State Creation And Devolution Of Power; The Debate!

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Nigeria delegates at the National Conference who are charged with the responsibility of restructuring Nigeria’s entire socio-political system, spent valuable time debating matters concerning state creation, giving reason why the South-East deserve to be on par with the other geopolitical zones in the country, even if not equitable with their counterpart from the North. It became a heated argument between the northern delegates and the people from south-East. The entire debate is centered on bringing the south-East from the base of 5 states to the same level with the rest, 6 States, excluding the North which presently have 7. But some of the Northerners at the conference said it will never happen. Asking what have South-East done to deserve additional state, and that they will continually oppose the idea and also threatened to thwart the bill if it finds its way to the larger plenary session. Some have also argued that the idea of additional state to the South-East is one that should die before it’s muted out.

Should this be a topic for discussion by delegates? Well, an applause to those who opposed the creation of new state in the East, but only if there rejection of a new state is solely based on the fact that the 36 state and the FCT is reduced to a manageable size. Meaning that the state from the North should be cut down to equate with the other regions. The singular reason why the delegates from the North are trying to shout down those from the East is that, since the revenue sharing formula is based on number of states and local government available to a region and those from the East, have over the years, felt short-changed because of the one less state they have compared to other regions. But the debate should be how to cut down the number of states in the country, with high concentration in the north. How can the delegates debate issues concerning state creation when the existing states are still owing civil servants salaries, when existing states are lacking any form of development, while, in some state, the only thing close to civilization they have had is the light in their governors quarters which is powered by generating set and 99% of such state are from the north!

Which region deserves a new state more than every other if not the East? I think the question that will continue to reoccur in the mind and head of the Easterners right now in Nigeria will be, ‘what did the Easterners ever do to Northerners?’. Okay, it won’t be out of place if we decide to trace it down to the Biafra and Nigeria civil war era. But it could be much more than that because, it burns like the wide fire uncontrollable even in this present time. Lets try to get in the head of this lovely brothers from the North side of Nigeria, are they bunch of wannabes in the bottom of the industrial chain? Because the South-East have proven over the years, that they are one set of people who can survive without the help of the government and their policies. They are creative, innovating and above all hard workers. The Igbo extractions single handedly built West African largest market, Onitsha Main Market. Instead of the animosity, I think they deserve at least a pinch of encouragement and commendation, except, the Northerners and other geopolitical zones want to even the game and make every ethnic group more industrious and as creative as their counterpart from the East of the Niger.

The conference are made up of delegates from all works of life, who have held positions in this country for the past 40–45 years and have left the country in a very deplorable state. The delegates at the national conference was last week put into committees with specific assignments to execute. One that will definitely interest the public is that which involves devolution of power committee. Because of the wider interest, the chairman of the committee has decided to run it like a secret fad, when he asked every media representative to leave the room and deny the public a real-time update of proceedings from that section. The question is, what are they trying to hide from the public? The debate on true federalism, structure of government isn’t something to get so secretive about except if there is a monkey business going on that the likes of; Victor Attah, the Co-chairman and former governor of Akwa Ibom state, Ibrahim Mantu, former deputy Senate president, Ibrahim Kumasi, Haruna Herima have to become like the infamous United States, NSA. The structure of government, physical federalism are issues that are very critical in our nationhood at this point in time. Except that those in that room are afraid of their shadows because they have been part of the problem holding down this country to her kneels and now they are assembled to fix it. How do they intend to achieve this mean fit? Most of the delegates have been governors for 8 years in their respective states with no significant development, leaving the entire state in debt while enriching their own coffers. They are indeed richer than their states. As it is popularly said, pregnancy never remain hidden for ever, because one does not go into a bush to set fire and think the smoke will not give him away.