Constitution review: Nigeria needs true federalism – Bauchi Governor, Mohammed


Bauchi State Governor, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed, on Tuesday declared that Nigeria needs a workable and acceptable constitution that allows for true federalism where states are autonomous entities with the power to run their affairs in the interest of the people.

The Governor made the assertion at the opening ceremony of the North-East zonal public hearing organised by the House of Representatives Committee on the review of the 1999 Constitution.

Governor Mohammed submitted that going by the involvement of Nigerians by the two chambers of the National Assembly in the amendment process of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, it is expected that a people’s constitution that will address the social-economic problems of the country will be produced.

He said there was an urgent need for Nigeria to have a clear break from the command structure of the military government which concentrated enormous power in the centre as manifested in the 1999 Constitution.

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He asserted that the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and the 774 local government areas in the country ought to be given more powers with resources.

“The constituent units of the Nigeria federation represented by the current 36 states, the FCT and 774 local government areas are near to the people that must be given enough powers with resources to positively impact the lives of the people at the grassroots,” he said.

While saying that Bauchi State’s position on the review of the constitution had been articulated in a document to be presented to the committee, Governor Mohammed called for a review of the revenue formula in favour of states and local governments.

“The position of Bauchi State on the review of the 1999 Constitution has been well articulated in a document that will be presented to the committee.

“Since power is concentrated at the centre to the detriment of states and local governments, the constitution should, therefore, be altered to give more power to the two tiers with a review of revenue formula, to make more funds available to states and local governments to discharge their duties effectively,” he said.

He then called for the creation of Katagum State from the present Bauchi State, adding that more local government areas should also be created in the state.

“We are greatly concerned that smaller states than Bauchi State have more local government areas and representatives in the House of Representatives and get more funds than Bauchi from the federation account.

“To address this unfair and unjust arrangement, we as a state request that Katagum State be created out of Bauchi State and additional local government areas, so that we can be at par with other states in the country,” Governor Mohammed argued.

Speaking earlier, the chairman, House Committee on review of the 1999 Constitution, Dr Aminu Suleiman, said though the alteration of the constitution was tasking, the committee would ensure that the constitution was amended to reflect the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians, assuring that justice would be done to all submissions and inputs by Nigerians.

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