Okun People Moved to Western Region in New Governance Model

by Ohepo Ohepo

Abuja, May 2024 – A draft bill proposing a return to a regional system of government for Nigeria includes significant changes for the Okun people, relocating them from their current region to the Western Region. The legislation, authored by Akin Fapohunda, a prominent member 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 aims to establish new laws under “The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria New Governance Model for Nigeria Act 2024.”

Legislative Process and Proposals

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,” he told our correspondent.

Proposed Regional Divisions

Fapohunda, who also represents the Coalition of Indigenous Ethnic Nationalities (CIEN), outlined the proposal to divide the country into eight geo-political regions with approximate interim boundaries. The Okun people, traditionally part of Kogi State in the current Northern region, would be moved to the newly defined Western Region. The proposed regions include:

  • Southern Region: Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, and Cross Rivers States, with optional inclusions.
  • South Eastern Region: Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo States.
  • Western Region: Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Ekiti States, and now including the Okun people from Kogi State.
  • Mid-Western Region: Edo and Delta States, possibly including Anioma people.
  • Eastern Middle Belt Region: Northern Cross River, Southern Kaduna, Southern Borno, Adamawa, Benue, Kogi, Plateau, Nasarawa, and Taraba States.
  • Western Middle Belt Region: Southern Kebbi, parts of Kwara and Niger States.
  • North Eastern Region: Parts of Borno, Gombe, Bauchi, Jigawa, and Yobe States.
  • North Western Region: Kaduna, parts of Kebbi, Kano, Katsina, Sokoto, and Zamfara States.

Impact on the Okun People

The inclusion of the Okun people in the Western Region is part of a broader strategy to align regional governance with ethnic and cultural affinities, aiming to enhance regional autonomy and development. This move is expected to:

  • Strengthen cultural ties: The Okun people, who share cultural and linguistic similarities with the Yoruba of the Western Region, would benefit from stronger cultural and social integration.
  • Improve governance and representation: Being part of a region with similar cultural and historical backgrounds may lead to better governance and more effective representation for the Okun people.
  • Enhance economic opportunities: The Western Region, known for its economic dynamism, could offer improved economic opportunities and development prospects for the Okun people.

Governance and Administrative Reforms

The bill envisages a two-tier government structure, with federal and regional governments. Regions would manage their affairs, including creating sub-entities based on their constitutions. Key proposals include:

  • New regional government framework with executive and legislative functions headed by a Premier.
  • Provinces and divisions replacing current states and local governments to streamline administration.
  • New constitution provisions allowing regions to create, merge, and reconfigure sub-political units.
  • Federal structure with a uni-camera legislature and reduced federal ministries.

The bill emphasizes reducing administrative costs, enhancing regional autonomy, and focusing on development over political bureaucracy. The coalition aims to ensure that the new governance model benefits all regions and promotes national unity. The proposed changes for the Okun people are a significant part of this broader vision for a more cohesive and efficient governance structure in Nigeria.

You may also like

Are you sure want to unlock this post?
Unlock left : 0
Are you sure want to cancel subscription?
Update Required Flash plugin
Verified by MonsterInsights