…Says: ‘They fear reduction in empires’
Stories from ADETUTU FOLASADE-KOYI, Abuja
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Smart Adeyemi, has raised the alarm that governors will derail fresh attempts by the National Assembly to amend the 1999 Constitution. He said the state chief executives opposed Constitution review and are already demanding more powers in the amendment which would come into operation next July.
Sen. Adeyemi, former national president of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), told reporters in Abuja that governors want the National Assembly to hands off certain clauses in the Constitution. He listed them to include creation of more states, removal of immunity clause, financial autonomy for state Assemblies and local governments.
His words: “They are opposed to state creation because they believe it will reduce their empires. They are against the removal of immunity clause because they don’t want their atrocities exposed while in office and they are against the autonomy of the state Assemblies because they want to enslave them. If we have governors who are progressives, the Constitution amendment would be successful.
“They will not allow the Constitution amendment to be successful. They are going to derail it. The fundamental aspect of the Constitution amendment is the autonomy. If we cannot get the state Assemblies to be autonomous, there will be no development and the standard of living of the people will be static. “The governors are already saying that they don’t want it. How can one individual be determining the freedom of a whole state? It is for the media and the civil society to rise up against the governors and allow people to have their freedom.” On whether the Senate is helpless in addressing the situation,
Adeyemi replied, “with the provision of the Constitution handed over to us by the military, we have to obey and respect the content and spirit of the Constitution. “We cannot amend the Constitution without getting two-thirds of the state Assemblies concurring with us and the governors are also saying that they don’t want the autonomy of local governments, he said. “Were the local governments created by governors themselves? The Local Government Reform of 1976 was meant to bring governance closer to the people, and subsequent Constitution amendments recognized local government as the third tier of government.
The governors are demanding more powers for the states from the Federal Government, while they are against freedom for another tier of government. “The states were not created to ensure a true federal structure. In creating a state, factors such as norms, cultures, values and linguistics are taken into consideration. That is why states are not equal in the U.S. People agree to live together.
“The way some of the governors behave now, if we some of them, based on their comments, become president, you can have an idea of the kind of government they are going to run. How can they be against local government autonomy? Sitting on the resources meant for local government is unconstitutional, he said.”