New states can still be created – Senator Ayogu EZE
Contrary to recent media reports on creation of new states in the country, Senator Ayogu Eze, has said that the Senate did not foreclose the creation of new states.
Eze, who represents Enugu North in the Senate, is the Chairman of the works committee of the upper legislative chamber. Enugu North made up of people of Nsukka cultural zone, which demand for a state of their own dates back to the second republic.
Speaking to journalist in Enugu on Monday, Senator Eze said that the Senate had asked those that still feel strongly about the quest for new states to re-submit their request.
The Deputy Senate President and Chairman, Senate committee on Constitution review, Senator Ike Ekweremadu had in a media briefing disclosed that all request submitted by stakeholders did not meet key constitutional requirements.
But Eze laid the blame of the applicants to garner that appropriate signatories on the door step of the secretariat of the committee that failed to reflect the updated requests of some applicants.
According to him, the committee erroneously made its assessment based on requests submitted in 2010, instead of the ones filed in 2013.
The lawmaker also doused the worry of the people of the proposed Adada State, which he represents, stating clearly that the error was not targeted at them.
He said: 'since the report of the Senate Constitution Drafting Committee was presented, there has been a lot of misconception, especially with regards to the issue of state creation.
'I want to say categorically that it is not true that the Senate committee has ruled out the possibility of state creation; the door is still open to create state; creation of state is very possible, but it is very cumbersome.
'What happened was that the committee secretariat complicated the matter by using the request filed in 2010 instead of using the one filed in 2013, but while we didn't want to quarrel with them is that they did it across board, and they admitted that it was a mistake on their part, that they didn't see the updated request, when they were compiling, and it did not apply to A and not apply to B. It affected every state agitation and not just Adada State.
'But I think that we have also requested movements that feel strongly about state creation to re-submit their requests and we will look at them and treat them on their merits. One thing we have discovered is that we are no longer going to treat the requests holistically. Every request will be treated on its own merit, even if you meet the criteria of getting the signatures that is only an aspect.
What the senate did in the case of Adada State is that they went and used names of Reps members who had already left and then said that because of that we nearly met the requirement.
'However, that is just one aspect of it, because even if we get all the signatures, which I believe we already have, it will still pass through other processes provided for in Section 8 of the constitution, which include the issue of referendum, among other things. The referendum will be conducted by the INEC in the 36 states of the federation and will get at least two third. From there, the bill will return again to the Senate and then to the 36 states Assembly'.
He disclosed that he would present Adada request as a separate bill, stressing that 'all I am going to do as the Senator representing the area is to prepare the bill and send it to the National Assembly. If the political will is there, if the support is there, if we are able to lobby very well, it is possible before 2015. Our people should work hard to mobilize other states'.