Tinubu to Receive Bill Proposing Return to Regional Government

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President Bola Tinubu will receive a draft bill on Friday proposing a return to a regional system of government for Nigeria. The bill, authored by Akin Fapohunda, a chieftain of the Yoruba socio-cultural association 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.” The bill aims to introduce new laws cited as “The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria New Governance Model for Nigeria Act 2024.”

Last week, the House of Representatives disowned the bill, stating that it had not been listed for deliberation in the ongoing constitutional review. However, Fapohunda confirmed that the bill would be transmitted to the President on Friday and would be made public after a seven-day waiting period.

Fapohunda, representing the Coalition of Indigenous Ethnic Nationalities (CIEN), proposed dividing Nigeria into eight geo-political regions with interim boundaries. The proposed regions include:

1. Southern Region: Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, and Cross Rivers States, with optional inclusions of Annang, Effik, Ekoi, Ibibio, Oro, Ohaji/Egbema in Southern Imo, and others.
2. South Eastern Region: Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo States.
3. Western Region: Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, and Ekiti States, including Yoruba-speaking people in Kogi and Igbomina people in Kwara.
4. Mid-Western Region: Edo and Delta States, possibly including the Anioma people.
5. Eastern Middle Belt Region: Northern Cross River, Southern Kaduna, Southern Borno, Adamawa, Benue, Kogi, Plateau, Nasarawa, and Taraba States.
6. Western Middle Belt Region: Southern Kebbi, parts of Kwara and Niger States.
7. North Eastern Region: Parts of Borno, Gombe, Bauchi, Jigawa, and Yobe States.
8. North Western Region: Kaduna, parts of Kebbi, Kano, Katsina, Sokoto, and Zamfara States.

The coalition envisions a two-tier government, federal and regional, allowing regions to manage their affairs, including creating sub-entities based on their constitutions. CIEN’s proposed governance model includes:

– Regional Governments: With executive and legislative functions, headed by Premiers.
– Provinces: Current states would become provinces with governance by Provincial Councils.
– New Constitution: Allowing regions to create, merge, and reconfigure sub-political units and reduce public administration costs.
– Federal Legislature: A unicameral body with members elected by regional discretion.
– Federal Government: Limited to nine ministries, noting that the U.S. has only 15 cabinet ministers despite being significantly larger.

The coalition also advocates for a parliamentary system with statutory rotation of headship among the regions to ensure equitable governance.


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