Southern Governors To Use Proposed Constitutional Amendment To Achieve Devolution Of Power
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Southern Governors To Use Proposed Constitutional Amendment To Achieve Devolution Of Power


Southern Governors To Use Proposed Constitutional Amendment To Achieve Devolution Of Power Governors from the southern regions of Nigeria have resolved to attain restructuring and devolution of power by amending the country’s 1999 constitution. Addressing the press after the Southern Governors’ Forum held in Lagos, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State said that the governors had reached a conclusion to amend the constitution in such a way that would devolve greater power to the states. He said this would help states’ finances and would prevent them from having to approach the federal government to request funds needed to run their states. “States are disparaged for always carrying begging bowls to Abuja in quest of handouts from the federal government. This is a function of our present national constitution that burdens the federal government with activities and responsibilities that rightly fall within the province of states,” Mr Ambode explained. “The productivity and revenue-generating capacities of most states are thus stifled, thus turning them into no better than street beggar states incapable of even meeting routine obligations of paying workers’ salaries and pensions without federal support. The Lagos State governor urged southern governors to be actively involved in the amendment process of the 1999 constitution which would help achieve true federalism and rule of law. Mr Ambode stressed, however, that the constitutional amendment would not weaken power at the federal level. “It is important for this forum to comprehensively look at the proposed amendments with a view to working with our respective Houses of Assembly to ensure a coordinated response on our part that will strengthen the practice of democracy, federalism, constitutionalism and the rule of law,” he said. Mr Ambode further explained that the Supreme Court declaration in 2002 ordered the abolition of special funds created by the federal government for matters that it prioritizes, noting that this would help the governors achieve their aim. “The Supreme Court, in that case in 2002, abolished the special funds created by the federal government to enable it to draw funds from the Federation Account to pay for matters that fell within its exclusive responsibility before sharing whatever was left with states and local governments,” Mr Ambode said. Governors from the southern regions of the country were present at the forum, excluding governors of Cross River, Anambra and Delta states, who were represented by their deputies.

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