By Henry Umoru
ABUJA — CHAIRMAN, Senate Committee on the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Senator Smart Adeyemi, PDP, Kogi West, weekend, alleged that the governors were frustrating the review of the 1999 Constitution.
According to him, it was ironical that while the governors demand for more powers for states from the Federal Government, they were against freedom for another tier of government.
Adeyemi told newsmen, weekend, in Abuja: “If the President can ask the EFCC to investigate the governors, two-third of them will go to jail because what they are doing is a breach of the constitution.
“They are opposed to state creation because they believe it will reduce their empires. They are against the removal of immunity clause because they don’t want their atrocities exposed while in office and they are against the autonomy of the state assemblies because they want to enslave them.
“If we have governors who are progressives, the constitution amendment would be successful. They will not allow the constitution amendment to be successful. They are going to derail it.
“The fundamental aspect of the constitution amendment is the autonomy. If we cannot get the state assemblies to be autonomous, there will be no development and the standard of living of the people will be static.
“How can one individual be determining the freedom of a whole state? It is for the media and the civil society to rise up against the governors and allow people to have their freedom.”
On whether the Senate was helpless, he said: “With the provision of the constitution handed over to us by the military, we have to obey and respect the content and spirit of the constitution.
“We cannot amend the constitution without getting two-third of the state assemblies concurring with us. And the governors are also saying that they don’t want the autonomy of local government.
“Were the local governments created by state governors themselves? The local government reform of 1976 was meant to bring governance closer to the people, and subsequent constitution amendments recognised local government as the third tier of government.
“The governors are demanding more powers for the states from the Federal Government, while they are against freedom for another tier of government.
“The states were not created to ensure a true federal structure. In creating a state, factors such as norms, cultures, values and linguistics are taken into consideration. That is why states are not equal in the US. People agree to live together.
“How can they be against local government autonomy? Sitting on the resources meant for local government is unconstitutional. State governors siphon these funds to a point that some local governments cannot even pay salary.”