.Releases Thematic Areas, Calls for Memos
By Omeiza Ajayi & Stephanie Afer
ABUJA: The committee set up by the ruling All Progressives Congress APC to articulate its position on the vexed issue of restructuring has dismissed fears that it was working at cross-purposes with the National Assembly, restating the position of the party to forward the framework for the implementation of its recommendations to its members in government.
At a news conference Thursday in Abuja, the committee’s secretary, Sen. Olubunmi Adetunmbi also reeled out thematic areas that the committee would expect members of the public to submit memoranda on.
“There is no monopoly of ideas and the party felt that in view of the ongoing discussions in the country about the state of federalism, it is good for the party to understand exactly what its role is and what its definitions of the issues are. And in doing so, the party felt in its wisdom that public consultation is necessary and that is what we are doing. And it does not foreclose any other body within the country from doing its own work. The issue of conflict with the National Assembly does not arise because this exercise is not trying to make laws; it is trying to understand what is the popular demand of the people that the party can use to advocate within its membership in the National Assembly for necessary constitutional amendment ideas; and do not forget that constitutional amendment is not a once in a lifetime opportunity, it is once in four years. So, the fact that the National Assembly is going through a process does not foreclose public discussion and debate on what should happen and what needs to change and there is always a timetable and an opportunity to take such ideas and form them into necessary laws and what have you by the National Assembly”, said Adetunmbi.
Director General of the Progressive Governors’ Forum, Salihu Mohammed Lukman on his part welcomed the decision of the Northern Governors’ Forum to hold separate public hearing on restructuring, saying “on this issue, there is no monopoly of ideas. All opinions are welcome”.
On the thematic areas that the committee would be receiving public inputs on, Adetunmbi listed them as; “Creation/Merger of States: Should Nigeria create more states or not; should states be merged, if so, what should be the framework and guidelines?
“Derivation Principle: What percentage of federal collectable resources should be given back to their sources, e.g. crude oil, solid minerals, VAT?
“Devolution of Powers: What items on the exclusive legislative list should be transferred to the recurrent list to enable states have direct responsibility e.g. state & community police, prisons, etc?
“Federating Units: Should the Nigerian federation be based on regions or zones as units or maintain the current 36 state structure?
“Fiscal Federalism and Revenue Allocation: What are the proposed changes in the current revenue allocation formula? What should be the new sharing formula between the federal, state and local governments that will reflect their share of constitutional responsibilities?
“Form of Government: Should Nigeria continue with the current Presidential system of government or return to the parliamentary system as practised in the first republic or develop a hybrid of the two systems?
“Independent Candidacy: Should there be a constitutional provision for eligible citizens to contest elections without being members of registered political parties?
“Land Tenure System: Should the Land Use Act be part of the constitution or not and what should be the right of states in the ownership and control of mineral and natural resources on and under the ground?
“Local Government Autonomy: Should LGAs be independent of states and have direct revenue sourcing from the FG as the third-tier of the federation or should they be administrative units of states?
“Power Sharing and Rotation: Should Nigeria have a policy of rotation of the key elected political positions on regional or zonal basis for national offices and by senatorial districts for state offices?
“Resource Control: Should states, regions or zones be allowed to exclusively or partially own, exploit and tap the financial benefits of natural resources in their domain and just pay taxes to the Federal Government?
“Type of Legislature: Does Nigeria need a bi-cameral or uni-cameral, part-time or full-time parliament?”.
The committee has been divided into clusters that make up four teams along geographical regions.
Team one covers the South-South as well as the North-Central zones and consists of 12 states viz: Edo, Delta, Bayelsa states will meet in Benin while Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Rivers will meet in Uyo. For the Noth Central Zone, Kwara, Kogi and Niger will meet in Ilorin while the venue for Benue, Plateau and Nasarawa states is Jos. This team will be led by Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje.
Team two covers the South-East as well as the North-East region. This cluster consists of Enugu, Anambra, Ebonyi meeting in Enugu while Abia, and Imo will meet in Owerri. For the North East, Bauchi, Gombe, Yobe meets in Bauchi, while the venue for Borno, Adamawa and Taraba is Yola. This team is headed by Prof. O.A Osunbor.
Team three covers the South-West and North-West region. This cluster consists of Lagos, Ogun, Oyo with venue in Ibadan while Osun, Ekiti, Ondo will meet in Ondo. In case of the North West, Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara will meet in Sokoto while Katsina, Kano, Jigawa and Kaduna states has Kano as venue. The team head is Gov. Simon Lalong.
“The entire team will converge in Abuja to cover special clusters made up of – FCT citizens, Youths, National Assembly and CSO & professional groups. This team will carry out its field work from the 3rd – 10th October 2017. It consists of all members of the committee and will be based in Abuja”.