• Sat. Apr 20th, 2024


Sep 28, 2017
Daniel Usifoh, Head Collective Leadership of Onu Ika Nigeria

All Progressive Congress (APC) Committee on True Federalism.From Onu Ika Nigeria. (The mouthpiece of Ika Ethnic Nationality) THE POSITION OF IKA ETHNIC NATIONALITY ON RESTRUCTURING OF NIGERIA.
INTRODUCTION: We write in response to All Progressive Congress (APC) Party call for memoranda on the issues of True Federalism, restructuring, devolution of powers, derivation principle, federating units, land tenure etc. Who are we? The socio-cultural group, Onu Ika Nigeria is the mouthpiece of Ika ethnic nationality which covers eleven (11) Kingdoms each of which is a sub-cultural unit and an historical entity that migrated to, and conquered the territory and environment as a people. The Kingdoms in alphabetical order are: ABAVO, AGBOR, AKUMAZI, IDUMUESAH, IGBODO, MBIRI, OTOLOKPO, OWA, UMUNEDE, UTE-OGBEJE, and UTE-OKPU.
Ika is made up of all the people who speak the Ika language and whose ancestral home lies some 47 kilometers to the North-West of Asaba, the headquarters of Delta State of Nigeria. It forms a major ethnic nationality in the North Senatorial District of Delta State. It shares borders linguistically in the West with the Edo language-speakers, in the North with the Ishan language-speakers, in the East with the Enuani language-speakers, and in the South with the Ukwuani language-speakers. Ika people are also found in Igbanke in Edo State with its federation of six autonomous communities, Ekpon, Idumuagbor in Ewossa, Igbogiri, Owa Iru, te-Ohenze, Ogan, Ugo, Otobaye, Ogba, Ebohighai, Urohonigbe, Urhomehe, and in many other towns and villages in Edo State. Ika people are also found in Egbudu-Akan, Obior, Nsukwa, Ogwashi-Uku, and many other towns and villages in Delta State, and the Diaspora. Ika Ethnic Nationality strongly supports, although unconventional, the approach of All Progressive Congress on the issue of restructuring. Consequently, Ika Ethnic Nationality presents its perspectives on the issues raised as per the APC clarion call.
1.1. ANALYSIS OF ISSUE: Nigeria is a complex entity with congenital weak foundation inhibiting socio-economic growth and development. Indeed, the circumstances that forced the British government to amalgamate the northern protectorate and southern protectorate on January 1914 were motivated neither by political exigencies nor by a closer cultural understanding among the diverse elements (ethnic groups). The primary interest of the British government was economic”. From the Amalgamation in 1914 to date there have been several actions to restructure, reconfigure or re-design Nigeria hoping to solve the innate problems. And of all the re-configurations euphemistically named States creation, only two were done through constitutional means while the rest were through military aberrational fiats. Progress does not always involve an obvious step forward as has been demonstrated in serial state creations. This has been the multiplier factor of the Nigerian recurring problems. State creations, in whatever form and time, have not solved our problems. If the truth must be said, the present structure of Nigeria is unworkable.1.2. RECOMMENDATION: In the light of the above, as a first step and necessary condition for emplacing our “Protocol” for enduring relationship, sustainable unity and co-existence, we strongly recommend that the present States should be collapsed into Regions or Zones. (Please see-4.2)
2.1. ANALYSIS OF ISSUE: Section 162 (1) and (2) of 1999 Nigerian Constitution as amended deals with this principle and Revenue Allocation. Briefly, “Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission shall table before the National Assembly proposals for revenue allocation from the Federation Account, and in determining the formula, the National Assembly shall take into account, the allocation principles especially those of:-Population (the worth, value and productivity of the population not relevant) Equality of states (networth of state inconsequential, pull effect for demand for state creation)Internal revenue generation (Complacency and dependency) Land mass (Net contribution of land mass not part of the determinant for revenue allocation) Terrain and population density: “Provided that the principle of derivation shall be constantly reflected in any approved formula as being not less than thirteen percent of the revenue accruing to the Federation Account directly from any natural resource”.The above principle has unwittingly institutionalized “hand-out welfare”for the States resulting in complacency and stunted economic growth and development. Put together, all these revenue allocation parameters are dis-incentive to individual regional development. Most importantly and also frustrating is that the principle is skewed to the Northern States unlike the practice in the sixties.
2.2.RECOMMENDATION: The Federation Account should be abolished. Derivation should be 45% to the Region/Zone of derivation and 30%to the Federal Government and 25% to the Local Government. This is to apply to crude oil and gas, other mineral resources and value added tax (VAT)
3.1 ANALYSIS OF ISSUE:A glance at the Exclusive list shows that the Centre/Federal Government is functionally overloaded and in performance it is suffocatingly overwhelmed. There is a clear over-centralization of power at the centre.
3.2.RECOMMENDATION: There should be an earnest and feasible devolution of power. The Centre/Federal Government should continue to handle matters concerning security, foreign affairs, currency coinage and legal tender, immigration, custom and excise duties, citizenship, naturalization and aliens. A complete review of the 68 items of exclusive legislative list as contained in Second Schedule Part I of Amended Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.10th January,2011 should be carried out by a technical committee comprising representative of the eight regions recommended in 4.2.
4.1. ANALYSIS OF ISSUE:In Principle, we have a Federal system of Government where the states are supposed to be Federating with the centre. In practice, the Federal Government is practicing Unitary Government.
4.2.RECOMMENDATION: In line with our stand on merger of states, whereby further recommend that the 36 States structure should be scrapped and eight regions be created based on the 1963 Constitution. Four Regions/Zones in the North and four Regions /Zones in the South.The North will comprise Northeast, North-central, Northwest and the Middlebelt (the old minorities of the First Republic). The South will comprise the South West, Southeast, Midwest and Southsouth (old minorities of eastern region in the first republic). Bayelsa or a part thereof could be negotiated to join Midwest.
5.1. ANALYSIS OF THE ISSUE:: The current Presidential system is unwieldy, expensive and too sophisticated for our level of development and culture.
5.2. RECOMMENDATION: We therefore recommend a return to the Parliamentary system as practised in the first Republic with the following modifications to accommodate our level of development and cut cost. i. The Parliamentarians should work on part time basis. ii. The Prime Minister, produced by the Party in Majority is only “primusinter pares” first amongst equals.iii. There should be a Ceremonial President.
6.1 ANALYSIS OF ISSUE: Nigeria political system has not matured enough to encourage independent Candidacy.In addition; there are very few politicians with propelling ideology to foster Independent Candidacy.
6.2. RECOMMENDATION: However, we advise that it should be incorporated in our new Constitution.
7.1. ANALYSIS OF ISSUE: This Act has caused more problems both for the States, Local Government Areas and the citizens. By origin and before the advent of the British, the land belonged to the ethnic/tribal groups under Kings or Monarchs. These were communal ownership. By the Land Use Act, the ownership was transferred to the Government who held title to the Land in trust.
7.2. RECOMMENDATION: The Land Use Act should not be part of the constitution and therefore should be scrapped. The Regions/Zones as recommended in 4.2 should have autonomy to ownership and control of mineral and natural resources; and pay tax as may be determined to the Federal Government.
8.1. ANALYSIS OF ISSUE: The practice of “State joint Local Government Account” into which shall be paid all allocations to the Local Government Councils of the State from the Federation Account and from the Government of the State” will be fizzled out with our recommendations in 4.2.With power devolved to the State, correspond power should devolve from the State to the Local Governments and snowball to the communities for all inclusiveness of governance.
8.2. RECOMMENDATION: With a scrapped Federation account, the new revenue allocation principle, the Local Government will be less encumbered. With full autonomy it can now perform its constitutional responsibilities. In effect, the Local Government Areas will be administrative units of the Regions/Zones.
9.1. ANALYSIS OF ISSUE: The domineering effects of the major ethnic groups (the Hausa Fulani, Yoruba and Ibos) have belittled the corporate values of the minority ethnic groups. If aggregated, the minority ethnic groups will be equal to or more than half of the whole of the major ethnic groups.
9.2. RECOMMENDATION: To ensure all inclusiveness and reduce the fear of marginalization, we subscribe to the view that Nigeria should have a policy of rotation of the key elected political positions on7
Regional/Zonal basis: National Offices and by Senatorial Districts for Regional Offices.
10.1. ANALYSIS OF ISSUE: Presently, Federal Government owns exclusively natural resources within, under the surface and off-shore,continental shelf to the disadvantage of place of origin or extraction.
10.2. RECOMMENDATION: Please see 2.2 & 4.2
11.1 ANALYSIS OF ISSUE: The Current legislature is bi-camera and it is expensive, cumbersome and sophisticated for our nascent democratic system.
11.2. RECOMMENDATION: We need a Uni-Camera legislature with members on part time basis.

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