Osun’s agenda on restructuring

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By Eric Teniola

IN 2012 the Governor of Osun state,Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola(60) set up a committee to affirm the position of Osun state in restructuring. The committee was headed by Mr. G.M. Adedeji. Other members of the committee were Adewale Afolabi(represented by Abdulrasak Adeoye), Ajibola Basiru, Gbenga Awosode, C.J. Aremu(Mrs.), Talib Bello, Akinloye Ajobola Oluseye, Ipoola Aderemi Binuyo,Adebayo Waseeu Gbola, Tayo Oyewale,Olayinka Okedara, Joke Olatunde, Sanusi Hadizat Nike, Adesina K.O. and Mr. Demola Yaya.

Mr. Adedeji committee’s  report has been endorsed by the government of Governor Aregbesola. And since 2012, this report has been endorsed severally by the governor himself. In a telephone conversation I had with him last week, he said his government has not changed position on the seventeen issues affirmed by Mr. Adedeji’s committee.”This is still our stand I can assure you”.

Let’s take a look at the Osun’s agenda on restructuring.

The Military—There is need for a fundamental restructuring of the Military. There should be a regional based army but with a central control just like in India.

Devolution of power

Constitutional recognition should be given to geo-political zones/regions. That the geo-political zones or regions should be the Federating units. That the geo-political zones/regions should be created using such parameters as culture, land, nationality and political expediency. More powers should be taken away from the centre to the federating units. That only matters bordering on the collective interest of the generality of Nigerians like foreign affairs, defence, currency, among others, should be left with the Federal Government. Amendment of the Constitution should include a clause for self-determination.

The National Assembly should be bi-camera but election to the House of Representatives should reflect extant Electoral Act incorporating Justice Uwais Panel reports in its entirety. Senators should be on part-time basis and receive sitting allowances only which should be determined by the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission, RAFMAC, while the salary and emoluments of members of the House of Representatives should not be higher than that of the most senior public servant in the employment of the Federal Government. That each region, when constitutionally recognised, should be allowed to make and have its own constitution. In view of the above, chapter 1 of the 1999 constitution should be amended to make the constitution supreme in areas allocated to the Federal Government.

However, if our proposal on devolution of power is accepted, then it will affect all other provisions of the 1999 Constitution which is essentially unitary in nature, orientation and philosophy to take care of the heterogeneous nature of Nigerian society. In the event of any inconsistency or conflict between the laws of the Geo-political zones or regions and that of Federal Government, it should be resolved by the Supreme Court of Nigeria. The right of self determination should be guaranteed by the Constitution. In place of Section 3 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which provides for the 36 states of the Federation, only the Geo-political Zone/Region should be listed which political zones/regions have been informally recognised by the people of Nigeria. The only issue to resolve is power and responsibility to be allotted to each zone. Section 4 of the Constitution should be preserved with a caveat that chapter v of the constitution which contains section 47 to 89 should reflect the position of the people of the state of Osun that the geo-political zone/region should nominate Senators to Senate of the Federal Government.

System of govt

A true Federal administration based on parliamentary system of government should be entrenched rather than the existing presidential system because parliamentary system allows for collaboration and will greatly assist in reducing the cost of governance. Executive powers at the federal level should be exercised by a Presidium of six elected Presidents from each of the six regions for a single term of six years with each president heading the government for one year on a rotational basis while each of them will have ministerial responsibilities on the federal matters for the term. With this arrangement, no region will claim marginalisation.

Fiscal Federalism

Views on Fiscal Federation are based on power devolution agenda. The general opinion is that each geo-political zone should control its resources with certain percentage as may be determined by the zone to Federal Government. That all manners of taxes, including VAT, shall be the exclusive preserve of the geo-political zone/region except those dealing directly with matters relating to federal Government.

Nigeria Police

The issues agitating the minds of individuals are whether the policing system in Nigeria should be under the control of the Federal Government or Regional Government? The agitation for a state Police is borne out of the present ineffectiveness of the Federal Police to provide security and other malfeasance perpetrated by the police in their discharge of their constitutional duties. HIND SIGHT: The establishment or the provision of a Federal Government is borne out of the fact that in the previous years during the Nigeria constitutional evolution, there existed then: (i) Local Government Police in the Southern State and (ii) Native Authority in the North.

Role of Traditional  rulers

In view of the fact that traditional institutions must be respected as the custodian of custom and culture of the people and because of the historical and cultural values bestowed on the traditional institutions which must at all time be protected, the call for constitutional role for traditional rulers is unnecessary and uncalled for. This is because the jurisdiction of each traditional ruler is restricted to his Local Government Area or a part thereof. However, Nigeria being a multi ethnic, multi cultural country which precludes it from having a unified traditional system. It is therefore, submitted that the Federal Constitution should NOT accord/include any role for the traditional institution.

At best, each Regional Assembly should, in pursuance of its residual power, make such laws as it may deem fit to accord honour and specific responsibility to its traditional institutions.

Recognition of six Geo-political

zones in the Constitution

Nigeria is at present a strange federal arrangement of 36 federating units that are largely unviable. Power is over concentrated in the centre and radiates from there to the States, at the pleasure of the Federal Government. Resources allocation formula tilts unjustifiably in favour of the centre, breeding wastes, corruption, ineptitude and under-developed of the constituent states. The course of true federalism would be well and truly served if we return to the pre-1966 evolutionary path. That is, a balanced federal structure which recognises fully the legitimate claims of all these groups for self determination, and where no single entity among the federating units will be strong or powerful enough to hold the others to ransom, but where each of the federating units is large enough both in terms of size and population as well as of resources, to be viable, self-reliant and dynamic. Arising from various different positions and strong argument canvassed for each position in the memoranda to juxtapose this positions with other views in materials available, we recommend that the new amendment to the constitutions makes provisions to recognise the following zones as Constituents units of the Nigerian Federation.

North West zone

Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina, Jigawa, Kano and Kaduna States.

North central zone

Plateau, Nasarawa, Kwara, Kogi, Niger and Benue States.

North east zone

Yobe, Bornu, Adamawa,Gombe,Taraba and Bauchi States.

South west zone

Oyo,Ogun,Ondo,Osun,Ekiti and Lagos States.

South east zone

Imo, Enugu,Anambra,Abia and Ebonyi States.

South south zone

Cross River, Rivers, Akwa-Ibom,Edo,Delta and Bayelsa States.

We are of the strong conviction that the present 36 states cannot, properly speaking, be the constituent units of the Nigerian Union as they were not arrived at on the basis of any rational, cultural,linguistic, political or economic parameters but were largely products of whims, caprices and hegemonic designs of privileged past Heads of State or Presidents(as the case may be) who used their position to the advantage of their people. We therefore hold the position and recommend the adoption of regional or zonal structure. These regional or zonal structures should be accorded constitutional recognition. Each Region/Zone should have its own constitution or be constitutionally empowered to enter into such such agreements on administrative, economic and other activities, as may be approved by the regional legislatures.

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