Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

More new states?

In March 2014, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan created a National Conference. This was, in part, a reaction to claims that the present-day constitution of Nigeria was not legitimate. The main basis for this claim was that the constitution was promulgated by a military government and never approved by the people. Many people, especially in the north, opposed the creation of a new constitution, fearing that they would be disadvantaged by it.

The Conference was not intended to write a constitution, but to make proposals for improving the governance of the country. Committee reports from the Conference are beginning to revealed. Not everyone is happy. Some northern delegates have walked out of the conference. Some southerners have protested proposals for a new state in the south. Should we expect opposition like that to changes in the status quo? Can you come up with good reasons for the proposed changes? How about good reasons to oppose the proposals?

Delegates Approve Power Rotation, Reject Single Six-Year Term for President
Delegates to the National Conference yesterday… recommended that there shall be rotational presidency among the six geo-political zones of the federation.

They also recommended that upon the death of the president, the vice-president shall only act for 90 days, following which an election would be held to chose the substantive president. The delegates also recommended the creation of additional 18 states and that there shall be a parity of states within the zones…

The conference also… rejected the adoption of a parliamentary system of government and a bicameral legislature. It also rejected adoption of the French system of government which has both prime minister and president…

National Conference in Disarray As North Walks Out of Consensus Building Group
A major crack that may truncate the ongoing national conference has emerged, with delegates from the Northern part of the country alleging betrayal, rejecting some decisions reached at plenary and walking out of the consensus-building arrangement instituted by leaders of geo-political zones…

The National Consensus Building Group, which had three members each from each of the six geopolitical zones, was formed to reduce bickering and rally members across regions to support popular recommendations of the Conference…

But an influential northern delegate, Auwalu Yadudu… accused other members of sidelining the north in drawing up the consensus…

Mr. Yadudu wrote… "It is a well-known fact that the document circulated and the 'agreements,' 'conclusions,' reached have been drawn up and vigorously canvassed by some zones in concert to the exclusion of delegations from our states and other vital stakeholders… "

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