Lagos – Gov. Babatunde Fashola of Lagos Sate on Friday said that the country did not require additional states because of the huge cost of running the administrative machinery of the new states.
Fashola argued that most states in the country were currently not viable to justify creation of additional states.
The governor presented the position at a one-day public hearing on the proposed amendment of the 1999 Constitution by the National Assembly, organised by the Lagos State House of Assembly in Ikeja.
‘’Instead of demanding for additional states, what people should ask for is additional Local Governments, ” he said, noting the Local Governments would bring government closer to the people.
The governor noted, however, that the reason why some sections of the country were agitating for the creation of additional Local Governments was hinged on perceived marginalisation.
Fashola said that it had become imperative that the present system, backed by the 1999 Constitution “gives more power to the government at the centre.
‘’Certain powers contained in the exclusive list should be devolved into the concurrent list,’’ he said.
Fahola proposed that education, primary health care, power and creation of Local Government should be the constitutional responsibility of the executive and legislative arms of government at the state level.
He called for the removal of traditional rulers role from the constitution, saying that the system was peculiar to each town or village and could not be uniformly regulated by the constitution.
Commenting on the current revenue sharing formula, the governor canvassed a review of the formula, noting that the principle of true fiscal federalism should be adhered to.
He suggested that the ratio should be Federal Government 25 per cent, State Government 45 per cent, Derivation 25 per cent and Intervention Fund five per cent.
Speaking on the call for the removal of the immunity clause, the governor said it should be retained in the constitution to guard against distraction.
In his contribution, Sen. Olorunmibe Mamora cautioned callers for the review of the constitution, so as not to turn the constitution into a village meeting minutes book.
Mamora said that Nigerians should not think that constitution would solve all the nation’s problems.
‘’The beauty of a constitution is not the elegance or language but the readiness of the people to respect the constitution.
‘’The constitution should not be amended regularly. What is appropriate is to have a National Assembly that will put up a constituent Assembly,’’ he said. (NAN)