True Federalism: Obaseki hosts panel as APC flags off public hearing
…delegates seek return to regional govt, part-time legislators
The Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, on Monday, hosted the All Progressives Congress (APC) panel on True Federalism in Benin City, the Edo State capital, as the party commenced public consultation on Nigeria’s restructuring.
Welcoming the members of the party’s Team One, in charge of the South-South geopolitical zone, made up of the governors of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje; Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun and Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola, Obaseki assured the delegates that their submissions would be given due consideration.
Some of the delegates drawn from Edo, Delta and Bayelsa states made a case for a return to the regional structure, parliamentary system of government and part-time legislators as against the current cumbersome and expensive model.
Dr. Frank Nwugo, a legal practitioner from Delta State, submitted that the National Assembly should deliberate on restructuring the country and adopt part-time legislator.
Mr Daniel Usifoh, a representative of Ika Ethnic Nationality said the Ika social group wants the nation to go back to the regional system of government. He recommended the creation of eight new regions; four in the north and four in the southern part of the country.
He also recommended the adoption of the parliamentary system of government, noting that the presidential system was too cumbersome and expensive to run, and called for the abolishment of the Federation Account.
Earlier, the host governor, Obaseki, explained that the APC embarked on the public hearing to gather all shades of opinions from the public for the restructuring of the country.
He urged the delegates to feel free to air their views on all issues, assuring that all submissions would be given due consideration.
The Edo governor also said the submissions from the various local government Councils as well as from organised labour unions in the state would be collated and submitted to the committee within a seven-day period.
The Governor of Ogun State, Senator Amosun, who represented the chairman of Team One of the committee and governor of Kano State, Mr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, said the idea of the public hearing was to allow Nigerians contribute their quota and have a say on the issue of restructuring of the nation, stressing that the voices of the citizens would be made public and be adhered to.
Amosun said: “one of our mandates as a party is restructuring and the president has kept to his words in his manifesto hence the need for this event.
Governor of Osun State, Aregbesola, said the only way to give bite to true federalism is to hear from critical groups like the youths, women and other important stakeholders, as their views are important in building a strong nation.
“Youths and women should have their submissions on how the nation should be organised as everyone needs to ensure that Nigeria does not fail.
Some of the issues deliberated upon included: Local government autonomy, revenue allocation, resources allocation, independent candidacy, fiscal federalism, type of legislation, powersharing, among others.
The forum had in attendance representatives of civil society organisations, youth and women organisations, the academia and traditional institutions as well as religious groups drawn from Edo, Delta and Bayelsa states, which represent Team One of the APC restructuring team.