By ADEBIYI ADEDAPO,
The National Assembly is working on an amendment to the provisions of the 1999 constitution (as amended) to alter the conditions and procedures to be followed in creating additional states to the existing 36 states.
This alteration provides that only democratically elected local government councils participate in the process of state creation and boundary adjustment.
Accordingly, where a referendum is to be conducted, only elected local government officials can participate.
The Bill also provides that where the President withholds his assent to a bill seeking to amend the constitution, and the bill is again voted upon by each House of the National Assembly by two-thirds majority, the bill shall become law.
According to a document exclusively obtained by LEADERSHIP, the bill, titled “A Bill for an Act to alter the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to ensure that only democratically elected local government councils participate in state creation and boundary adjustment; and for related matters,” Seeks to clarify the process of creation of new States and removing ambiguities by providing that two-thirds of States of the Federation can approve a referendum for the creation of a new State with two-thirds of each House of the national Assembly confirming this.
This Bill also allows only democratically elected local government councils to participate in the process of State creation and boundary adjustment.
The Bill seeks to amend Section 8 (1) (a) in sub-paragraph(a) (iii), by inserting, before the word, “Local”, in line 1, the words, “democratically elected” and (b) by substituting for paragraphs (b) – (d), new paragraphs ‘’(b)’’- “(d)” .
“(b) a proposal for the creation of the State is thereafter approved in a referendum by at least two-thirds majority of the registered voters of the Local Government Councils in the Area voting at the referendum where the demand for creation of the State originated.”
“(c) the result of the referendum is then approved by a simple majority of members of a State House of Assembly of not less than two-thirds majority of all the states of the Federation; and (d) the approved proposal is passed by a resolution of not less than two-thirds majority of members of each House of the National Assembly.”
Section 8 (1) of the Constitution stipulates that ; “An Act of the National Assembly for the purpose of creating a new State shall only be passed if (a) a request, supported by at least two-thirds majority of members (representing the area demanding the creation of the new State) in each of the following, namely (i) the Senate and the House of Representatives, (ii) the House of Assembly in respect of the area, and (iii) the local government councils in respect of the area, is received by the National Assembly;”
“ (b) a proposal for the creation of the State is thereafter approved in a referendum by at least two-thirds majority of the people of the area where the demand for creation of the State originated.”