On behalf of the Restructure Nigeria Community, the group behind www.RestructureNigeria.ng, a resource center dedicated to sensitize Nigerians on the issues related to true federalism and restructuring, I write to express our opinion over the recently released summaries of the report released by the APC Committee on True Federalism.
First, having participated in the consultation process by submitting our memorandum to the committee, we are excited over the level of holistic objectivity and understanding exhibited by the committee report. We are excited that at last, Nigerians have defined what restructuring and true federalism means to them and the ruling party can no longer feign ignorance over definitions.
Obviously, and by the report in the media about the committee report, we believe Nigerians are tired of the present over-centralized unitary arrangement and are yearning for more local control of both their security, resources, taxes, economy and development. This is how it in fact ought to be in a federation. Political and economic powers should reside at the localities.
We commend the committee for objectively reflecting the wishes of Nigerians on the issue of restructuring through their consultations and report and for doing this in a prudent and acceptable manner, unlike previous constitutional conferences where billions of Naira are spent with no value in return.
However, in our presentation to the APC Committee on True Federalism, we made a strong case for all the states of Nigeria to have their own Constitution, although state constitution was not part of the issues raised by the party .
There are specific reasons why we at Restructure Nigeria Community demanded for state constitutions.
First, if you devolve powers to the states without first democratizing the states (through state constitutions), then you have created a bigger problem of over-centralization at the state level. If you allow states to have state police and control their resources under the present arrangement, then you have turned our state governors into gods. You have made them more powerful and more corrupt. Dangerous!
State constitutions are written by the peoples of the state. In that constitution, the people decide what powers they are giving to their governor and what powers they are retaining for their localities. The state constitution decides whether the heads of the state and community police will be elected by the people or appointed by their governor. The state constitution determines who owns what and how the resources of the state will be managed and redistributed among the localities of the state. It is the state constitution that creates local government. And so.
The state constitution is the instrument through which the people own and control their state governors and governments. It is the best way to democratize the states. In summary, and in our opinion. what is known as the concurrent list in the 1999 Constitution should be converted and referenced to become what will be known as the state constitution.
State constitutions are not alien. We had it in the past here in Nigeria. It is a standard requirement for federating.
We are a bit worried that the APC Committee jettisoned this noble suggestion and rather picked up other not so important suggestions.
We hope that President Buhari will not override the Party on this committee report issue and thrash this report like he did to the 2014 Confab Report.
We congratulate the APC for at least agreeing to participate in this noble national debate. We await implementation and hope this will be achieved before the 2019 general election.
Press statement is released by;
A National Coordinator,
Restructure Nigeria Community,
Mobile; +234 81 34941730
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