Deputy President of the Senate and Chairman, Senate Adhoc Committee on Constitution Review, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, has said proponents of state creation can bring the states to existence if they lobby stakeholders from all the country’s geopolitical zones.
Omo-Agege stressed that the National Assembly only has the powers to amend the Constitution and not overhaul same.
The Deputy President of the Senate spoke in Abuja on Thursday when he hosted a delegation from Katagum, Missau, and the Jama’are Emirates in Bauchi State.
The delegation was led by a former Head of Service of the Federation and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Yayale Ahmed, with the delegation calling for the creation of Katagum State from the present Bauchi State.
Speaking after he received the memorandum of the group, Omo-Agege disclosed that the panel would harvest from its data bank, and stressed that the 2014 confab report, El- Rufai panel report of 2018, as well as constitution alteration bills already referred to the committee, would enrich its assignment.
“We have a lot of positions taken by various interests to the effect that the Constitution review exercise is not necessary. That what they require is a complete rewrite of the Nigerian Constitution. I am glad that we have, seated before us here today in this delegation, people who are very well-read, lettered with sound knowledge of the constitution that the power granted to us as a National Assembly, precisely under Section 9 of the Constitution, is a power to amend provisions of the Constitution and not to rewrite the Constitution.
“Irrespective of my personal views and the views of members of this committee, you will need to do a lot of lobbying. No matter what we think as members of this committee about the appropriateness and justness of your cause, I want to plead with you to reach out to our colleagues from all of the geopolitical zones because not one state or geopolitical zone can give you a state. But it is about lobbying. If you do this, there is no reason why you should not be able to pull this through,” Omo-Agege said.
He pointed out that the National Assembly is just one out of the many stakeholders involved in the alteration of the national document.
“This is an exercise we take very seriously. This is a serious request. We are going to look into it and give you all of the assistance we can muster. It is not just about the National Assembly. Our job is to lay the foundation before it goes to the other stakeholders,” he stated.
Earlier, the leader of the delegation and former SGF, Yayale Ahmed, said the call for the creation of Katagum State dates back to the 1980s. He said the Second Senate in 1981 and the 2014 National Conference had already approved the creation of the state.
While affirming his confidence in the Ninth National Assembly, Ahmed declared that the proposed state was economically viable in the areas of agriculture, solid minerals, livestock, and water resources.
According to him, when created, it would bring development closer to the people.
He said: “We are hereby presenting for your kind consideration, the request for the creation of Katagum State out of the current Bauchi State. We are doing so minding the fact that the National Assembly is the only body recognized constitutionally to initiate and create states. Anything outside that will not yield any positive result.
“Therefore we are reaffirming our confidence in the National Assembly to do the right thing at the right time,” he said.