July 20, 2024

On Friday, President Bola Tinubu will receive a draft bill proposing a return to a regional system of government in Nigeria.

This bill, authored by Akin Fapohunda, a prominent member of the Yoruba socio-cultural group Afenifere, is titled “A Bill for an Act to Substitute the Annexure to Decree 24 of 1999 with a New Governance Model for the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

If passed, the new legislation will be cited as “The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria New Governance Model for Nigeria Act 2024.”

Despite previous reports indicating that the House of Representatives had not included this bill in their ongoing constitutional review, Fapohunda confirmed on Thursday that the bill will be submitted to the President on Friday.

Fapohunda, representing the Coalition of Indigenous Ethnic Nationalities (CIEN), outlined a proposal to divide Nigeria into eight geopolitical regions. The regions would include:

Southern Region: Comprising Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, and Cross River States, with optional inclusions from Southern Imo and Northern Ondo States.
South Eastern Region: Consisting of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo States.

Western Region: Including Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, and Ekiti States, along with parts of Kogi and Kwara States.

Mid-Western Region: Made up of Edo and Delta States, potentially incorporating the Anioma people.

Eastern Middle Belt Region: Encompassing parts of Northern Cross River, Southern Kaduna, and several other states.

Western Middle Belt Region: Including Southern Kebbi and parts of Kwara and Niger States.
North Eastern Region: Comprising parts of Borno, Gombe, Bauchi, Jigawa, and Yobe States.

North Western Region: Consisting of parts of Kebbi, Kano, Katsina, Sokoto, and Zamfara States.

The proposed governance model envisions a two-tier system, with federal and regional governments. Regions would have the autonomy to manage their affairs, including creating sub-entities based on agreed stipulations in their constitutions.

CIEN’s proposal also suggests transforming the current states into provinces with Provincial Councils and redesigning Local Government Areas into divisions focused on socio-economic development. Additionally, the coalition advocates for a new constitution that allows regions to create or reconfigure sub-political units and emphasizes reducing the cost of public administration.

The coalition also recommends a unicameral federal legislature, decentralizing federal power to not more than 10 regions, and reducing the number of federal ministries. They suggest a return to a parliamentary system with statutory rotation of leadership among the regions.

Fapohunda plans to publicly release the draft bill a week after its submission to President Tinubu.

 

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