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Reps on collision course over states’ creation

By Tordue Salem
Members of the House of Representatives holding disparate views on state creation may be on a collision course, as the National Assembly approaches the next phase in the amendment to the 1999 Constitution.

Though a Lagos Court had last week declared earlier adjustments to the document without presidential assent null and void, the Senate insisted the exercise should go on until the Supreme Court gives its verdict, while the Red Chamber had since gone to court over the matter.

But the Deputy Speaker of the House, Usman Bayero Nafada, and his senate counterpart, Ike Ekweremadu, have since the amendment exercise began, told groups that the House and Senate would consider tinkering with section 8 of the constitution to create more states.

But a member of the Green Chamber, Rep. Leo Ogor (PDP/Isoko-Delta), in an exclusive interview with Vanguard, said it was impossible for the National Assembly to create states at the moment.

He went ahead to say the creation of states at present, would be unnecessary and an avoidable burden.

“I will never support the amendment of section 8 of the constitution, because it is a waste of our time.

“We don’t need new states. I think we should even reduce the number of states. I don’t fancy the unitary system of government of administration we are operating today, so the creation of more states will create more avenues of.wasting money.”

“I think it will be an uphill task for those seeking to create more avenues of wasting money. We will fight it with the last drop of our blood,” he said.

Section 8 of the 1999 Constitution states in part that: “An act of the National Assembly for the purpose of creating a new state shall be passed if a request, supported by at least two-thirds majority of the members representing the area demanding the creation of the new State) in each of the following, namely: The Senate and the House of Representatives, the House of Assembly in respect of the area, and the local government councils in respect of the area, is received by the National Assembly”

It will be recalled that contrary to Mr, Ogor’s view, the Deputy Speaker of the House, Rep. Nafada had promised groups clamouring for new states two months ago that the National Assembly would review the section on states creation, with a view to accommodating proposals for more states to be created.

The latest clamour for a new state came barely two weeks ago, when the deputy governor of Delta State, Prof. Amos Utuama, and all the elders’ councils and traditional rulers in Delta State, called for the division of Delta State to create Toru-Ebe State from the present Delta, Edo and Ondo States.

Utuama, who led a delegation of Toru-Ebe State creation movement to the National Assembly, noted that the demand for the creation of the proposed state was aimed at satisfying the long standing yearning and aspirations of the people for self-reliance, peace, stability, self- determination and development.

The request was signed by Senator E.K Clark, Senator James Manager and two members of the House of Representatives, Reps John Halims Agoda, Tamarautare Brisibe and Nicholas Mutu and 149 other prominent Ijaw leaders.


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