Yoruba elders want true federalism

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Map of Nigeria

By Akeem Abas

The Yoruba elders rose from a summit on Thursday in Ibadan and resolved to settle for true federalism as it was in the first republic.

The South West regional leaders met in Ibadan where they called for the Nigeria’s adopt a constitution guided the governance from 1960 to 1963 before the national crisis that led to military intervention.

A communiqué issued at the end of the meeting was by erudite lawyer Afe Babalola and Dr Kunle Olajide.

According to them, the country as a multi-ethnic country could only know real peace and development when it is run along federal lines.

They said that the federating units be it states, zones or regions, which must themselves
be governed by written constitution to curb impunity at all levels and be free to own and develop their resources, while they make contributions to the federation account.

Nigeria, they suggested should be a federation comprised of six regions with the Federal Capital Territory.

“The Federal Government should make laws and only have powers in relations to items
specified on the legislative list contained in the constitution of the Federation.

“Each region shall have its own constitution containing enumerated exclusive and
concurrent legislative lists regarding matters upon which the regions and the states may
act or legislate.

“Contiguous territories, ethnic nationalities or settlement shall be at liberty through a
plebiscite, to elect to be part of any contiguous region other than the region in which the
current geo-political zone or state boundaries places them,’’ they said.

“States with a region shall determine the items on the legislative lists in the regional constitution for the purpose of good government and the administration.

“Also, provision of common inter-state social, economic and infrastructural requirements. Residual powers shall be vested in the states.’’

The communiqué noted that the power to create states shall be within the exclusive powers of the region, which shall be obliged to create a state provided a plebiscite is conducted.

This, it said shall be following a request by an agreed percentage of the residents of the ethnic nationality within a state, while the state holds the power to create local governments and assign functions.

The summit resolved that states shall be entitled to manage all resources found within their boundaries and the revenue accruing therefrom.

“The issue of the entitlement of littoral states to shore resources and the extension of such rights from the continental shelf and rights accuring to the Federal Government shall be determined by the national assembly.

“The sharing ratio of all revenues raised by means of taxation shall be 50 per cent to the states, 35 percent to the regional government and 15 percent to the government of the federation.

“For a period of 10 years from the commencement of the operation of the new constitution, there shall be a special fund for the development of all minerals in the country,’’ it stated.

The summit added that government of the federation shall raise the sum by way of additional taxation on resources at a rate to be agreed by the National Assembly.
(NAN)


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