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What makes SNC difficult?- By Dr. Leonard Shilgba

By Dr. Leoanrd K. Shilgba, Yola, Nigeria – Feb. 26, 2012 – There are facts that only a few Nigerians can either ignore or dispute.

Fact number 1: Not all ethnic nationalities are represented either at the state or national level. And there are some ethnic nationalities that have no elected or selected representatives at even the local level. They have no voice at the local, state, or national level. Since members of the National Assembly are the only ones that can approve or write a new constitution for Nigeria, what about representatives of ethnic groups?

Fact number 2: Nigerians did not approve the Decree 24 of 1999 that created the 1999 Constitution, which set up the bicameral legislature that is so expensive, unwieldy, and very ineffective. Evidence is that for more than 12 years, the national legislature has not been able to effect amendments that will bring about social justice and prudence in government expenditure. The National Assembly lacks either the courage or the capacity to carry out the “amendments.” For instance, can the National Assembly make an amendment to scrap the Senate, leaving only the House of Representatives, composed of all ethnic nationalities, and whose members will serve part-time and be paid accordingly? Can the National Assembly amend the constitution to scrap the huge number of government departments wrongly called states that cannot even pay their workers’ salaries without allocations from the Federation Account? Can the National Assembly either scrap local government areas in some parts of the country and create some in other parts of the country; or remove local governments from the list of levels of government that can partake in revenue-sharing in order to bring about social justice? Can the National Assembly bring revenue derivation to at least 50 per cent in order to provoke productivity at state level, as well as healthy competition among states?

Fact number 3: The second chapter of the 1999 constitution, entitled Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy provides great benefits for citizens, even as it encourages waste through provisions such as the requirement that at least one minister from each state of the federation should be appointed into the central government. Unfortunately, Section 6 of the same constitution absolves government of responsibility in the failure to provide those benefits to Nigerians. Can the National Assembly correct this? For instance, can the National Assembly either reduce the number of states to about six (according to geo-political zones), while increasing derivation to at least 50 per cent for local communities and the six states?

Fact number 4: There are 68 items on the “Exclusive Legislative List” of the 1999 constitution which inhibit rapid development at the state level. For instance, the Odua rail line was to be built between Lagos and Ibadan and completed in 2006 (Odua consists of the Yoruba states of the South-West of Nigeria). The Nigeria Railway Corporation stopped this because the matter was and still is on the Exclusive Legislative List (item 55). This has impeded development in Nigeria rather than facilitate it. Yet, we have a national legislature that has neglected to amend such chimerical provisions that are deleterious to Nigeria’s development.

With more than 112 million Nigerians reportedly living below the poverty line and the ineluctable continued state of insecurity, the National Assembly should be careful about their continued resistance to the methods and principles of forging a more perfect union.

Nigerians are not begging the National Assembly to allow a sovereign national conference; we are demanding and we shall have it.

—Shilgba, PhD, an Associate Professor of Mathematics with the American University of Nigeria, wrote vide shilgba@yahoo.com

Short URL: http://newnigerianpolitics.com/?p=18219

Posted by on Feb 25 2012. Filed under Articles, Columnists, Leonard K. Shilgba, PhD, NNP Columnists. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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