Part-time legislators, devolution of power and other resolutions at the True Federalism Meeting in Ibadan

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[Ibadan]–The All Progressives Congress (APC) Committee on True Federalism in one of its Zonal Meetings in Ibadan has received articulated standpoints from Oyo, Lagos and Ogun on the issue of restructuring in the country.

The articulated standpoints were formulated after much deliberations at the meeting on fundamental issues which inclucde Creation/Merger of States, Derivation Principle, Devolution of Power, Fiscal Federalism and Revenue Allocation, Forms of Government, Independent Candidacy, Land Tenure System, Local Government Autonomy, Power Sharing and Rotation, Resource Control and Types of Legislature.

Recall that the National Chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun had recently constituted a Committee on True Federalism with a mandate to review all the ideas variously referred to as “True Federalism”, “Restructuring”, “Devolution of powers”, “Regionalism”, “Resource control” etc, and
work towards articulating and aligning the public position with the party’s manifesto and campaign promises.

Part of the strategies put in place to actualise the mandate is the zonal public hearing being organised across the country.

The zonal public hearing for Oyo, Lagos and Ogun states was held at the International Conference Centre in the University of Ibadan on Monday, September 18.

Simultaneously, the zonal public hearings for Edo – Delta- Bayelsa states group and Enugu-Anambra-Ebonyi states group held at Prestige Hotel and Suite, Benin and Ozom Hotel, Enugu respectively.

After an extensive deliberations, below are the summary of the positions articulated in the memoranda submitted at the meeting:
1. Creation/Merger of States
The majority view on the above subject is that the existing 36-state structure and the Federal Capital Territory should be retained and sustained.
2. Derivation Principle
Majority position is that 50 per cent of the revenue accruable from the resources in each state should be given back to such state.
3. Devolution of Power
That power is over-concentrated at the centre and therefore, more powers should be devolved to the constituent states of the federation.
4. Fiscal Federalism and Revenue Allocation
While there is concensus on the need for a drastic review of the extant revenue allocation formula in view of the constituent states owing to the expected devolution of power, there is, however, a divergence of opinions on the percentage to be allocated to the benefitting tiers of government.
5. Forms of Government
Opinions vary on the forms of government to be adopted. While some argue that the current Presidential System be retained with slight modifications, others advocate a revert to a Parliamentary System as practised in the First Republic.
6. Independent Candidacy
Although most opinions favour the introduction of independency candidacy which they described as a good innovation, however, they caution that its adoption could be unwieldy, given the low literacy level and political consciousness of the Nigerian electorate.
7. Land Tenure System
That the extant Land Use Act should be repealed so that mineral deposit in any state by Nature should belong to that territory while the state where such is found pays royalty to the Federal Government as is done in most advanced federal democracy.
8. Local Government Autonomy
Except for the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), virtually all other memoranda advocate a two-tier federal arrangement, thereby putting local governments under the control of the states for them (states) to determine whatever number of local government councils they desire for necessary development.
9. Power Sharing and Rotation
That the extant provisions of the Federal Character Principle are sufficient, but with a caveat that the wide gap between intents and actual practices should be taken care of.
10. Resource Control
That each state should be in control of the mineral deposit found in their respective domains and pay royalty to the Federal Government on agreed terms.
11. Types of Legislature
Retention of the current bi-cameral legislative system is canvassed by the majority opinions but with a slight modification to make it part-time with members collecting only sitting allowances as deemed appropriate.

In attendance at the meeting presided over by the Leader of the Team on True Federalism and Governor of Plateau State, Mr. Simeon Lalong, are the Governors of Oyo, Lagos and Ogun States, ably represented by Chief Moses Alake Adeyemo, Oyo State Deputy Governor; Prince Abiodun Ogunleye, former Deputy Governor of Lagos State and Mr. Tolu Odebiyi, Chief of Staff to the Governor of Ogun State.

Others include the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba LamidiOlayiwola Adeyemi III, the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu AkanmuAdetunji, royal fathers from other towns and cities in the zone, a former Governor of Enugu State, Mr. Sullivan Chime, Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi, Chief Akin Oke, Chief Tajudeen Lemboye, Cardinal James Odumbaku, Chief Iyiola Oladokun, Chief (Mrs.) Kemi Nelson, Hon. Olawale Osun, Chief Tajudeen Olusi, Alhaji Isiaka Alimi, Chief Deji Oshibogun, Pastor Benjamin Akanmu, Alhaji Kunle
Sanni, Chief Mutiu Are and Mr. Sola Lawal, among others.

Meanwhile, the Zonal Public Hearing continues on Thursday for Abia-Imo states group at Imo Concords Hotel, owerri; for Cross River – Akwa-Ibom – Rivers states group at Amazing Grace Centre, Uyo and for Osun-Ekiti-Ondo states group at The Dome International Conference Centre, Akure.

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