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  For decades, there has been a lot of dust being kicked up on the matter of restructuring and devolution of powers in Nigeria for decades. Most of the agitations and demands in this line have not been so realistic enough.
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But at the last forum held by the South West Governors Forum on July 5, 2021, they have taken a major attempt not only at making these demands as a political bloc but also as one of the most influential regional blocs in the socio-political scene in Nigeria. Firstly, as revealed in their communique, they have proposed that the present 6 geo-political zones in the nation should be converted into federating units. They also submitted that this proposition should be considered as part of the ongoing review of the 1999 Constitution being carried out by the National Assembly. They have since compiled this in a document titled “Proposals for the Review of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (As Amended): Presentation by South-West Governors’ Forum”, such recommendations to members of the National Assembly from the South-West caucus at a meeting held in Abuja behind closed doors. The governors argued that the 6 regions be split and re-divided into 7 federating units/geopolitical zones comprising the North West Zone, North East Zone, Middle Belt Zone, South East Zone, South-South Zone, South West Zone and the Federal Capital Territory. Of course, such considerations as a constitutional reform would weaken the central government while at the same time allocating more powers to the federating units and states. This could be the easiest and fastest channel towards achieving True Federalism. Dropping all political party affiliations, Governors Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Gboyega Oyetola (Osun), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos) and Dapo Abiodun (Ogun) and Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo); who is also the Chairman of the South West Governors’ Forum, revealed that the South-West zone would be approaching the constitution amendment with a common front.
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These propositions, which are being tabled are in conjunction with the South West National Assembly caucus and Attorney Generals of the States, takes a new dimension as it involves stakeholders who can move the dials of restructuring. This new stratagem will be pushing restructuring from the angle of constitutional amendment rather than from the usual activist angle. A better-negotiated restructuring arrangement is one that also involves putting the states in charge of the mineral resources within their respective territories. Consequently, the governors have proposed an amendment that aims to change Section 44(3) which vests control of exploitation of oils, minerals and natural gas in the Federal Government. Also, the South-West governors proposed that Federal powers to create states and local governments be removed from the Federal Government and instead domiciled with the state, that government composition should reflect Federal Character to show the diversity of the Nigerian populace, and that the Section in the 1999 Constitution which confers adulthood status on a married under-18 woman be deleted. The governors, while further explaining their proposition on eradicating Child Marriage, opined:
“Section 29(4)(a) and (b) contradicts each other. While (a) says ‘full age means the age of 18 years and above’, (b) says ‘any woman who is married shall be deemed to be full of age.’ This reinforces child marriage which negates the Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989 and the Child’s Rights Act 2003, which outlaws child marriage.”
These attempts coming from a geopolitical bloc presents an intentional attempt at renegotiating the national contract between the myriad ethnic groups of Nigeria. The waters have been rustled and the channel is now widened for other geopolitical blocs to jump in to present their own demands as a group. It is until the South learns to lobby the hegemonic North with such tactics as a bunch, that they would be taken seriously in the affairs and director of the nation. Featured Image Source: Premium Times NG
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This article was first published on 2nd August 2021


Macaddy is mostly a farmer in the day who also dabbles into technology at night, in search of other cutting edge intersections. He's on Twitter @i_fix_you

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