We should re­duce states to 12 – Yaka­sai

Daily Trust - - FRONT PAGE - By Nu­rud­deen M. Ab­dal­lah

El­der states­man Al­haji Tanko Yaka­sai yes­ter­day said the 36 states of the fed­er­a­tion should be merged and trimmed to 12 for ef­fec­tive ad­min­is­tra­tion and eco­nomic pru­dence.

Yaka­sai, a del­e­gate un­der the plat­form of the el­der states­men, said this at the ple­nary while com­ment­ing on Pres­i­dent Good­luck Jonathan’s in­au­gu­ral speech.

“As part of the ef­fort to change the sit­u­a­tion for the bet­ter, we should re­duce the num­ber of states in the coun­try. Al­though, ad­mit­tedly this is very dif­fi­cult task to un­der­take it is my be­lief that we can re­vert to the 12 states struc­ture which we suc­cess­fully op­er­ated for about 9 years with­out any ad­verse ef­fect on the coun­try,” he said.

He said that the orig­i­nal case for the cre­ation of states was for mi­nori­ties to at­tain rights of self de­ter­mi­na­tion and be free from dom­i­na­tion by larger eth­nic groups. There is no log­i­cal rea­son for people hav­ing the same cul­ture, lan­guage and re­li­gion to be sep­a­rated just for the sake of play­ing pol­i­tics.

“For in­stance, there is no earthly rea­son for the sep­a­ra­tion of Kebbi and Zam­fara from Sokoto, Gombe from Bauchi, Anam­bra from Enugu, Osun from Oyo, Bayelsa from Rivers and oth­ers,” he ar­gued.

He sug­gested that leg­is­la­ture should be made a part time work, adding that “By so do­ing, we would re­duce the cost of leg­isla­tive work con­sid­er­ably as against the present sit­u­a­tion where leg­isla­tive work is said to cost 25 per­cent of the federal re­cur­rent ex­pen­di­ture.”

Yaka­sai also ad­vo­cated for “the semi par­lia­men­tary sys­tem be­ing prac­ticed by most of our neigh­bour­ing coun­tries whereby the prime min­is­ter who should be an elected mem­ber of the par­lia­ment will be re­spon­si­ble for the day to day run­ning of the af­fairs of govern­ment and dom­i­nate his cab­i­net min­is­ters from his col­leagues within the par­lia­ment.

Talk­ing about na­tional cen­sus, the el­der states­man said the North has been more pop­u­lous com­pared to the South even be­fore amal­ga­ma­tion in 1914.

Quot­ing from a book ti­tled: “1963 Pop­u­la­tion Cen­sus: Crit­i­cal Ap­praisal” by I.I Ikanem, an in­di­gene of present day Akwa Ibom state, pub­lished in 1973, Yaka­sai said even be­fore the 1914 amal­ga­ma­tion of Nigeria, the first pop­u­la­tion cen­sus held in 1911 showed that the North­ern pro­tec­torate out­num­bered the south and the colony of La­gos.

He said out I6, 054, 000 to­tal es­ti­mates of the two pro­tec­torates and La­gos colony, the North had 8,120,000 (51 per­cent); the East had 4,500,000 (28 per­cent), while the West and La­gos 3,360, 000 (20.9 per­cent) and 74, 000 (0.5 per­cent) re­spec­tively.

He said that this meant the South had 49 per­cent while the North had 51 per­cent.

He said in 1921 Cen­sus, of the coun­try’s to­tal pop­u­la­tion of 18, 720, 000; the North had 10, 560, 000 (56 per­cent), the East 5,110, 000 (27.3 per­cent); the West had 2,950, 000 (15.8 per­cent); and La­gos 100, 000 (0.5 per­cent).

He said in 1931 Cen­sus, the coun­try’s pop­u­la­tion was 20,056, 000. Of which the North had 11, 440, 000 (57 per­cent); East 4, 540, 000 (22.7 per­cent); West 3,940,000 (19.6 per­cent) and La­gos 126, 000 (0.7 per­cent).

The el­der states man added that by 1952/1953 Cen­sus, Nigeria’s to­tal pop­u­la­tion was 30, 402, 000. The break­down shows that the North had 16,835 (55.4 per­cent); East 7,215,000 (23.7 per­cent); West 6,085,000 (20.1 per­cent) and La­gos 267, 000 (0.8 per­cent).

Re­act­ing to those call­ing for the United Na­tions to come and con­duct cen­sus in the coun­try, he said these same cen­sus ex­er­cises were not con­ducted by Nige­rian but the Bri­tish.

PHOTO Ikechukwu Ibe

Re­tired Gen­eral Alani Ak­in­ri­nade (left) with Oba Olug­benle Ke­hinde at the con­fer­ence.

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