The National Conference has adopted a recommendation of its Committee on Political Restructuring and Forms of Government for the creation of 18 new states in the country, as well as for the rotation of the office of the president.
It specifically agreed that in the spirit of reconciliation, equity and justice, an additional state should be created for the South East zone, which currently has only five states.
If the Federal Government accepts the recommendation, the country will have 54 states with nine in each of the six zones.
The Conference also accepted the recommendation for the rotation of the presidency between the North and South and among the six geo-political zones while the governorship seat should be rotated among the senatorial districts in each state.
The Committee co-chaired by Ike Nwachukwu and Mohammed Kumalia in its report presented on Monday, said the subject of state creation had remained a huge political issue in Nigeria.
“The Committee examined the reports of the National Political Reform Conference and the report of the Presidential Committee on Review of outstanding issues from recent Constitutional Conferences 2012 (the Belgore Report) and after wide consultations and extensive deliberations and in the interest of equity, justices and fairness,” they added.
Some of the proposed states approved by the Confab are Apa from Benue State, kainji from Kebbi, Katagum from Bauchi, Savannah from Borno, Amana from Adamawa, Gurara from Kaduna, Ghari from Kano, Etiti from South East, Aba from Abia, Adada from Enugu and Njaba-Anim from Anambra and Imo.
The others are Anioma from Delta State, Orashi from Rivers State, Ogoja from Cross River State, IJebu from Ogun State and New Oyo State from the present Oyo State.
The Conference is to later determine the names of the remaining two other states and their capitals, which are to be created in the South-South and South West zones.
The Conference, however, noted that any new states to be created should be economically viable or potentially viable and should have human, natural and material resources. It also resolved that that a new state should have minimum population of one million persons.
It rejected an amendment that said the National Assembly by resolution passed by a simple majority or membership should approve the merger of states and that the merged states shall exist as a region.
The Conference agreed that there should principle of zoning and rotation of elective offices at the federal and state levels on the basis of excellence, equity, gender justice and fairness.
The Committee had recommended that the Electoral Act and the Constitution of Political Parties should provide Principle of zoning / rotation of elective offices at the federal and state levels on the basis of equity, justice and fairness
The Conference rejected a single term of six years and a unicameral legislature for the country and accepted a recommendation that there should be quarterly question time for the President and question time for ministers at the legislature to enhance accountability.
However a Civil Society Organisation delegate, Femi Falana, opposed the adoption for the creation of 18 new states, stating that “Having regard to the several resolutions of the National Conference on the need to reduce the costs of governance, I found the recommendation for the creation of additional 18 states rather contradictory,” he told journalists after the plenary session.