Kogi Moved To Eastern Middle Belt Region In The New Bill Seeking Return To Regional Government On Friday

President Tinubu to Receive Draft Bill Proposing Return to Regional Government in Nigeria

by Ohepo Ohepo

Abuja, May 2024 – On Friday, President Bola Tinubu will receive a draft bill proposing a return to a regional system of government for Nigeria. The legislation, authored by Akin Fapohunda, a chieftain of the Yoruba socio-cultural association Afenifere, is titled, “A Bill for an Act to Substitute the Annexure to Decree 24 of 1999 with New Governance Model for the Federal Republic of Nigeria.” The bill seeks to establish new laws under “The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria New Governance Model for Nigeria Act 2024.”

Controversy and Legislative Response

Last week, News360 Nigeria reported that the House of Representatives disowned the bill, with spokesman Akin Rotimi and the Chairman of the Committee on Rules and Business stating that it had not been listed for deliberation in the ongoing constitutional review. Despite this, Fapohunda confirmed on Thursday that the bill would be transmitted to the President.

“I’m submitting my letter (draft bill) today but I will wait for seven days before releasing it to the public,” Fapohunda stated.

Proposed Regional Divisions

Fapohunda, representing the Coalition of Indigenous Ethnic Nationalities (CIEN), outlined a proposal to divide Nigeria into eight geo-political regions with approximate interim boundaries. The proposed regions include:

  • Southern Region: Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross Rivers, and optional inclusions from Annang, Effik, Ekoi, Ibibio, Oro Ohaji/Egbema in Southern Imo, Adonia, Efemia, Ijaw, Ogoni, Bini, Ishan, Isoko, Urhobo, and Ijaw-speaking people in Northern Ondo.
  • South Eastern Region: Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo.
  • Western Region: Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Ekiti, and optionally Yoruba-speaking people in Kogi and the Igbomina people in Kwara. Itsekiri people of Delta and Akoko-Edo people of Edo may also choose to join.
  • Mid-Western Region: Edo and Delta, possibly incorporating the Anioma people.
  • Eastern Middle Belt Region: Northern Cross River, Southern Kaduna, Southern Borno, Adamawa, Benue, Kogi, Plateau, Nasarawa, and Taraba.
  • Western Middle Belt Region: Southern Kebbi, parts of Kwara and Niger.
  • North Eastern Region: Parts of Borno, Gombe, Bauchi, Jigawa, and Yobe.
  • North Western Region: Kaduna, parts of Kebbi, Kano, Katsina, Sokoto, and Zamfara.

Governance Structure and Objectives

The bill proposes a two-tier government structure: federal and regional, with regions managing their own affairs, including creating sub-entities based on their constitutions. Key governance features include:

  • Regional Governments: Executive and legislative functions with premiers as heads.
  • Provinces and Divisions: Current states to become provinces with councils integrating executive and legislative functions. Local Government Areas to be transformed into divisions for socio-economic development.
  • Federal Legislature: A unicameral system with regional representation in Abuja.
  • Decentralization: Limiting federal power to no more than 10 regions.
  • Ministries and Ministers: Federal Government to comprise not more than nine ministries, reflecting efficiency similar to the U.S. model.

The coalition advocates for cost reduction in public administration, focusing resources on development rather than political structures. It calls for dismantling configurations that favor politicians, aiming to reduce administrative costs to less than 20-30% of generated revenue.

Conclusion

This significant legislative proposal aims to reshape Nigeria’s governance by reverting to a regional system, potentially enhancing efficiency and reducing administrative costs. As President Tinubu receives the draft bill, the nation anticipates the next steps in this transformative process.

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