The Deputy Senate President, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu, on Saturday disclosed that the National Assembly has received up to 45 memoranda from various groups from across the country for the creation of new states.
Ekweremadu disclosed this while Speaking on the subject “Constitution Amendment and State Creation”, at a public lecture organised by the Otu Oka’Iwu, a group of lawyers of South East extraction in Lagos.
He stated that 34 of the requests were intra-state demands, seven were interstate while four cut across geo-political zones.
He listed minority fears, demand for equity, need for speedy development and quest for political empires and influence by the elites as some of the key factors responsible for the proliferation of states since independence and the agitation for more.
Ekweremadu further noted that Nigeria would become a federation of 81 States should all the requests be granted.
He said the National Assembly would address critical issues, such as federalism, devolution of powers, local government administration, structural imbalances and the creation of state police, among others in the current phase of constitution amendment.
Ekweremadu observed that the nation was yet to provide satisfactory answers to some controversial questions about the propriety of the 36 state structure, the creation of new ones as against a return to regional administration based on the existing six geo-political zones.
“Has the creation of more states allayed the fears of minorities and the feelings of marginalisation and domination? Has it resulted to good governance and speedier development at state levels than we had before? If it is meant to bring governance closer to the people, what then is the essence of the local government areas? Importantly too, is the proliferation of states and even the extant ones viable and self-sustainable?”
He explained that at a time the nation was talking of reducing the size of government, and cost of governance, and at a time the nation is already sweating profusely under the yoke of unwieldy size of government at the federal, state, and local levels, the nation might be incapable of sustaining the present 36 state structure let alone create new ones.
Explaining why the creation of new states is not needed now, Ekweremadu said this is a time the nation is already sweating profusely under the yoke of huge size of government at the federal, state, and local levels and the global trend aggressively moving towards the contraction of the size of government, and cost of governance.