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Northern influencers say Tinubu planning to dismantle North, reject Bill seeking return to Regionalism {SEE DRAFT}

*As South’s De Renaissance Patriots say ‘Lagos won’t be part of Western Region’


Some Northern Nigerian social media influencers, including Arewa Twitter, have weekend taken to social media network wherein they ventilate their strong opposition and rejection of a Bill proposing a return regional system of government in the country.

Part of the draft bill circulating on social media, seen by Our Reporter, 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.”

READ ALSO REGIONALISM: Lagos won’t be part of Western Region in proposed regional state – Natives

Although the identities of the sponsors of the bill were yet to be ascertained, the Bill believed to have been drafted by one Akin Fapohunda from South West, when passed, would be cited as the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria New Governance Model for Nigeria Act 2024.

The DEFENDER reports that, asides the Northerners, some Southerners precisely leaders of De Renaissance Patriots, a socio-cultural group for emancipation of Lagos State indigenes from their marginalising South West neighbours who have held on to their state political power since they “unlawfully” grabbed it in 1999, have also rejected the Bill.

READ ALSO Amend Constitution to protect rights of indigenes to govern themselves – De Renaissance Patriots, Lagos [FULL TEXT]

In a statement titled, “REGIONALISM: Lagos won’t be part of Western Region in proposed regional state – De Renaissance Patriots” with a rider Want ‘a stand alone status’ for state”, the Patriots said that in event the ongoing plans through a Bill seeking the return of Nigeria to Regional government system eventually turns out to be true, they will never be part of Western Region or Province.

The bill was said to have been drafted by one Akin Fapohunda who is reportedly not a Federal lawmaker and from whose mouth it slipped that “if Nigeria could return to old national anthem, why should it not also return to regional state system of government?”

The National Assembly, through Senator Yemi Adaramodu, the senate’s spokesperson, denied in a media chat on Friday May 31, 2024 wherein he said there was no such bill before the Federal Legislature.

“Such a bill is not with us. And who is sponsoring the bill? The National Assembly plenary is always held openly with the media in the chambers,” Adaramodu said.

But De Renaissance Patriots Foundation, unconvinced by the denial, insisted on its position informed by experience of its leaders in the character of South West people who are now finding it difficult to own up to their own plans after they were exposed and what they planned to do with the bill, for reasons best known to them, has been revealed before the plan is hatched.

The Group said, “Generally and since Lagos and its environs became a colony, we have always maintained that we prefer a stand alone status and not be part of any Western Region or Province. Our Clarion call has always been “GEDEGBE LEKO WA”,” the Prince Adelani Adeniji-Adele-led natives’ group said.

De Renaissance Patriots Foundation gave reasons Lagos indigenes will not be part of Western Region being proposed.

“In recent times, our various indigenous groups had always maintained that we as indigenes of Lagos had always been having a raw deal from our neighbours in the South West, who see nothing good in us as they are only for project to marginalize us and see our state as ‘spoils of war’.

“We recall that in our history of over 100 years, Lagos indigenes in their various forms, towns and villages have never made progress and development as part of any region not to talk of the Western Region. The brief balkanization of our state to be part of the Western Region was an aberration.

“Nothing should be assumed especially from the contents of this proposed bill, especially if it has the inclusion of Lagos State as part of any region. We demand a referendum to actually reflect the wishes of the people.”

It said, “We, the indigenes of Lagos State, do not wish to be part of the regional state as being proposed in the Bill returning Nigeria into Regional government. Our leaders and Traditional Rulers opposed it in 1953 and we gained respite in 1967. We, offspring of our heroes ‘ past, will not accept it,” urging the state’s representatives in the National Assembly to consult with the elders statesmen and stakeholders before taking any action on the Bill.

Says, “This is beyond the ruling party and state government affairs”, they said, “Lagos State cannot be brought into nothinhness through the South West Region proposal by this Bill surreptitiously.

“The old cry of our struggle during colonial rule still stands: “GEDEGBE L’EKO WA,” the Lagos natives concluded.

The sponsors of the Bill explained that the current Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as Amended) is not “autochthonous” as it does not evolve from the deliberations and consensus of the Nigerian people. According to the advocates, the Constitution amendment would be subject to a “yes or no” vote in a referendum by the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Extracts from Bill

Part of the draft Bill cited on Friday partly read:

“PART I – Preliminaries: WHEREAS Nigeria, its Peoples and Government have been governed under Decree 24 of 1999 that was handed down by the then Military Government without the express consent of the people despite the preamble of “We the people.”

“WHEREAS the said Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as Amended) is not autochthonous as it does not evolve from the deliberations and consensus of the Nigerian People.

“WHEREAS the Peoples of Nigeria now desire and effectively demand for a change to a Constitution based on Federal/Regional System of Government.

“WHEREAS the Federal and Regional governments are to operate within the provisions of this Constitution, it is within the discretion of the ethnic blocs within the States that constitutes a given region to aggregate or disaggregate as Provinces, Divisions and Districts, while being in control of their affairs without let or hindrance at whatever level of governance.

“Whereas the 1999 Constitution as amended is a schedule of a military decree now deemed to be an Act of the National Assembly for which the National Assembly have the powers to amend and/or abrogate as expedient.

“Whereas the National Assembly where so necessary and expedient can invoke the doctrine of necessity to resolve any point of law for the good governance of the country Nigeria.”

On PART 11 – Substitution Clause, the drafters proposed that the National Assembly shall invoke its inherent powers to expunge the schedule attached to decree 24 of 1999 often referred to as 1999 Constitution as amended from the decree, which “is now deemed to be an Act of the National Assembly to which the National Assembly have the powers to so do and replace same with a new governance model for Nigeria effective not later than October 1, 2024.”

“This amendment is subject to a yes or no vote in a Referendum by the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” it proposed.

On governance structure under PART III – Stipulations for Federal Administration, the sponsors proposed that: “(1) Nigeria shall be a Federation comprising of Regional Territories and a Federal Capital Territory and shall be a Republic to be known by the name of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“(2) The territorial jurisdiction of Nigeria shall comprise the territory of the Regional members of the Federation and its boundaries shall be as determined by international agreements.

“3.2 Basis of the Federation: “(1) Every Ethnic Nationality and People in Nigeria has an unconditional right to self-determination within here delineated territories.

“(2) The sovereignty, powers and authority to formulate the articles of association towards any reform of the Central Federal Government of Nigeria, at any other time shall lie jointly and severally with all the ethnic nationalities occupying their respective territories.

“(3) Every Ethnic Nationality and People in Nigeria has the right to a full measure of self-government which includes the right to establish institutions of government in the territory that it inhabits and to equitable representation in the Federal and Regional Governments.

“(4) A “Ethnic Nationality or People” for the purpose of this Constitution, is a group of people who have or share large measure of a common culture or similar customs, mutual intelligibility of language, belief in a common or related identities, a common psychological make-up, and who inhabit.”

Northern vow rejection

Meanwhile, some notable Northern social media influencers have vowed not to support the proposed bill.

Comrade Abiyo Roni from Jigawa State wrote: “As a Northerner I will never support Regional Government, for the past 64 years of Independence what does North gain in terms of Political, economic and educational development, in every aspect the North where left behind. Our North region is the most retrogressive region in the country, so let’s build North before any regional government.”

Sarki wrote: “Simply put, I’m not against a regional system of government, but this is not the right time for it because the North is at a disadvantage. Get rid of insecurity and return our region to us as you found it, and then we can consider reverting to that system of government.”

Hamma Hayatu, public analyst and political strategist, wrote: “Tinubu did not promise restructuring Nigeria during the campaigns, but the Nadeco spirit in him will definitely tow toward that. An unverified kite of bill about regional government is being flown now.”

Arewa Twitter wrote: “This (Yoruba) government want to dismantle the North logically. These people know exactly what they are doing. Our northern leaders, elders, and youth are hungry people. (Those that supported APC). They collected APC spaghetti and Tinubu’s money, so they can’t say anything…”

See pages of the draft Bill below:

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