The Deputy President of the Senate and Chairman, Senate Committee on Constitution Review, Ike Ekweremadu said none of the 61 requests for state creation got the committee’s nod.
Mr. Ekweremadu stated this in Abuja on Wednesday when Enugu State Government Committee on the Actualisation of Adada State, led by retired Major Gen. Godwin Ugwoke, visited him.
“To be sure that we are fair to all, especially in matters that have to do with state creation, I insisted that the 61 requests be analysed individually.
“We referred the entire work to our panel of consultants made up of the best in the areas of Constitutional Law and Federalism in this country.’’
He, however, assured state agitators that they still had ample opportunities since the exercise was continuous.
The senator said, “We use the opportunity to state clearly, not just to the people of Adada, but the other groups also, that the opportunity for state creation is a continuum.
“It is not limited to when there is a constitution amendment and we are not giving up on state creation, but what we insist on is for the correct thing to be done.
“I don’t want any section of Nigerians requesting for state to get disillusioned and drop their pursuits.
“We want to encourage everybody from all parts of Nigeria that desire new state to sustain their agitation as they will succeed someday.”
He said the failure of the 61 requests was based on analysis and advice of constitutional law experts engaged by the committee.
He explained that the request for Adada state was not recommended by the committee because the document they presented did not meet the provisions of Section 8 of the 1999 Constitution.
Mr. Ekweremadu pledged that the committee would ensure fair and equal treatment of all the groups agitating for new states.
He pointed out that some of the signatories for the proposed Adada state were former office holders in the local, state and federal levels.
“Section 8 of the 1999 Constitution that deals with the issue of state creation does not make any timeframe within which it should be done.
“If you are asking for a state, the signatories have to be current elected officials who are in office within the period.
“Otherwise, you cannot say that you have signatures of members of the House of Representatives when they are no longer in the House of Representatives.”
He said that any request that does not meet the requirements of Section 8 of the constitution could still be upgraded in accordance with the constitutional provision and forwarded to the National Assembly.
“Once we are satisfied that the signatories are genuine, we will take the next step by directing the Independent National Electoral Commission to conduct a referendum.
Earlier, leader of the delegation, Mr. Ugwoke, said the committee came to seek clarification on why their request failed to sail through the committee.
He urged the Senate to give its much-needed support to the creation of Adada state out of the existing Enugu State.