There are several ways to skin a cat

or more than one way of achieving an aim…

Quite a lot of us have been yapping on about Nigeria needing true federalism and that our political, constitutional and economic structures are in dire need reform. Several of our federating units can really unleash pent up productivity within their states if they can get themselves disentangled from the drib drab of monthly FAAC or loosen the grip of the FG by watering down its enormous powers as expressed by the “exclusive legislative list”. For example, I imagine that the second Niger bridge or that more larger/international ports would have been built by governments of the South East and South South had this not been restricted to the exclusive legislative list. Given this fact that the federal government is literally holding back the development of quite a number of economically critical federating units and that changing this can only come via the federal legislature and constitutional amendments, why have Speakers of the Houses of Assembly of SE, SS and SW states not banded together to lean on their federal legislators to co-sponsor a bill that will bring this much needed change?

The President or federal government for example cannot stop the Speakers leading or sponsoring such a bill. Constitutional amendments require two-thirds (or 66%) of States HOAs and both chambers of the National Assembly to vote for an amendment. For example, the SS, SE and SW in combination control 47% of the NASS which also equates to 17 states. This implies that for a reform amendment that entrenches federalism and reduces the overbearing nature of the federal government, they’ll require 7 states, 22 Senators and 71 House Reps in addition to get the amendment through. Majority of this can be lobbied from North Central states (including Abuja – 7 States, 19 Senators and 51 House Reps) being the closest to SS, SE and SW geography wise. With adequate public sensitisation and buy-in, visionary leadership and comradeship – the Sponsors of such reform bill should be able to lobby 3 more Senators and 20 House Reps required to get the amendment bill over the line.

Political elites like Atiku Abubakar from the North East who have championed the cause of true federalism hopefully will be able to lobby the 3 Senators from his state Adamawa to make up the senatorial shortfall and reduce the House Rep shortfall by 8. I’m not sure where the final 12 House Reps needed to get the amendment bill over the line will come from but I imagine Kaduna State will probably benefit from the amendment and has 16 House Reps – maybe 12 of them can band with the rest of the reformers to get it through?

Whilst I may have been a little unfair in my last post about elites not sponsoring any bill that help our nation progress (Madam Oby Ezekwesili did good work with NEITI, Procurement Act etc), the type of amendment that will actually move us forward and remove the bottleneck that is the federal government have not been proposed.

We don’t need a messianic President to move us forward; we just need people power via the legislature to chart the course that we desire.

 

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There are several ways to skin a cat

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