We want Nigeria to have only 12 states instead of 36 – Northern Leader

Northern leaders have called for the restructuring of the Nigeria to 12 state-structure, devolution of powers and 100 per cent resource with suspicion and cautious optimism.

The Northern leaders made this call during a courtesy visit to PAN-Niger Delta Forum, (PANDEF), umbrella group of monarchs, leaders and stakeholders of the coastal states of Niger-Delta.

The Northern leaders, who identified themselves as Friends of Democracy, advocated a return to the 12-state federal structure of 1967 and 100 per cent resource control was thought-provoking, but calls for restraint and further cross-questioning.

Daily Times gathered that elder statesman, Alhaji Othman Tofa, Alhaji Sule Hamma, Dr Abubakar Mohammed,  Ambassador Fatimah Balla; Mr. Sam Nda-Isaiah; Bashir Yusuf Ibrahim; Mai Bilya Bala; Mr. Hubert Shaiyen; Dr Kabir Az-Zubair, Professor Jibrin Ibrahim and Dr Usman Bugaje, had in a memorandum to the National Assembly Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution had, among other recommendations, said: “The 12 states shall be designated as regions and shall have control of their resources, while paying appropriate taxes to the Federal Government.”

They also canvassed that “mining should be reassigned to the concurrent list with on-land mining under the federating units and off-land mining under the control of the government of the federation.’

’According to the Vanguard, the Pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, also agreed with most of the views of the northern leaders and hoped to inter-face with them later. National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, said:

‘’We agree with most of their submissions, which show there may be yet another opportunity to save this country from total collapse. We shall be interfacing at some point.’’

But Ohanaeze Ndigbo, rejected the Northern leaders’ proposal on control of natural resources, saying it is still skewed in favour of the north. Noting that it was good that some people in the north have realised the need to restructure the country.

President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, who spoke through his Adviser on Media and Publicity, Emeka Attamah, said their proposal on onshore/offshore resources mining was unacceptable to Ndigbo.