Wednesday, 21 October, 2020 19:51

How to create new states for equity- Robert Audu

As the National Assembly has called for position papers on constitution review, a former Federal Permanent Secretary, Chief Robert Audu, submitted the following proposal:

STATE CREATION

In June 2012, I responded to your predecessor’s call and submitted a Memorandum to then National Assembly Joint Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution on the subject of “Thoughts on Restructuring of the Nigerian Federation to Achieve the Intentions of Section 16 (2) (A) of the Nigerian Constitution, 1999.

  1. I also appeared before Sen. Ike Ekweremadu Senate Committee Public Hearing in 2012 at Abuja and House of Representatives Public Hearing in my Federal Constituency at Ankpa, Kogi State in 2012. The configuration of States in the existing six geo-political zones is as shown in the rotation diagram below:
ROTATION DIAGRAM SHOWING THE EXISTING STATES IN THE SIX GEOPOLITICAL ZONES OR REGIONS
  1. Restructuring means different things to different people. Organically, whatever adjustment we make to an existing arrangement is restructuring. Nigeria has been configured or structured into 36 States and 774 Local Government Authorities. Any alteration to this existing arrangement is, in effect, restructuring. My modest but thoroughly considered contribution to your timely deliberations which we all hope would filter over-riding national interest, equity, and balance from the on-going boisterous fad of restructuring in Nigeria is set forth in the following paragraphs.

 

  1. I appeared before the Senate Public Hearing on Constitutional Amendment at the International Conference Centre, Abuja and made a formal presentation on a wide range of proposed amendments, notably State Creation and the modalities for reaching an agreement on the number of States Nigeria should have, given the prevailing economic realities and facilitate or ease the seemingly insurmountable hurdles in the process of states creation. Also, I appeared before the House of Representatives Public Hearing organized for constituents of Ankpa/ Omala/ Olamaboro Federal Constituency by Honorable Mohammed Idris at Ankpa and made a formal presentation of my views. It is on record that I availed all Distinguished Senators and Members of the House of Representatives of a copy of the text of my submission. With your kind permission, I will circulate the memorandum accordingly.

 

  1. Strategies for Dealing with the Demands for States Creation

The then-Senate Committee Chairman on Constitutional Amendment and Deputy Senate President, Most Distinguished Sen. Ike Ikweremadu disclosed that none of the 60 demands for state creation met the requirements stipulated in Section 8 of the 1999 Constitution. The number of these demands will, however, shrink when subjected to test of two-thirds support of elected Councils, State Houses of Assembly, and National Assembly as many of these demands overlap while others fall in the category of the ‘sublime and the ridiculous. Some agitators cannot make valid demands since several States are without elected Local Government Councilors.

 

  1. What we need at this stage is a solution and the way forward. Agitators for state creation expect guidance from the National Assembly in terms of the number of states the system can accommodate and the spread that will reflect the federal character of Nigeria vis-à-vis North-South and geo-political zones balance. Preliminary or housekeeping steps to be taken to facilitate state creation include a national agreement on a pre-determined number of states the country should have and the formula to be used in sharing the number. When the proposed states and their configuration are known, agitators for state creation can then follow the processes laid down in section 8 of the Constitution to submit their formal requests.

The creation of an additional zone in the northern flank of the country will bring affairs of Government closer to the people and make the intentions for creating geopolitical zones more meaningful.

  1. What is playing out now leading to the observed stalemate is the test of the provisions and dynamics of Section 8. The difficulties of securing the support of the 36 State Houses of Assembly (including the state of origin of the new states being demanded) as the required simple majority is by no means simple. The task of meeting this requirement is arduous and requires national compromise based on mutual reciprocity or trade-off as State Houses of Assembly are not likely to support a request if there is no assurance of reciprocal support for their own demand or a state may simply be apathetic because their state has no need for a new state.

 

  1. My suggested formula based on factors of North-South balance, population, landmass, compatibility, perceived marginalization, etc, is the adoption and application of a Ratio of 3:4 for the South and the North of Nigeria respectively which should produce the structure of a balanced state that should facilitate accelerated development of the country. This suggested Ratio is equally applicable to the restructuring of Geo-Political Zones.
A former Federal Permanent Secretary, Chief Robert Audu

 

  1. Applying this Ratio of 3:4 to a hypothetical structure of 50 states for Nigeria, the country will transform into 27 states in the North and 23 States in the South. In the event of a reduction of the number of states below 50, application of the Ratio will require a reduction of the number of states in the South by 1 and a corresponding reduction in the North by 1, up to the point where the South is reduced by 3 states and the North will correspondingly be reduced by 4 states, to maintain a 43 states structure-(the South 20 and the North 23). The application of the Ratio works similarly if we desire an increase above 50 states. Using the existing 36 states as a benchmark, the Ratio works perfectly upwards with a multiple of 3 additional states in the South warranting a corresponding multiple of 4 states in the North. In respect of Geo-Political Zones that have now come into the reckoning in dealing with many National issues, the application of the Ratio of 3:4 will require that the North is restructured from 3 to 4 zones. Should there be a need to create another zone in the South in response to the clamor by some groups that the defunct Mid-West Region be accorded a Geo-Political Zone status, a need will consequentially arise for a fifth Geo-Political Zone in the North?

 

  1. The need for the fourth Geo-Political Zone in the North is borne out of the desire to keep the states and extreme locations in the states reasonably close to their center (headquarters). Taking North-Central Zone made up of Kwara, Niger, Plateau, Nasarawa, Kogi, Benue, and FCT Abuja with headquarters in Lafia as an example, an extreme location like Wawa in Borgu Local Government Area of Niger state is about 700 KM to Lafia. The Implication of time spent traveling, money spent on transportation, and other variable implications are quite obvious. The creation of an additional zone in the northern flank of the country will bring affairs of Government closer to the people and make the intentions for creating geopolitical zones more meaningful.

 

Motion for the Creation of 14 New States in a 50-State Structure

  1. On June 11, 2014, I moved a motion at the 2014 National Conference for the creation of the following eight States in the North: EDU out of Niger State, OKURA out of Kogi, APA out Benue State, SAVANNAH out of Borno State, AMANA out of Adamawa State, KATAGUM out of Bauchi State, GURARA out of Kaduna State and TIGA out of Kano State. Those in the South are IJEBU out of Ogun State, ODUDUWA out of Osun State, OKE-OGUN out of Oyo State, OGOJA out of Cross River State, and ADADA out of Enugu State, while ANIOMA out of Delta State should be grouped with the South-East Geo-Political Zone and Delta State Capital moved to Warri.

 

  1. Some organized conspiracy played out and a proposal supported mainly by Southern delegates in collaboration with some elements from Middle Belt flashed a proposal for equality of nine States per Geo-Political Zone to make up a 54-State structure for Nigeria and that motion was passed and included in the 2014 National Conference Report. In North Central Zone, Apa and Edu were listed while Okura was compromised for Kainji State which is a fusion of parts of Niger and Kebbi States with Capital at Zuru in Kebbi State, making North West Zone 10 States instead of 9 and short-changing North Central to 8 States in the Zone instead of 9 as agreed across the board. Three members (Prof. Sam Egu, Abdullahi Ohioma, and Robert Usman Audu) co-sponsored a motion for amendment to include Okura as the ninth State for North-Central Zone but the 2014 National Conference was abruptly closed and the proposed amendment was only included as unfinished business. Okura State should be included as the third new State for North Central Zone.

 

  1. In attempting to restructure the existing 19 States in the North and 17 States in the South, let us apply a Ratio of 3:4 to a hypothetical structure of 50 States for Nigeria, the country will transform into 27 States in the North and 23 States in the South. In the event of a reduction of the number of states below 50, application of the Ratio will require a reduction in the South by 1 and a corresponding reduction in the North by 1, up to the point where the South is reduced by 3 states and the North will correspondingly be reduced by 4, to maintain a 43 State Structure – (the South 20 and the North 23). The application of the ratio works similarly if we desire an increase above 50 States. Using the existing 36 states as the benchmark, the ratio works perfectly upward with a multiple of 3 additional states in the South warranting a corresponding multiple of 4 states in the North. In respect of Geo-Political Zones that have now come into the reckoning in dealing with many National issues, the application of the 3:4 Ratio will require that the North is restructured from 3 to 4 zones. Should there be a need to create another zone in the South in response to the clamour by some groups that the defunct Mid-West Region be accorded a Geo-Political Zone status, a need will consequentially arise for a fifth Geo-Political Zone in the North?
Ekiti State Governor and Leader of Nigeria’s Governors Forum, Dr. Kayode Fayemi

 

Restructuring of Geo-Political Zones and Creation of States

  1. Creation of Eight States in the North of the country and Six States in the South of the country as well as restructuring the three Geo-Political Zones in the North of the country to four having regard to landmass and population to achieve 50 States and Seven Geopolitical Zones, Provinces or Regions should create an organic structure that will set the stage for a balanced development of the country. This is in view of the fact that the existing structure of equal zones in the North and South creates manifest disequilibrium and considering the fact that 78% (733,316 sq km) of Nigeria’s landmass is in the North while the South accounts for 22% (190,450, sq km) and the 2006 population census puts the North 11million ahead of the South. Resource allocation is determined by the indices of landmass and population among others.

 

  1. The need for the fourth Geo-Political Zone in the North is borne out of the desire to keep the states and extreme locations in the states reasonably close to their center (headquarters). Taking North-Central Zone made up of Kwara, Niger, Plateau, Nasarawa, Kogi, Benue, and F.C.T Abuja with headquarters in Lafia as an example, an extreme location like Wawa in Borgu Local Government Area of Niger state is about 700 km to Lafia. The implication of time spent traveling, money spent on transportation, and other variable implications are quite obvious. The creation of an additional zone in the northern flank of the country will bring affairs of Government closer to the people and make the intentions for creating geopolitical zones more meaningful.

 

  1. The proposed Eight States in the North of the country are EDU out of Niger State, OKURA out of Kogi, APA out Benue State, SAVANNAH out of Borno State, AMANA out of Adamawa State, KATAGUM out of Bauchi State, GURARA out of Kaduna State and TIGA out of Kano State. Those in the South are IJEBU out of Ogun State, ODUDUWA out of Osun State, OKE-OGUN out of Oyo State, OGOJA out of Cross River State, and ADADA out of Enugu State, while ANIOMA out of Delta State should be grouped with the South-East Geo-Political Zone and Delta State Capital moved to Warri. The proposed Seven Geo-Political Zones in the country should be restructured into Seven Regions, Provinces or Geo-Political Zones and 50 States as follows:

 

NORTH-WEST ZONE

  1. SOKOTO
  2. KEBBI
  3. ZAMFARA
  4. NIGER
  5. KATSINA
  6. KWARA 

 

CONFLUENCE ZONE

  1. NASARAWA
  2. PLATEAU
  3. KOGI
  4. OKURA*
  5. BENUE
  6. APA*
  7. EDU*
  8. GURARA*

 

NORTH-EAST ZONE

  1. BORNO
  2. YOBE
  3. AMANA*
  4. TARABA
  5. ADAMAWA
  6. GOMBE
  7. SAVANNAH*

 

 

 

CENTRAL OR NORTH -NORTH ZONE

  1. KANO
  2. JIGAWA
  3. TIGA*
  4. KATAGUM*
  5. BAUCHI
  6. KADUNA

 

SOUTHWEST ZONE

  1. OGUN
  2. LAGOS
  3. OYO
  4. ONDO
  5. OSUN
  6. EKITI
  7. IJEBU*
  8. ODUDUWA*
  9. OKE-OGUN*

SOUTH-SOUTH ZONE

  1. BAYELSA
  2. RIVERS
  3. AKWA-IBOM
  4. CROSS-RIVER
  5. DELTA
  6. OGOJA*

 

SOUTH-EAST ZONE

  1. ABIA
  2. ANAMBRA
  3. EBONYI
  4. ENUGU
  5. IMO
  6. ADADA*
  7. ANIOMA*

 

DIAGRAM SHOWING ROTATION CIRCLE OF 50-STATE STRUCTURE AND SEVEN GEOPOLITICAL ZONES PROVINCES OR REGIONS

  1. The essence of the flow chart of rotation above is to set in motion a fresh rotation cycle to accommodate the new zones structure and reflect the impact of the introduction of the 6-Year Single Term. At the end of the first round of rotation, the circle of rotation (as shown above) should be renegotiated to avoid a North-North or South-South succession.
  2. It is apposite that no state creation movement can on its own scale the arduous hurdles in Section 8 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) which prescribes the requirements for States creation, hence the need for a national consensus that will ease compliance and facilitate implementation. The leadership of the National Assembly should in consultation with the Presidency, reach an agreement on, and pre-determine the number of new states the country should have at this point in time (as by the suggestion aforementioned, 50 States in the Seven Constituent Geo-Political Zones).

 

Motion for the Creation of 14 New States in a 50-State Structure

  1. On June 11, 2014, I moved a motion at the 2014 National Conference for the creation of the following eight States in the North: EDU out of Niger State, OKURA out of Kogi, APA out Benue State, SAVANNAH out of Borno State, AMANA out of Adamawa State, KATAGUM out of Bauchi State, GURARA out of Kaduna State and TIGA out of Kano State. Those in the South are IJEBU out of Ogun State, ODUDUWA out of Osun State, OKE-OGUN out of Oyo State, OGOJA out of Cross River State, and ADADA out of Enugu State, while ANIOMA out of Delta State should be grouped with the South-East Geo-Political Zone and Delta State Capital moved to Warri.
  2. In the event that the Senate Ad-Hoc Committee is considering the 2014 National Conference Report, Okura State Should be included as the Ninth State for North Central Zone as it is inappropriate, complex, and untenable to fuse areas from two different States in two different geo-political zones to create a new State which will create disequilibrium and alter the configuration of States in the affected Zones. A Kainji State fusing part of Niger State in North Central and Kebbi in North West with the capital in Zuru shortchanges North Central.
  3. In summary, this memorandum seeks to put before the National Assembly at this crucial stage of considering and finalizing action on the all-important matter of Constitutional Amendment, my suggested strategies for dealing with States creation as follows:

 

  • It is acknowledged that no state creation movement can on its own scale the hurdles in Section 8 of the Constitution, hence the need for a national consensus and will to ease compliance and facilitate state creation.
  • The leadership of the National Assembly in consultation with the Presidency should reach an agreement on, and pre-determine the number of new states the country should have at this point in time.

(c)     Without prejudice, adopt a Ratio of 3:4 for the South and the North respectively

 

A file image of the map of Kogi State

as a basis for a hypothetical 50 states structure to test run the formula to produce 8 new states in the North and 6 new states in the South of the country. The proposed eight states in the North of the country based on popular demand are EDU out of Niger state, OKURA out of Kogi State, APA out of Benue state, SAVANNAH out of Borno state, AMANA out of Adamawa State, KATAGUM out of Bauchi State, GURARA out of Kaduna State and TIGA out of Kano State. Those in the South are IJEBU out of Ogun State, ODUDUWA out of Osun State, OKE-OGUN out of Oyo State, OGOJA out of Cross-River State, and ADADA out of Enugu State, while ANIOMA out of   Delta State should be grouped with South-East Geo-Political Zone and Delta State Capital moved to Warri

(d)     Apply the same 3:4 Ratio to restructure the 3 Geo-Political Zones in the North to

4 and subject any further demands for geo-political zones to similar applications.  The proposed structure of 4 Geo-Political Zones in the North are North-West, Confluence, North-East, and Central or North-North. The 3 Geo-Political Zones in the South are South-West, South-East, and South-South.

23.     It is my considered view that the ideas contained in this proposal and the recommended strategies/solutions preferred will stimulate a more robust deliberation leading to a generally acceptable decision on this highly sensitive issue of the creation of States in Nigeria. I, therefore, commend my 50-States structure to your high-level Committee for consideration but in the event that the Senate adopts the 54 State Structure recommended in the 2014 National Conference Report, graciously amend the list of states for North-Central Zone to include Okura as the ninth State in the zone.

 

 

Author: Ifah Sunday Ele

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