Twist in the tale: Northern delegates back out of National Conference resolutions on state creation, power rotation, etc

Posted by News Express | 4 July 2014 | 4,383 times

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Northern delegates have rejected the resolutions adopted yesterday by the National Conference, saying some of the controversial issues approved were literarily lifted out of a document not prepared by a conference committee.

While considering the report on Political Restructuring and Forms of Government, the conference in a rowdy session resolved the delisting of local councils from the constitution and other contentious matters. At yesterday’s session the conference approved the creation of 19 additional states with the south-east getting four more states while the remaining five geo-political zones get three each.

The proposed states are Aba (Abia), Adada (Enugu), Njaba-Amin (Anambra & Imo), Etiti (South East); New Oyo (Oyo), Ijebu (Ogun); Anioma (Delta), Ogoja (Cross River); Ghari (Kano), Gurara (Kaduna), Kainji (Kebbi); Katagum (Bauchi), Amana (Adamawa), Savannah (Borno), and Apa (Niger). The three remaining names are to be supplied by their respective zones, it was resolved.

The conference also voted for the rotation of power at the centre (between North and South), states (senatorial zones) and local government areas, among others.

However, immediately after the plenary ended around 3pm, northern delegates, under the auspices of Northern Delegates Forum (NDF), met and agreed to reject the resolutions and that they must be rescinded.

Consequently, they sent a delegation with their request to Conference Chairman, Justice Idris Kutigi. In a press statement released after the meeting, the northern delegates accused the conference secretariat of bias, saying there was a calculated plan to adopt all the recommendations made by the Chief Raymond Dokpesi’s group’s “Terms of Agreement by Six-Geopolitical Zones” document, which caused uproar at the plenary on Monday.

The statement reads thus: “The Northern Delegates Forum met today 3/7/2014 and reviewed what transpired at plenary. After an exhaustive review delegates adopted the following resolutions:

“We note that decisions have been arrived at in total disregard of the Procedure Rules, 2014 in respect of issues such as Removal of the list of Local Governments from the constitution, Local Government Councils financing, Adoption of State Constitution, a Motion to adopt Reference and State Constitution.

“The chairman refused flatly to recognise several members who had indicated intention to raise a point of order in respect of the method of arriving at decisions by voice vote. This is contrary to Order XI which provides as follows: All decisions of the conference at plenary and committee stage shall be reached by consensus or in the absence of that the chairman shall at his discretion adjourn proceedings to allow for further consultations, in the event of failure, to reach a solution it shall be decided by a vote of three quarter majority.

“The Conference Secretariat was very selective in picking and choosing what amendments filed by members to table and which ones to ignore. For the records, motions filed by members such as Hon. Ghali Umar Na’abba, Professor Auwalu Yadudu, Muhammad Maigari Dingyadi, Professor Aisha Madawaki Isah, Senator Ahmed Aruwa, Dr. Talatu Nasir, Muzzammil S. Hanga, Senator Kabiru Jibril, were ignored.

“The leadership of the Conference in a number of cases was very arbitrary even proceeded to decide a different outcome than was evidently the case.

“The entire proceeding of today was evidently designed to push for the adoption of all the issues contained in the mysterious Terms of Agreement widely reported about in the press.

“We consequently call for the rescissions of all decisions of the Conference arrived at plenary today, July 3, 2014 in total disregard and violation of the Procedure Rules, 2014.’

Some of the controversial resolutions adopted yesterday included those which stated that modalities for referendum be entrenched in the constitution; each zone should have nine states bringing the new states to 18 altogether; states should have their own constitutions.

“Also, the conference resolved that functions of the Local Governments as contained in Schedule 4 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) shall be transferred to the states subject to the power of the State Houses of Assembly to add or reduce the said functions to the Local Government. An amendment that provided that a new Revenue Allocation formula between the Federal and State Governments shall not take into consideration allocations previously made to all Local Governments when they were a tier of government.”

•Partly based on a Daily Trust report. Photo shows some of the northern delegates to the National Conference.

Source: News Express

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