Remove Local Government from constitution, Lagos tells confab

Lagos State Government has called on the national conference to extract local government from the Constitution.

It also said that geo-political zone as an administrative system should be discarded.The State, which stated this in its official position to the national conference, however insisted that Nigeria should remain an indivisible country.

It however called for constitutional federalism as the nation’s system of government.

The state is being represented at the conference by Mr. Olasupo shasore (SAN), Prof Tunde Samuel, Alhaja Olufunmi Oshinowo-Bashorun and Prince Rabiu Oluwa.

The document said, “On Regionalism and geo-political zones, the governing Regions in the late colonial and post-colonial constitutions (1960 & 1963) represent the height of our national development.

“Where devolved powers, regional constitutions and revenue derivation ensured competition and self-determination. This era has long ended with the creation of states.

“We do not support, nor do we think it feasible – to return to creation of regions as governing sub-national units in Nigeria. We also do not recommend the creation of new states at this time or in the foreseeable future, viability and cost are two of the immediate reasons that militate against the creation of states.

“There are said to be six Geo – political zones in the country – this nomenclature is unknown to the Constitution and yet it continues to feature in national discourse.

“We do not recommend that the said zones as a feasible structure for government for Nigeria. It is folly to believe that the coincidence of geography dictates anything but convenience; we recommend that Nigeria should adhere to constitutional federalism which to date only prescribes states and desist from the use of zones for planning or execution of constitutional authority.

“Local Government: Constitutionally, there ought to be only two orders of government, the Federal Government and the State Governments. Local Government administrative divisions should be left as the exclusive preserve of the States.

“All references to Local Government should be expunged from the Constitution. Local Government creation, structure, tenure, boundary adjustments, functions and funding should remain a residual function of the states”.

The State also demanded that equity should return to the revenue allocation formula prescribed for Nigeria.

“Its constituent states are the raison d’être for the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Without the component states, the corporate entity ‘Nigeria’ would cease to exist. This should be reflected in a new prioritization in the revenue accruals to the nation – a prioritization in favour of the States.“There shall be two express Legislative Lists in the Constitution: the Exclusive Legislative List and the Concurrent Legislative List for both the Federal Government and the State Governments.

“For the avoidance of doubt, all matters or powers not contained in the Exclusive Legislative List are residual, and only the House of Assembly of a State shall have power to make laws in respect of such residual matters in terms of section 4(7)(a) of the 1999 Constitution.

While demanding for Special status, Lagos State said it was  for the purposes of allocation of revenue and other resources.

“The equity of this demand is located in the national uniqueness and socio-economic significance of the State to the entire nation.

“Lagos has historically been and has continued to be the economic and commercial capital of Nigeria. With this has come an increasing rise in the population of the State.

“With a current population of over 18 million, Lagos is one of the 10 megacities of the world. The uniqueness of Lagos is now publicly and indeed internationally acknowledged.

“The economic significance of Lagos is a constant attraction to a growing number of “newcomers” not only from around the country but also from other countries in the West-African sub-region.

“The infrastructure in the State therefore seems never to be in a position to meet the demands of the residents of the State. The enormity of the pressure on the infrastructure and other critical factors of governance including education, health and security are now a major threat to the sustainability of the State.

“Federal Government in order to sustain its infrastructure. It is on this basis that a case is hereby made for Lagos – Nigeria’s only former capital to be assigned a “Special Status”.

“This Special Status should essentially reflect in a special budgetary allocation of the resources (including revenue) required to meet the uncommon demands for the proper governance of the State”.

The State also proposed that the justice sector and judicial restructuring should reflect on the  appointment procedure for judges of the High Courts of the States.

Source: Punch

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