Adopts 50 percent representation for states, population
BY LEVINUS NWABUGHIOGU
IF the recommendation of the Committee on Political Restructuring and Forms of Government sails through, the country will have a unicameral National Assembly and membership representation shall be 50 percent on the basis of equality of states and 50 percent on the basis of population of each state.
The decision was adopted yesterday after an exhaustive debate, however, it not go down well with some members of the committee who had earlier in the debate proposed that representation should be anchored on 60 percent population and 40 percent for equality of state.
The members who were mainly northerners insisted that 60 percent representation by population and 40 percent through equality of states was a better option for the country.
Similarly, some delegates canvassed for 10 percent representation that would take care of interest of special groups like women, youths and people living with disability.
But when collated and subjected to vote, majority of the members pitched tent with the 50-50 percent options.
It will be recalled that the committee while modifying and adopting a presidential system of government which was an admixture of parliamentary and presidential systems of government adjudged suitable for the Nigerian state had also penultimate week recommended that a unicameral legislature be operated.
Commending the members for the decision, Co-chairman of the committee, Senator Ike Nwachukwu, charged those whose options were jettisoned by the popular vote to show understanding, stressing that it was necessary to put the interest of the nation first.
Speaking to Journalists shortly after the exercise, the Co-Chairman of the Committee, Mohammed Kumaila said: “We agreed that there should be a unicameral legislature with one House of Parliament at the national level as opposed to what we have today.
In taking this decision, we took cognizance of the fact that the Senate as we have today with equality of states as the guiding factor while population is what determines representation at the House of Representatives.
We have to reflect the two factors so that no segment of the State would feel neglected or undermined.
“The decision was based on the need to be fair, futuristic and building the country on a solid foundation because the issue of population is critical. There is no way we can compare Yobe and Kano when it comes to population, so, if we pick 100 percent representation on the basis of population, states like Kano would be disadvantaged as all would have the same number of representatives notwithstanding the number of their population.
“That is why we say the other half of 50 percent should be based on population because the parliament is about representing the people.
Moreover we are also of the opinion that the 50-50 option would be easier to adopt at the plenary as all interests would have been taken care of.”