Katsina, Kano reject restructuring as Nasarawa, Plateau, Benue support demand

Katsina and Kano states on Thursday rejected devolution of power and restructuring of Nigeria as being currently canvassed by majorly of the southern part of Nigeria.

They said they were in support of an indivisible Nigeria as presently constituted.

But, Nasarawa, Plateau and Benue states from North-central, expressed their support for the restructuring demand to enable Nigeria practice true federalism.

Katsina and Kano made their positions known on the vexed issue during a public hearing of the All Progressive Congress (APC) committee on true federalism in Kano State. The committee led by Kaduna State Governor Nasir el-Rufai had since September 18 started regional public hearings on the restructuring demands.

The ruling APC had set up the committee with the mandate to come up with a position on how the party will go about the restructuring issue which has continued to dominate national discourse.

The Katsina State Governor, Aminu Bello Masari, who made known the position of his state at the meeting blamed military incursion into politics as what gave room to the present demand to restructure the country.

While rejecting the demand, he said Nigerians needed to be on the same page concerning the true meaning of federalism in order to suggest a way forward.

He said, “Many have forgotten that we, in the first place, need to be even enlightened on what is true federalism and restructuring, because as it is, many have given it different meanings.”

He therefore said that Katsina “rejects devolution of powers and restructuring as being pushed but “believed in one united Nigeria that takes care of every section of the nation.”

According to Masari, Katsina is on the same page with its sister states as Kano, Kaduna, Jigawa, Sokoto, Zamfara and Kebbi on the restructuring issue.

He said, “This is because whatever touches them or concerns them, concerns us.”

Earlier at the meeting, Kano State Governor Abdullahi Ganduje had argued that issues such as restructuring and devolution of power which will amount to constitutional amendments needed a gradual process.

“We are of the view that power should, in a process of gradual constitution amendment, continue to be shared among and between the current tiers of government in keeping with the dictates of the principles of federalism.

“Kano is in total support of the indivisibility and oneness of Nigeria as a single geographical entity based on the solid principles of democracy, liberty, justice and Federalism.”

He opposed the creation of more states on the argument that the nation needs not be saddled with extra financial burden. He also said that the derivation formula pegged for oil-producing states needed not exceed 13 per cent.
He added, “Equally the Federal Republic of Nigeria should maintain the present Presidential system of government, the three tiers of government consisting of the 36 States and 774 Local governments as provided in the 1999 Constitution.”
Meanwhile, Nasarawa, Plateau and Benue states from North-central, unlike their sister states from North-west, said they are in full support of a restructuring that will enable Nigeria practice true federalism.
The states made their positions known during a North-central Zonal Consultative Forum organised by the APC committee in Jos.
Tanko Al-Makura, governor of Nasarawa State said at the event that he would not support any restructuring that would draw development in the country backward.

“Restructuring means different things to different people. Some people are thinking restructuring is creation of local governments and states. If that is what it means, I don’t support it.

“Restructuring should be true federalism where our people will gain the value of democracy. If that is what it means, I am in support,” Al-Makura said.

He suggested a return to native authorities, the third tier of government in the defunct northern region of Nigeria, on the issue of local government autonomy.

Plateau State government representative at the forum, John Wade, disclosed that the state was in total support of restructuring of Nigeria.

Also, APC legal Adviser, Omale Omale, who represented Benue State, said it was essential that Nigeria be restructured as such offers hope for national development. He added that the process should have to do with devolution of power and land reform.

The Vice President of the APC for the North-central zone, Idris Zakare, presided over the public hearing for the committee in the zone while former governor of Enugu State, Sullivan Chime, presided over the meeting in Kano.

The South-west, South-south and South-east which make up the southern part of the country have been pushing for a return to the 1963 Constitution, where each region was in control of its resources.

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