uncommon resourcefulness.
“The Federal Government should only coordinate and receive royalties. The current system is not sustainable. All of us are beginning to appreciate this fact.
“The current exercise will derive its legitimacy if taken to the people for revalidation.
“Nothing must be taken for granted. Everyone must be treated as an equal partner in this whole enterprise of nation-building.
“The constitution of a country should reflect the aggregate of the realistic expectations of the components parts which form the union.
“It is the basic law which must define the powers and responsibilities of the offices created to serve the people.
“It must address the possible areas of anxiety. Nothing must be taken as given. All aspects of concern must be looked into with a view to reaching a consensus.
“All disparate aspirations must be harnessed to evolve a national ethos. No section of the country must feel short-changed.”
“The document produced must be a true reflection of collective bargaining and concessions secured in an ambiance of frank exchanges among members of the same family.
“The current attempt at Constitution amendment should be taken beyond the usual jamboree conceived and executed to arrive at predetermined result.
Akeredolu advocated for the return to the 1973 Constitution describing it as “the best practicable guide towards nationhood”.
According to him, “The 1963 Constitution retained regionalism and upheld the principle of autochthony, an organic development of the law using local experiences.
“The Republican status of the country was reflected. Each region had considerable latitude to blossom at her own pace. There was devolution of powers in the true sense of the term.
“This was the period when even outsiders noticed the potential greatness of the nascent post colonial country.
“The major provisions which allowed the three regions which existed before independence were retained in the 1963 Constitution.”
“That remains the best document for a country as heterogeneous as Nigeria. It was the best practicable guide towards nationhood.
The governor said, “Unfortunately, the military coup of 1966 destroyed that when it abolished regionalism and created the so-called provinces while imposing a unitary system on the country.
“Any honest analyst will agree that this act marked the beginning of the crises of confidence among the peoples of this country.
“This gross commission led to the civil war and the attendant loss of lives and property on monumental scale.
“The country still smarts from the effects the needless war among brothers till date.
“The 1979 Constitution was a departure from the 1963’s but it lacked originality. The 1995 Sani Abacha document was not used for a day.
“The 1999 Constitution has been described as a document which tells lies against itself. It was just decreed into existence by the departing military. This explains the several amendments in barely two decades of its existence.
“The current exercise, therefore, must not toe the path of the previous attempts at tokenism.
“The basic law of any country must not be reduced to frivolities reflecting preferred whimsies.
“It must not be oppressive of the minorities. Its provisions must indeed give teeth to the primary purpose for which the government exists.
“No provision of the law must not be justifiable as Chapter Two of the current 1999 Constitution seeks to impress on us.
The Leader of the committee, Senator Ajayi Boroffice, said that the review provides a platform for Nigerians to express their opinions on the fundamental law that governs their lives through proposals that will lead to the highest good for the greatest number of our people.
Boroffice said, “No doubt, we are going to have diverse and differing views on the different themes of the exercise. However, the focus for this committee is how to manage the review exercise in a fair, inclusive, credible, and transparent manner.
“Public Hearings are critical to participatory democracy and indispensable in a Constitution amendment exercise if the Constitution is to be seen as the people’s Constitution.
He noted that, “These Zonal Public Hearings have been designed in such a manner as to give citizens greater opportunities to make inputs more than ever before in the Constitution amendment process.
Similarly, the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, yesterday, demanded state police, fiscal federalism and a special economic status for the state as constitutional review public hearing begin across the country.
Sanwo-Olu made the demands at the opening of the two-day Senate Zonal Public Hearing on the Review of the 1999 Constitution under the leadership of Senator Oluremi Tinubu, held at Marriot Hotel, Ikeja, in Lagos State, according to a statement by the state government.
He said, “For us in Lagos State, the issues of state police and fiscal federalism are at the top of the priority list for us, in this ongoing review process. Equally fundamental, particularly for us in Lagos State, is the issue of a special economic status for Lagos, considering our place in the national economy and the special burdens we bear by virtue of our large population and limited landmass.
“I believe the need for this special status has been sufficiently articulated and justified. It suffices for me at this point to restate that this request is by no means a selfish one, but one that is actually in the interest of every Nigerian and of Nigeria as a nation.
“The progress and prosperity of Nigeria is inextricably linked to the progress and prosperity of Lagos State. A special status for Lagos State, therefore, must be a concern not only for the people of Lagos State alone, but for all Nigerians.”
Sanwo-Olu also called on all Nigerians within the zone being covered by the Senate Committee on Constitutional amendment to embrace the opportunity of the zonal hearing so that their voices and opinions will count in the amended constitution that will emerge.
Sanwo-Olu, who commended the leadership and members of the National Assembly for responding to the concerns of Nigerians on the need to carry out a review of the 1999 Constitution to reflect current realities, assured them of the Lagos State Government support in any way necessary to make the assignment easier and highly rewarding for all Nigerians.
Representatives of several states, town, communities, associations and civil society organisations spoke on several issues that have to do with states creation, gender equality and special status, among others.
Kano Tribunal Judgment, Slap On Constitutionalism, Rule Of Law -NNPP
The New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) has described the judgment of the Kano State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal that nullified the election of Governor Abba Kabiru Yusuff as a slap in the face of constitutionalism and the rule of law.
In a signed statement made available to newsmen by its acting national chairman, Abba Kawu Ali, the NNPP said its candidate won convincingly in the March 18, 2023, election, which it described as free, credible, and globally acclaimed as a fair election.
He said the pronouncement of the 3-man tribunal is laughable and a pure miscarriage of justice, which is capable of eroding the confidence of the electorate in the judiciary.
He, however, called on the party’s supporters across Nigeria to remain calm as the party will appeal the tribunal’s judgement.
“The New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) receives with utter incredulity and disbelief the judgment of the Kano State Election Petition Tribunal on the March 18, 2023, Governorship Election.
“The reported judgement nullified the free, credible, and globally acclaimed fair election of our gubernatorial candidate, Engr. Abba Kabiru Yusuf, and brazenly awarded the election to the APC candidate, Nasiru Gawuna.
“The Tribunal arrived at this unjust judgment by unfairly subtracting 165,663 votes from the governor’s tally to enable it to unfairly award the result to the candidate of the ruling APC.
“In doing so, the tribunal obviously affirms its belief that the vote tally of the APC candidate was sacrosanct.
“The judgment of the 3-man Kano State Governorship Election Petition is laughable and nothing but a pure miscarriage of justice.
“The decision of the Tribunal is a slap in the face of constitutionalism and the rule of law and is capable of further discouraging the electorate from having confidence in the judiciary.
“The NNPP recalls with regret that this Tribunal has simply replayed the unholy script of 2019 by overturning the will of the people and awarding results to those who evidently lost the election.
“The NNPP will appeal this most unfair judgement.
We call on millions of our supporters in Kano and in the rest of the country to remain calm and maintain peace. A lopsided judgment cannot stand on the altar of justice”, he said.
Ondo Assembly Moves To Impeach Dep Gov
Indications emerged on Wednesday, that members of the Ondo State House of Assembly have commenced the process of impeaching the state Deputy Governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa.
This is coming following an emergency plenary session summoned by the House of Assembly on Wednesday, with heavy presence of security men at the Assembly gate.
The Tide source gathered that at least 23 lawmakers have already appended their signatures, supporting the impeachment notice against Aiyedatiwa.
A source disclosed that the Deputy Governor is under investigation for alleged gross misuse of office and might be eased out of office through impeachment.
According to the source, trouble started when Aiyedatiwa reportedly approved the sum of N300 million for the purchase of a bulletproof SUV for his personal use.
The source said the approval was allegedly given while the state Governor was recuperating in Germany and it was approved without the knowledge of the governor.
He said the Deputy Governor further complicated matters when he ordered that the N300 million should be sourced from the Palliative fund.
He said “This fund, provided by the Federal government, was intended to support states in addressing the needs of their citizens.”
The source said the impeachment proceedings underscore the Assembly’s commitment to accountability, even at the highest levels of state governance.
Further developments in this case were being awaited as the situation continued to unfold.
Bauchi Tribunal Upholds Gov Mohammed’s Election
The Bauchi State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has upheld the victory of Governor Bala Mohammed in the March 18, 2023 governorship election.
Delivering the judgment on Wednesday, Chairman of the three-man panel of the Tribunal, Justice P.T Kwahar, dismissed the petition of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakr (rtd), who challenged result of the election.
The tribunal held that the petitioners failed to prove their allegations of non-compliance with the Electoral Act, electoral irregularities as well as bypass of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (B-VAS) machines in some polling units of Toro, Dass, Zaki, Itas-Gadau, Alkaleri, Bauchi, Tafawa Balewa, Ningi, Dambam and Ganjuwa Local Government Areas.The Tribunal held that there was no tangible evidence to show that the BVAS was truly manipulated.The judge explained that the witnesses brought by the petitioner presented evidence based on hearsay as they were not present at the polling units, “they have failed to establish beyond reasonable doubt that the APC candidate won the election.”
“This court therefore returns the second respondent as the elected governor of Bauchi state by the first respondent in the conduct of the governorship election of the 18th of March, 2023,” he held.
SMEs3 days ago
Revamp Technical, Skills Acquisition Centres – CEO
News3 days ago
Arms Mop-Up: Police Plan Clampdown On VIPs, Cultists
Politics1 day ago
Court Stops PDP From Dissolving Rivers EXCO
Business1 day ago
Redeployed Customs Officers Assume Office At New Posts
News4 days ago
PAP Flags Off Aviation Training Programme For Ex-agitators
Rivers3 days ago
Rivers Civil Service Commission Begins Physical Interview For Successful Applicants
News1 day ago
Tinubu Celebrates First Lady At 63
Editorial1 day ago
As UNGA Meets …