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As the 88 federal Lawmakers get into gear to once again attempt a fresh change of the nation’s law books, I cannot but fervently pray for them to succeed because we wish it; we yearn for it and we want it. It is not the number of states in the country that matters but the degree of development we are able to attain. Unlike people who show irritation for the creation of new states in the country, we believe that creation of states has to a large extent brought about development, the development itself may not be the fulfilling one as expected but development has come with it. It is my personal belief that the Lawmakers also know the relevance of this to the growth of the country.
Quite optimistically, the creation of new states in Nigeria is possible, and with serious commitment, dedication, hard-work and patriotism, the nation will come alive with creation of new states because we recognize the impact of this. Although the efforts of the Lawmakers have been described as seeming eagerness and as a “mission impossible” by certain high profile politicians in our society, I know it takes unbiased review of the constitution to become a possibility, and not an exercise in futility as many may want us to assume.
We are told that creation of states is not what we need to bring more development to the country, but we forget too soon that creation of new states came with it employment, it is a now a huge assignment for anyone to reckon how many people have found employment in all the public organizations provided by all the states created in 1991. I stand my ground firmly in demonstration that creation of states is the only large national exercise in this country that has brought about development, and this is where military regimes have scored their highest points. Creations of states have proved useful in the pre and post civil War times of Nigeria. Economic policies like the Green Revolution and Operation Feed the Nation failed us completely.
Socially, MAMSA and WAI failed us, national educational policies have failed us too and population exercises in which the population of certain regions and states of the nation are deliberately reduced have offered us no results in reality but new states created have stood the test of time. Today we easily forget that the number of Airports in the country has increased courtesy of creation of new states. 36 new state capitals are in existence in the country, and all of these state capitals have Bank Headquarters, Government Agencies and other employment tools. We should realize that creations of more states in the country readily provide development to communities once hidden from Government investment plans. This is what happens when a community in Nigeria located within another state distant in kinship and other necessary affinities, remains grossly underdeveloped. This underdevelopment happen too because sometimes there are many communities scattered within a state, and the resources to cater for all of them are scarce.
We know also that many of our leaders concentrate their so-called developmental policies only their own communities and home towns to the detriment of other existing communities. These things happen and we realize it only when we fail to pretend. Igbanke an Anioma community artificially situated in Edo State in Nigeria’s political map can be argued to be the least developed community in Edo State. This community perhaps may have seen a little more light of development if allowed to join their kinsmen in Delta State or better still, the Anioma State if created.
Creation of more states no matter how we reason it has its own advantages. We mainly become oblivious uncontrovertibly that the number of politicians jostling to occupy political offices soars because there are states to accommodate them. 36 Houses of Assembly, with 36 speakers, 36 deputy Speakers exist, I have since lost count of the number of councilors in existence in the country. It is a certainly a question for Frank Edoho’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire program. Did Tinubu not steadfastly argue that he was bent on creating more Local Government Areas for Lagos State to enhance development and take it to the grassroots?
Creation of new states will also help to create balance in the country, the opponents of this exercise drumming and gathering imaginary supports forget that in this country there are some geo-political regions with less number of states and their contributions on this basis are egregiously affected, and until this is rectified Federal Character and Quota systems, two babies of the Federal Government will remain irrelevant and unachievable in whatever cause we are glibly told it is meant to achieve. The South-Zone has only five states while there are some geo-political zones with as much as 8 states. On what basis did we arrive at this? I try to ask myself this question on daily basis. How many states make up the northern region of the country and how many states make up the southern region of the country? Creation of more states must try to answer this questions no matter how opponents see it.
The crafters of our constitution deliberately made state creation not only difficult and rigorous but near impossibility, the idea I gather may have been to maintain sanity but this becomes only achievable if there is balance in place. This 1999 constitution remains an off-shoot of the 1977 constitution which represents the interest of the military for the country. This is what the constitution review team must address. The litany of contradictions and omissions paraded in the law book must be reviewed for more purposeful governance. Tenure elongation became the major factor that marred the two attempts made in 1999 and 2007 at reviewing the constitution and removing certain imbalances therein under the leadership of Olusegun Obasanjo, whose leadership recognized this but hie quest for third term extension of his office put an abrupt end to what would have been a perfect opportunity to correct this anomalies.
In announcing the emergence of new states in the country, all the past state creators neglected to create ANIOMA STATE, an agitation which has been in existence since 1951. The proposed Anioma State is defined with a group of people with unity of minds, culture and linguistics who have expressed strong determination to live within a state of their own. The region is a viable one with abundant mineral and human resources, the region with its abundant oil wealth contributes to the growth and development of the nation. The human viability of the region has also been of great significance to the running of the nation, the sustainable economy of the region uniquely larger than most of the states presently existing in the country are indeed immense. The region has one of its communities as the capital of Delta State but pundits believe that Delta State as presently constituted with diverse peoples needs about 2 more states with Edo additional 2 or 3 state to be carved out.
Anioma remains the best state yet uncreated, it is as a result of this that I make my strong appeal to the Joint Committee on Constitution Review (JCCR) with the membership of Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, the Deputy Speaker of the House of representatives, Usman Nafada, and 13 other members, each of the members produced from each geo-political zones, the one member from the senate and another onemember from the Lower House to please avoid the mistake made in the past when the creation of the state was neglected. The Anioma state if created should be allowed to remain in the South-South zone as naturally situated. We know that when created the Anioma State will contribute more the progress of the country.
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