Edo Sets Agenda For National Conference, Canvasses Regional Govt

Caption from left: Governor Oshiomhole, Speaker of Edo State House of Assembly, Uyi Igbe; President, Edo State Customary Court of Appeal, Peter Isibor and Charles Edosomwan, during a meeting to fashion out the Edo Agenda for the National Conference in Benin City.

From Jefferson Ibiwale, Benin

Edo State is proposing that the forthcoming National Conference should discuss a return to regionalism, how to divest resource control at the federal level and increase the influence and political powers of the states to promote speedy growth and development of the country.

Delegates from the state who would be attending the conference which opens next Monday in Abuja, will also push for a part-time parliamentary system of government, which they believed will reduce cost of election and corruption as well as ensure that power is removed from one person (the President) and returned to the people.

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These are part of the agenda of the Esan forum, which was adopted as the position of the state.

Other issues which the state would be proposing at the conference include decentralisation of the police force, fiscal federalism; independence of the judiciary, removal of the Land Use Act from the Constitution, removal of immunity clause and carving a role for traditional rulers.

Those to put forwards these concerns at the conference are Edy Erhagbe, Charles Edosomwan, Sylvanus Oboh, Mike Ozekhome, and Nosakhare Isekhure.

Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole noted that the problem of Nigeria today is the battle for the control of the huge resources at the federal level.

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According to him, 52.4 per cent of the declared revenue is under the control of the President, while the other 36 governors share 26% which is slightly less than half of what the central government gets.

This, he said is responsible for the country’s slow development, as projects which will have direct impact on the people are sacrificed for those that serve only a few, adding that the debate should not be about what part of the country the President comes from, but about what should be the quality of the President of Nigeria.

“Unless we alter the revenue allocation formula, we may continue on the same old road. If we review the revenue allocation formula, let Governors fight in their states, let Local Governments fight in their states and let Abuja take up the ceremonial roles of receiving Ambassadors and presidents. The tension for the control of the Abuja will reduce,” Oshiomhole said.

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He also said that “In seeking to address the Nigeria question, there must be solutions we must proffer to raise the quality of life of our people. Anything we do which does not translate to prosperity for the average people will have no meaning.”

The governor, however, kicked against decentralising the Police and Armed Forces along regional lines, saying desperate politicians could abuse the powers to harass their perceived political enemies.

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