*Sharia, state creation, revenue sharing dominate public hearing
By Abdulsalam Muhammed
States creation and reversal of the revenue allocation to favour states and local governments yesterday topped the demands of Nigerians across the country as they trooped out to make inputs into the new constitution to take effect in 2013.
The occasion was the public hearing held by the House of Representatives in the nation’s 360 federal constituencies.
Shariah was high on the demand in Kano State where there were protests over the alleged non-inclusion of the Muslim legal system on the list of items to be reviewed in the 1999 Constitution.
A member of the House of Representatives in the state also narrowly escaped death after a mob attacked him in one of venues of the public hearing over alleged poor representation.
In Ogun State, confusion trailed the exercise as some people kicked against the modality adopted by the facilitators.
Imo, Enugu and Cross River people voted for state creation among others while Bayelsa people craved for 100 percent resource control.
The speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Waziri Tambuwal, said the public hearing would produce a constitution that has wider wider scope of consultations and inclusiveness.
Tambuwal, who represents Tambuwal/Kebbe federal constituency, Sokoto State spoke in Tambuwal during the public hearing held in the town.
Sharia protests rock Kano
Echoes of Sharia reverberated across the 24 centres designated for public hearing on the proposed amendment of the Constitution of the Republic in Kano weekend as Muslim faithful protest the non inclusion of Sharia in the list of items to be reviewed by the National Assembly.
In what look like coordinated actions, reports across the 24 federal constituencies where large crowd turned out for the public hearing almost degenerate to a religious centre as clerics who had invaded the venue openly preached against the exercise describing as a “jamboree and wasteful venture”.
In municipal councils, proceedings were abruptly wounded up following reports of an attack on the member representing Gwale federal constituency, Yushari Bashir Galadanci, by a mob over what they called his “poor representation and lack of patronage” since he was elected to the Green Chamber.
The serene atmosphere degenerated as a huge crowd waiting to gain entrance into the main arena shouted “bamayi bamayi” (we don’t want you ) on sighting the lawmaker that had arrived the scene in company of pockets of loyalists.
The crowd surge forward menacingly and Galadance that was fully conscious of the consequence of the mob action retreated to his car and sped off.
The development forced other political office holders to stay away from the venue of the public hearing as majority of the issues presented were rejected except local government autonomy, state assembly autonomy and abolition of State Independent Electoral Commission.
Enugu backs state creation, opposes state police
The creation of an additional state in the South East zone and in Enugu State in particular received a unanimous endorsement at the public hearing on the review of the 1999 Constitution.
The eight Federal Constituencies where the exercise took place recorded impressive attendance as eminent personalities in the various constituencies addressed the constituents.
In Enugu North/Enugu South Federal Constituency Forum organised by Rep Ofor Chukwuegbo, Senators Jim Nwobodo and Ken Nnamani addressed the participants.
They applauded the decision of the Reps to bring the exercise down to the people saying the long clamour for a national conference had been achieved through the exercise.
At the session held at Obollor headquarters of Udenu Local Government, participants unanimously demanded the creation of Adada State.
They stated that they were ready to concede every other item as contained in the template document for voting on the constitution for the realization of the proposed state.
Bayelsa constituency demands 100 percent resource control
Indigenes of Yenagoa/ Kolokuma/Opokuma Federal Constituency in Bayelsa State demanded that states be allowed 100 per cent control of their natural resources and pay taxes to the Federal Government.
The demand for resource control was made in a unanimous vote by the people at the Yenagoa/Kolokuma/Opokuma federal constituency public hearing held at the De-Prize multi-purpose hall in Yenagoa.
The event, which was chaired and moderated by Chief Festus Lot, witnessed a large turnout of community leaders, youth groups and women groups from the various communities in the constituency.
In his submission, Barrister Inemo Oruebimiekumo called for the accordance of political authority to enable the federating states control their natural resources.
Confusion in Ogun
Pandemonium almost broke out in four local government areas of Ogun State at the public session on the review of the constitution.
The constituencies kicked against the modalities adopted by the facilitators.
Most of the federal constituencies in the state recorded rowdy sessions as people booed their representatives while alleging a foul play.
The four local governments, Abeokuta South, Remo North, Sagamu and Ikenne had rowdy sessions amidst rejection of the exercise.
In Abeokuta South, the audience booed their representatives, Segun Williams, accusing him of poorly representing them.
But, in Remo Federal constituency, the member representing the area at the lower chamber, Bukunola Taofeek Buraimo, resisted an alleged attempt by the chairmen of three local governments in the constituency to subdue the wishes of the people.
In Imo, state creation is it
The session at Aboh Mbaise/Ngor Okpala federal constituency, Imo State commenced after hundreds of constituents started thronging the Mbutu Secondary School venue of the programme as early as 8am.
Representative of the constituency and deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, in his address, told the gathering that the essence of the exercise was to ensure grassroots participation by aggregating the views of the people for onward transmission to the House of Representatives.
Voting was done on about 18 items slated for consideration on the template. Issues that elicited the most consideration included state creation, the indigeneship question, financial autonomy for State Houses of Assembly, role of traditional rulers, among others.
Ekiti: No constitutional role for monarchs
The people of Ekiti State voted unanimously that there should be no defined and specific roles for the monarchs in the new constitution.
The session was attended by the six members of the House of Reps from the state led by Hon Opeyemi Bamidele , who represents Ado/Irepodun/Ifelodun Federal Constituency and top traditional rulers, as well as civil and human rights societies.
C’ River opposes creation of state for South East
A section of the people of Cross River State opposed the call for the creation of additional state for the South East.
The people of Obubra/Etung constituency based their opposition on the premise that it would joepardise their chances of having Ogoja State.
The people also opposed the lamendment of Section 214 (1) of the 1999 Constitution to enable for the creation of state police in the country.
Ebonyi constituencies call for creation of more states
THE Afikpo North/ South constituency called on the Federal Government to strike a balance in the creation of states within the six geopolitical zones of the country in order to ensure even distribution of resource among states.
The amendment exercise, which went to through a question and answer procedure, saw the people of the constituency giving a-yes-voice-vote to the creation of more states for the South East for the purpose of equilibrium, that the House of Assembly be granted financial autonomy as it is with the National Assembly, abolishment of the state joint local government account, LGs properly assuming a third tier of government, tenures of LG Chairmen and Councillors be defined, abolishment of the State Electoral Independent Commission, rotation of the Presidency among the six geopolitical zones of the country among others.
Edo roots for local govt autonomy
THE people’s public session on the review of the 1999 constitution held successfully in the nine federal constituencies in Edo State with majority of the people of the state, calling for amendment that will ensure complete independent of local government councils.
Borno: Revenue allocation must favour states
In Borno State, Governor Kashim Shettima called for the review of federal allocation in favour of the state and local governments, as they are closest to the people.
Reports from Sokoto said a former Minister of Finance and one time Nigerian High Commissioner to United Kingdom, Alhaji Abubakar Alhaji observed that there should be a clear demarcation of responsibility between states and federal government in the funding of security agencies in order