By Henry Umoru, Abuja
Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, All Progressives Congress, APC, Delta Central has said that the creation of new states was possible if Nigerians and stakeholders lobby other stakeholders from all the geopolitical zones of the country.
Speaking in Abuja when he hosted a delegation from Katagum, Missau, and Jama’are Emirates in Bauchi State led by a former Head of Service of the Federation and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed, Omo-Agege who is the Chairman, Senate Adhoc Committee on Constitution Review, said that the Committee would harvest from its data bank.
Alhaji Yayale Ahmed led the delegation to solicit for the creation of Katagum State from the present Bauchi State.
According to Omo-Agege, the 2014 confab report, El- Rufai panel report of 2018 as well as constitution alteration bills already referred to the committee would enrich the assignment of members, adding that the National Assembly only has the powers to amend the Constitution and not overhaul the same.
Speaking after he received the memorandum of the group, the Deputy President of the Senate said: “We have a lot of positions taken by various interests to the effect that the Constitution review exercise is not necessary. That what they require is a complete rewrite of the Nigerian Constitution. I am glad that we have, seated before us here today in this delegation, people who are very well-read, lettered with sound knowledge of the constitution that the power granted to us as a National Assembly, precisely under Section 9 of the Constitution, is a power to amend provisions of the Constitution and not to rewrite the Constitution.
“Irrespective of my personal views, the views of members of this committee, you will need to do a lot of lobbying. No matter what we think as members of this committee about the appropriateness and justness of your cause, I want to plead with you to reach out to our colleagues from all of the geopolitical zones because not one state or geopolitical zone can give you a state. But it is about lobbying. If you do this, there is no reason why you should not be able to pull this through.
“We are working on a data bank. And it has a lot of materials. It includes the confab report of 2014 and the report of the El-Rufai’s Committee of 2018. In addition to that, we also have other materials that have come to us by way of bills.”
Omo- Agege who noted that the National Assembly is just one out of the many stakeholders involved in the alteration of the national document, said, “This is an exercise we take very seriously. This is a serious request. We are going to look into it and give you all of the assistance we can muster. It is not just about the National Assembly. Our job is to lay the foundation before it goes to the other stakeholders.”
Members of the Steering Committee who joined Senator Omo-Agege in receiving the guests included the Senate Majority Leader, Senator Abdullahi Yahaya; Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, and Minority Whip, Senator Philip Aduda.
Earlier, the leader of the delegation and former SGF, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed, said that the call for the creation of Katagum State dates back to the 1980s, adding that the Second Senate in 1981 and the 2014 National Conference had already approved the creation of the state.
While affirming his confidence in the Ninth National Assembly, Alhaji Ahmed who declared that the proposed state was economically viable in the areas of agriculture, solid minerals, livestock, and water resources, said that when created, it would bring development closer to the people.
He said: “We are hereby presenting for your kind consideration, the request for the creation of Katagum State out of the current Bauchi State. We are doing so minding the fact that the National Assembly is the only body recognised constitutionally to initiate and create states. Anything outside that will not yield any positive result.
“Therefore we are reaffirming our confidence in the National Assembly to do the right thing at the right time”.
Other members of the delegation include Ambassador Jibrin Chinade, Ambassador Adamu Aliyu, Captain Bala Jibrin, Alhaji Buba Gamawa, Alhaji Nadada Umar, Dr. Waziri Mohammed, Rt. Hon. Umar Sarki, member representing Katagum Federal Constituency, among others.