By AbdulSalam Muhammad & Marie-Therese Nanlong
KANO—The governments and people of Kano, Katsina and Jigawa states, yesterday, rejected the clamour for restructuring of Nigeria and declared that the country’s unity was sacrosanct.
The position of the states from North-West zone of the country was formally presented at All Progressives Congress, APC, public hearing on true federalism in Kano.
The governments also advocated a balanced economic development and spread of social growth across the country.
This came on a day Governor Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa State said the proposed constitution amendment should seek to strengthen not just federalism but true federalism. He also called on Nigerians not to see restructuring as something strange but a way of looking at how the constitution was working, with a view to strengthening and making it more effective.
However, the position of Kaduna State government in the North-West zone created an obvious vacuum as Governor Nasir el-Rufai was absent and did not send representative nor submit memorandum on behalf of the state government.
Presenting the stand of Kano State, Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, while affirming the unity in diversity of the country, insisted that “true federalism should not be misconstrued for a weak central government but rather a Federal Government that should be seen as strong coordinating unit which will be entrusted with the responsibility of equatable distribution of common resources among the federating units.
“The agitation for restructuring of the country has raised dust of disunity, dissatisfaction and disaffection among Nigerians against a nation built on unity, peaceful co-existence, religion and ethnic harmony.
‘’We, hereby, call for true federalism, devoid of discountenance of our corporate entity, Nigeria.”
Gov Badaru advocates devolution of power.
On his part, Governor Muhammadu Badaru of Jigawa State, who was represented by Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Adamu AbdulKadir, advocated devolution of power.
Badaru said: “Some key issues, including education and agriculture, should be removed from the exclusive list, thereby enabling states and local government to effectively managed their own affairs.’’
Badaru also stated that the government was in support of existence of true federalism, review of fiscal federation and federal allocation and federal system of government, but, however, opposed the creation of additional states.
We believe in a united, strong Nigeria —Masari
Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State, on his part, regretted that the country found itself in trouble zone due to the defective constitution inherited from the military government.
Masari said: “Of course, there are challenges bedeviling our corporate existence but the agitation for restructuring is attracting several dimension and interpretation, which are not found in our constitution.
“No doubt, there are fundamental issues that need to be re-evaluated but our major challenge is the constitution inherited from the military.
“Talking about restructuring, we must evaluate our constitution and our elite too must also be ready to take the path of truth and sincerity. As far as we are concerned, we believe in a united and strong Nigeria.’’
North-Central seeks true federalism
Meanwhile, GovernorTanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa State has said the proposed constitution amendment in the country should seek to strengthen not just federalism but true federalism.
He also called on Nigerians not to see restructuring as something strange but a way of looking at how the constitution could be strengthened to make it more effective.
The governor, who spoke, yesterday, in Jos at All Progressives Congress, APC, organised public consultation on true federalism for three states of Plateau, Benue and Nasarawa in the North Central zone, also solicited the continued practise of the presidential system of government, rather than parliamentary, which the country did not practice for long.
Al-Makura, who was chairman at the event, further called for a critical look at the legislature and the practice of a unicameral system, saying the bicameral system being practised was not good for the nation’s economy.
He said: “It is not every day you have a constitutional review; the process of constitutional amendment is a constitutional issue, APC should be mindful of how it goes about it as anything different would be antagonistic to the constitution.
“There are certain things we should consider and consolidate our position in the North Central for maximum impact. We should look at the system of governance we are practicing and practice it to the end, leaving it half way will be disastrous. If we take to a new system, it will mean starting from the scratch.
“We should have faith in the Presidential system since we have practiced it since 1979, if we have faith, we will be perfect in it. We should take a critical look at the legislature, if we toy with the legislative process, the system will collapse.
“We should adopt the unicameral system because the bicameral system is not the best for us and full time legislature is not good for our economy. The legislature should be for highly literate people, qualification for it should be raised to make the job more effective and barely literate people should not be allowed to legislate.”
On the devolution of power, he advocated that the federal government should shed off some powers and allow respective states take decisions on issues including the welfare of their workers as a situation where the federal government is states to adopt its stance on workers’ welfare does not augur well for States.
Others who also presented their views were Professor John Wade for Plateau State and Anthony Ojufu from Benue State, with both reiterating the need for the review to include autonomy, resource control and decentralization of power.
Earlier, APC chairman, North Central Zone, Zakari Idde, noted that the consultation was necessary due to the growing agitations by various sections of the country and called on participants to make genuine contributions that would go a long way to address problems bedevilling the country.