•As lawmakers, groups demand for Orlu, Okun, Katagum, Ibadan states

From Ndubuisi Orji Abuja

There are indications that the House of Representatives would consider proposals for the creation of new states as part of the ongoing review of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

So far, members of the House and some interest groups have presented about 14 proposals from different parts of the country to the Green chamber.

There are currently 36 states in the country distributed unevenly among the six geo-political zones. The South South, South West, North Central, as well as North East, have 6 states each, North West has seven states, while South East  has five states.

The proposal for new states include a bill for the  creation of Orlu State, which is sponsored by the member representing Ideato North and South Federal Constituency of Imo, Ikeagwuonu Ugochinyere, and 15 others.

According to the bill, the proposed Orlu State, which would be carved out of the present Imo, Abia and Anambra states, would have its capital in Orlu.

Similarly, the member representing Obokun/Oriade Federal Constituency of Osun State, Wole Oke,  has   a bill for the creation of three new states from Ogun, Oyo and Osun states. The proposed states are Oke-Ogun, Ijebu and Ife-Ijesa with Iseyin, Ijebu-Ode and Ile-Ife, as their capitals, respectively.

The bill, which has scaled the first reading is also proposing the reduction of local government areas in Ogun, Oyo and Osun states.

Also, the member representing Ogbomoso North/ Ogbomoso South/ Oriire Federal Constituency of Oyo State, Olamijuwonlo Alao-Akala, has equally sponsored a bill for the creation of Ibadan and Oyo states. 

According to the bill, which is seeking an alteration of the First Schedule of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) to accommodate the two new states, the proposed Ibadan State will have Ibadan as its capital, while Ogbomoso will serve as the capital of the new Oyo State.

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The bills, for the creation of new states, which have passed through the first reading in the House, are currently awaiting second reading, during which the general principles will be debated. If the bills scale the second reading, they will be referred to the Special Committee on Review of the Constitution for further legislative actions.

Apart from the constitution alteration bills, documents obtained by Daily Sun indicate that different interest groups have also submitted memoranda for the creation of  Kainji, Apa, Lagoon, Ala, Amana, Okun, Katagum, and Benue Ala states to the Constitution Review Committee.

The proponents of the creation of Kanji, want it carved out of the present Kebbi and Niger states. While the proposed Apa, Okun and Katagum states are to be carved out of Benue, Kogi and Bauchi states.

Similarly, there are also proposals for the creation of Benue Ala from the present Benue State; Lagoon State from the present Lagos State, and Amana State from the existing Adamawa and Benue states.

When contacted, the chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Akin Rotimi Jnr, said the House would consider every bill and memoranda bordering on the review of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

Rotimi noted that the House would defer to the collective wisdom of Nigerians on requests for the creation of new states.

“I am aware that a number of members have presented bills for new states to be created. Ours is to superintend over a process that is as inclusive as possible, and everybody’s voice is taken into consideration, and the collective wisdom of the House is what is upheld.

“However, you know that matters of state creation border on constitution reforms. And on such matters; it is not just about the House or the National Assembly as a whole. It involves a process that involves multiple stakeholders.

“We have said that the process of the constitution review is going to be a transparent one that is inclusive of all shades of opinion.

“The House will consider everything that is in the best interest of Nigerians. The House will take seriously every single memoranda that is submitted for constitution review, and every single constitution amendment bill will be tabled before the House, so that it is deliberated and the collective wisdom of the House will determine how those things are taken forward.

“I  can’t preempt whether or not new states will be created; that is because it hasn’t been brought for debate. Those bills that you particularly talked about, I think some of them have only passed first reading. So, it will be debated before the House, and the collective wisdom of the House will determine how it goes forward.”


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