By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
LAGOS — Former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Mr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), has called on the National Assembly to embark on a radical restructuring of the country that would see the present 36 states collapse into six union states.
Agbakoba at a press briefing in Lagos, yesterday, said the six regions that would emerge should have independent Police and judicial systems.
Noting that Nigeria would be 50 years in three years time, he said there was no more argument that the country, as it presently stands, is a failure and hence the need for a radical restructuring that would jumpstart the country into the path of development.
Agbokoba, who said the National Assembly was the only body presently positioned to carry out the reforms without the resort to anarchy, noted that states in the geo-political zones should be knocked down to form unions such as Union of South West and that such states should be linked by mutual infrastructure like rail.
Agbokoba who is also a member of the National Judicial Council, NJC, further argued that each union should have state police and state courts with regional Court of Appeal.
He argued that land matters originating in Ore in Ondo State for instance need not get to the Supreme Court.
“Since amalgamation of the Southern and Northern Protectorates in 1914, the National Question of a Peoples Constitution has continued to stare us, the diverse ethnic nationalities, in the face. Nigeria has failed and never confronted the issue of a Peoples Constitution. A Peoples Constitution is about an agreed framework for co-existence among our diverse ethnic national ties.”
Noting that the problems facing the country could be redressed through a genuine constitution emanating from the National Assembly, he said:
““The 7th NASS should therefore hit the ground running by confronting this matter and resolving this lingering and outstanding issue once and for all by producing a People”s Constitution.””
““A legitimate Constitution is the vital framework we need to go forward. This is what a People”s Constitution represents,” he said. While calling for piecemeal amendments to the constitution, he said the process should be focused on reducing the powers of the Federal Government which he claimed to be overwhelming at present.
According to him the powers of the Federal Government at present overwhelmed those of all 36 states and 774 local governments put together.
““The FG exercises power by virtue of 68 items on the exclusive list of the Constitution and also exercise further power by virtue of 30 items on the concurrent list. The States actually exercise power at the pleasure of Federal Government,”” he said.