By Eric Teniola
This is the concluding part of this piece which was first published three weeks ago, with the amendments of the constitutions of the various regions and the content of General Gowon’s broadcast on May 27, 1967 in focus.
Part G Section 1 (7)
Amendments of the Lagos State (Interim Provisions) Decree 1968 (a) Immediately after section 3 there shall be inserted the following new section :-—3a.—_(1) There shall be a Secretary to the Military Government who shall be the head of the public service of the State and the Military whose office shall be an office in the public service of the State Government. (2) The Secretary to the Military Government shall be appointed by the Military Governor. (3) The Secretary to the Military Government shall be responsible for the co- ordination of all activities of ministries and departments of the government of the State and for ensuring the efficiency of the functioning of the machinery of government.”
– (6) Immediately after section 5 (3) there shall be inserted the following new subsection :—
“(3a) The Commission shall not exercise any of its powers under subsection (1) above in respect of such offices of heads of divisions of ministries or departments of the government of the State as may from time to time be designated by an order made by the Military Governor except after consultation with the Secretary to the Military Government.”
In his broadcast to the nation on May 27, 1967, General Gowon declared: “To this end therefore I am promulgating a decree. I propose to act faithfully within the political and administrative programme adopted by the Supreme Military Council and published last month. The world will recognise in these proposals our desire for justice and fair play for all sections of this country and to accommodate all genuine aspirations of the diverse people of this great country.
“I have ordered the reimposition of the economic measures designed to safeguard federal interests until such a time as the Eastern Military Government abrogates its illegal edicts on revenue collection and the administration of the Federal Statutory Corporations based in the East.
“The country has a long history of well articulated demands for states. The fears of minorities were explained in great detail and set out in the report of the Willink Commission appointed by the British in 1958. More recently there has been extensive discussion in Regional Consultative Committees and Leaders-of-Thought Conferences.
Resolutions have been adopted demanding the creation of states in the North and in Lagos. Petitions from minority areas in the East which have been subjected to violent intimidation by the Eastern Military Government have been widely publicized. While the present circumstances regrettably do not allow for consultationsthrough plebiscites, I am satisfied that the creation of new states as the only possible basis for stability and equality is the overwhelming desire of vast majority of Nigerians. To ensure justice, these states are being created simultaneously.
“To this end, therefore, I am promulgating a Decree which will divide the Federal Republic into 12 states. The 12 states will be six in the present Northern Region, three in the present Eastern Region, the Mid-West will remain as it is, the Colony Province of the Western Region and Lagos will form a new Lagos State and the Western Region will otherwise remain as it is.
“I must emphasize at once that the Decree will provide for a States Delimitation Commission which will ensure that any divisions or towns not satisfied with the states in which they are initially grouped will obtain redress. But in this moment of serious National Emergency the co-operation of all concerned is absolutely essential in order to avoid any unpleasant consequences.
“I wish also to emphasize that an Administrative Council will be established at the capitals of the existing regions, which will be available to the new states to ensure the smoothest possible administrative transition in the establishment of the new states. The 12 new states, subject to marginal boundary adjustments, will therefore be as follows: North-Western State comprising Sokoto and Niger Provinces, North-Central State comprising Katsina and Zaria, Kano State comprising the present Kano Province, North-Eastern State comprising Bornu, Adamawa, Sarduana and Bauchi Provinces, Benue/Plateau State comprising Benue and Plateau Provinces.
“Lagos State comprising the Colony Province and the Federal Territory of Lagos, Western State comprising the present Western Region but excluding, the Colony Province, Mid-Western State comprising the present Mid-Western State, East-Central State comprising the present Eastern Region excluding Calabar, Ogoja and Rivers Provinces, South-Eastern State comprising Calabar and Ogoja Provinces,Rivers State comprising Ahoada, Brass, Degema, Ogoni and Port Harcout Divisions.
“The states will be free to adopt any particular names they choose in the future. The immediate administrative arrangements of the new states have been planned and the names of the Military Governors appointed to the new states will be gazetted shortly. The allocation of federally collected revenue to the new states on an interim basis for the first few months has also been planned. The successor states in each former region will share the revenue until a more permanent formula is recommended by the new Revenue Allocation Commission. Suitable arrangements have been made to minimize any disruption in the normal functioning of services in the areas of the new states. It is my fervent hope that the existing regional Authorities will co-
operate fully to ensure the smoothest possible establishment of the new states. It is also my hope that the nee to use force to support any new state will not arise. I am, however, ready to protect any citizens of this country who are subject to intimidation or violence in the course of establishment of these new states.
My dear countrymen, the struggle ahead is for the well-being of the present and future generations of Nigerians. If it were possible for us to avoid chaos and civil war merely by drifting apart as some people claim that easy choice may have been taken. But we know that
to take such a course will quickly lead to the disintegration of the existing regions in condition of chaos and to disastrous foreign interference. We now have to adopt the courageous course of facing the fundamental problem that has plagued this country since the early 50s. There should be no recrimination.
We must all resolve to work together. It is my hope that those who disagreed in the past with the Federal Military Government through genuine misunderstanding and mistrust will now be convinced of our purpose and be willing to come back and let us plan and work together for the realization of the Political and Administrative programme of the Supreme Military Council, and for the early restoration of full civilian rule in circumstances which would enhance just and honest and patriotic government.
I appeal to the general public to continue to give their co-operation to the Federal Military Government; to go about their normal business peacefully; to maintain harmony with all communities wherever they live; to respect all the directives of the Government including directives restricting the movements of people while the emergency remains. Such directives are for their own protection and in their own interest.
Let us therefore, march manfully together to alter the course of this nation once again for all and to place it on the path of progress, unity and equality. Let us so act that future generations of Nigerians will praise us for our resolution and courage in this critical stage of our country’s history. Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”