Wednesday, February 22, 2012

FEAR OF DIVISION? Nigerians move for creation of more states.

The National Assembly has received 45 memoranda requesting the creation of new states from the existing 36 states of the federation.

Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, who stated this at a public lecture organised by a group of lawyers of the South East extraction in Lagos on Friday, said the requests were presented to the National Assembly by various groups from different parts of the country.

Speaking on 'Constitution Amendment and State Creation,' Ekweremadu, who is the Chairman of the Senate's Constitution Review Committee, said about 34 of such memoranda were intra-state demands, seven interstate, while four cut across geopolitical zones.

According to him, minority fears, search for equity, speedy development and quest for political empires and influence by the elite are some of the key factors responsible for the proliferation of states and the agitations for more since independence.

He noted that Nigeria would therefore become a federation of 81 states should all the requests be granted.

Raising fundamental questions on the state creation debate, Ekweremadu stated, “Has the creation of more states allayed the fears of minorities and the feelings of marginalisation and domination?

“Has it resulted in good governance and speedier development at state levels than we had before?

“If it is meant to bring governance closer to the people, what then is the essence of the local government areas? Importantly too, is the proliferation of states and even the extant ones viable and self-sustainable?

“Again, at a time the global trend is aggressively moving towards the contraction of the size of government and cost of governance and at a time the nation is already sweating profusely under the yoke of unwieldy size of government at the federal, state, and local levels, can we really sustain the status-quo let alone create new burdens?”


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