Mixed reactions on Tuesday in Lagos continued to trail the increasing call for the creation of more states in the country.
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu had said, at a retreat in Asaba last week, that requests for creation of more states rose from 46 in 2011 to 56. NAN reports that key issues raised at the retreat include tackling devolution of power for true federalism, indigeneship, financial autonomy and creation of state police. Others are the creation of more states and one state for the South-East for equity.
Speaking in separate interviews with NAN, the Deputy National Chairman of the United Nigeria Peoples Party, Chief Wilson Odum-ojobi, advocated the return to regional government with many local governments.
“How viable are the existing states? I do not believe in the creation of more states because the governors benefit from the states."
“Instead of creating more states, make the local governments stronger, decentralise federal and states (provincial administration),” he added.
According to him, if this is done, we will reduce cost and there will be more development.
The National Chairman of the Advanced Congress of Democrats, Malam Yusuf Buba, said the creation of more states was not the priority of Nigerians for now.
“I do not think we should consider creating more states now. What we should concern ourselves with is security and fighting corruption."
“Most of the existing states don’t generate internal revenue for themselves, apart from Lagos State."
“Some of them can’t even sustain themselves, not even to pay salaries as at when due, they all depend on the Federal Government for their resources."
“So if we create more states, how do you sustain them?” he asked.
According to him, corruption and the high cost of managing governance of the states and even the Federal Government is the cause of corruption in the country.
The South-West Secretary General, Conference of Nigeria Political Parties, Chief Gboyega Adeniyi, also kicked against the creation of more states.
“We don’t need more states. We need a fundamental change in governance, not the creation of more bureaucracies,” he said.
He suggested that states should rather be merged for meaningful development.
The Country Director, Global Initiative and African Development, an African nongovernmental organisation, Mr. Abraham Braithforth, however, called for the creation of more states to accommodate interest groups.
“The creation of more states will give room for economic and social growth,” he said.
The National Chairman, African Renaissance Party, Alhaji Yahaya Ndu, also agreed that “the country does not need more states.”
He said, “The problem confronting Nigeria is not the creation of more states but the need for a Sovereign National Conference, where Nigerians can work out modalities for sustainable and peaceful development,” he said.