Views from the North: What we want in Nigeria’s new constitution —Northern states

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Views from the North: What we want in Nigeria’s new constitution —Northern states

June 11, 2021

By David O Royal


By Umar Yusuf (Yola), Marie-Therese Nanlong (Jos), Charles Agwam (Bauchi), Femi Bolaji (Jalingo), Ibrahim HassanWuyo (Kaduna),  Musa Annabi (Sokoto), Peter Duru (Makurdi) & Haruna Aliyu Usman (Bernin-Kebbi)

AS a new window opens for Nigerians and states in the country to make their inputs into a brand new Constitution being packaged by the National Assembly, stakeholders across the length and breadth of Nigeria have been brainstorming on what they want changed or to be included in the current Constitution.

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In other words, the ongoing stakeholders’ consultations across the country have become the major platform through which Nigerians can actually change or make a new Constitution of their dream if their views as expressed at the different locations across the country, are taken into cognizance.


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The views expressed by key Northern politicians and stakeholders are captured and presented here as the Views from the North!



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When they assembled in selected states in the North to galvanize their views, it was generally assumed that the North would speak with ‘one voice’ as has always been the case but that did not happen. Many of the stakeholders rather spoke about issues considered as ‘personal’ rather than drop a ‘bombshell’ as the position of the North


 

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Bauchi: We want Katagum State, true federalism – Bauchi people 

The people of Bauchi State led by their Governor, Senator Bala Mohammed, said they wanted a new state and some local government as a catalyst for the development in the area. Mohammed in galvanising the demands of his people said: “This indeed is a marked difference between the unelected constitutional assembly that drafted the 1999 Constitution and the elected National Assembly that we now have in place.



 

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“There is the need for a workable and acceptable Constitution. There should be a clear change in the command structure of the military which concentrate enormous powers at the center as manifested in the 1999 Constitution. The constituent units of the Nigerian federation represented by the current 36 states and the FCT and 774 LGs that are nearer to the people that must be given enough powers with concomitant resources to discharge their responsibilities so as to positively impact the lives of the people at the grassroot.


“The state must be seen to be a truly autonomous entity with powers to run their affairs that is what is called true federalism in all ramifications.”



“With the landmass of 49,919 square kilometres and population of about 10 million, and because of immigration and population explosion, the population of Bauchi State has risen to this number because of the influx of IDPs from neighbouring states due to ethno religious crises and the Boko Haram insurgency.


 


“In order to address this unjust and unfair treatment, we as a state and a people know we have the respect and the sympathy of corporate Nigeria, that Katagum State should be created out of Bauchi state and additional LGs should also be created so that we can be at par with other states that are having more LGs than us”.


The governor also requested for a role in the constitution for traditional rulers in the new constitution being packaged.



 

Plateau State: with views from Nasarawa Benue and the FCT

In Jos, which also hosted stakeholders from Plateau, Benue and Nasarawa states as well as the FCT, the people came out enmass requesting for specific things of their own interest, among them: The establishment of state/community police, devolution of power, active inclusion of traditional institution in governance, comprehensive judicial reform, prohibition of open grazing, autonomy of local government, inclusion of more women in decision making processes among others were the dominant demands made as diverse groups made presentati