By Ben AGANDE & Inalegwu SHAIBU
ABUJAâ€” -THE Senate yesterday affirmed that state creation will top its agenda in the next phase of amendments to be made to the 1999 Constitution by the National Assembly.
Senateâ€™s spokesman, Senator Ayogu Eze who briefed Senate Correspondents at the National Assembly complex in Abuja however warned that only states that meet constitutional requirements will be created.
Eze who also talked briefly on the harmonised version of the 1999 said that state governors will not interfere in the passage of the bill at the Houses of Assembly.
Senator Eze said that the Senate is out to prove to Nigerians that section 9 of the 1999 Constitution can indeed be amended to pave way for new states to be created by a democratic government.
He said, â€œWe are already getting ourselves ready for the next phase of the amendment to the Constitution. Because there is a need for us to prove because there is also scepticism from Nigerians that state cannot be created under a civilian dispensation.
â€œWe want to prove in the next outing that indeed our democracy has come of age and we can through mutual discussion, through dialogue, debate and consensus building amongst ourselves restructure and realign the political structure of Nigeria in a manner that will be useful and beneficial and satisfy the aspiration of Nigerians.â€
Senator Eze stressed that the Senate will create new states at the end of amendment only if such states will not endanger national security.
His words, â€œWhen we start, we are going to take request for state creation on their merits. We be will be guided by the basic provision in section 9 and the relevant section in the Constitution and we are also going to be guided above all by some of the evidential parameters, such as viability, the ability of such a state if created to promote peace, harmony and the growth of the Nigerian state, because any state creation that will be rancorous, unfortunately, we will stare away from it.â€
Warning state agitators, he said; â€œMy advice is that those who are requesting for state must go and organise themselves properly and do it consensually and come up with a request that is in accord with the provision of the 1999 Constitution. Hopefully, 1999 Constitution as amended or as altered by the time we get the response of the Houses of Assembly.â€
On the assurance of non interference from state governors, he said; â€œThe intelligence at my disposal does not suggest that the governors want against the alteration of the constitution. The discussions we get from the governors are that they are very willing and will do anything to make sure that the constitution is amended.
â€œMore so when everybody saw the constitutional difficulties that we all passed through recently, if the President who is beneficial of it is not complaining, I do not see any reason why any governor will want to stand against it. We are not saying that we want to take away your power, we are saying that if you not in the office, somebody should be there to do the work.