The Deputy President of the Senate and Chairman, Senate Adhoc Committee on Constitution Review, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege has said state creation is possible if proponents of such proposals lobby stakeholders from all the geopolitical zones of the country.
This is even as he stressed that the National Assembly only has the powers to amend the Constitution and not overhaul same.
Senator Omo-Agege spoke in Abuja on Thursday when he hosted a delegation from Katagum, Missau and Jama’are Emirates in Bauchi State.
Led by a former Head of Service of the Federation and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed, the delegation is calling for the creation of Katagum State from the present Bauchi State.
Speaking after he received the memorandum of the group, Omo-Agege disclosed that the panel would harvest from its data bank, stressing that the 2014 confab report, El- Rufai panel report of 2018 as well as constitution alteration bills already referred to the committee would enrich its assignment.
He said: “We have a lot of positions taken by various interests to the effect that the Constitution review exercise is not necessary. That what they require is a complete rewrite of the Nigerian Constitution. I am glad that we have, seated before us here today in this delegation, people who are very well read, lettered with sound knowledge of the constitution that the power granted to us as a National Assembly, precisely under Section 9 of the Constitution, is a power to amend provisions of the Constitution and not to rewrite the Constitution.
“Irrespective of my personal views, the views of members of this committee, you will need to do a lot of lobbying. No matter what we think as members of this committee about the appropriateness and justness of your cause, I want to plead with you to reach out to our colleagues from all of the geopolitical zones because not one state or geopolitical zone can give you a state. But it is about lobbying. If you do this, there is no reason why you should not be able to pull this through.
“We are working on a data bank. And it has a lot of materials. It includes the confab report of 2014 and the report of the El-Rufai’s Committee of 2018. In addition to that, we also have other materials that have come to us by way of bills”.
He pointed out that the National Assembly is just one out of the many stakeholders involved in the alteration of the national document.
“This is an exercise we take very seriously. This is a serious request. We are going to look into it and give you all of the assistance we can muster. It is not just about the National Assembly. Our job is to lay the foundation before it goes to the other stakeholders,” he stated.
Members of the Steering Committee who joined Senator Omo-Agege in receiving the guests included the Senate Majority Leader, Senator Abdullahi Yahaya; Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe and Minority Whip, Senator Phillip Aduda.
Earlier, leader of the delegation and former SGF, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed, said the call for the creation of Katagum State dates back to 1980s, adding that the Second Senate in 1981 and the 2014 National Conference had already approved the creation of the state.
While affirming his confidence in the Ninth National Assembly, Alhaji Ahmed declared that the proposed state was economically viable in the areas of agriculture, solid minerals, livestock and water resources.
According to him, when created, it would bring development closer to the people.
He said: “We are hereby presenting for your kind consideration, the request for the creation of Katagum State out of the current Bauchi State. We are doing so minding the fact that the National Assembly is the only body recognised constitutionally to initiate and create states. Anything outside that will not yield any positive result.
“Therefore we are reaffirming our confidence in the National Assembly to do the right thing at the right time”.
Other members of the delegation include Ambassador Jibrin Chinade, Ambassador Adamu Aliyu, Captain Bala Jibrin, Alhaji Buba Gamawa, Alhaji Nadada Umar, Dr. Waziri Mohammed, Rt. Hon. Umar Sarki, member representing Katagum Federal Constituency, among others.
Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, to the Deputy President of Senate.
24th September, 2020.
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