By Tordue Salem
The Governors of Akwa-Ibom and Rivers States, Udom Emmanuel and Nyesom Wike, have demanded a return to the 1963 Constitution and the removal of resource control from the Exclusive List of the 1999 Constitution, to allow the 36 states of Nigeria to mine their resources and pay tax to the federal government.
Besides, the Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State Assembly took a different stand with the Akwa-Ibom Governor on the issue of autonomy for the Local tier of government in states.
The states separately made the demand on Tuesday at the “Zonal Public Hearing” on the review of the 1999 Constitution in Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State.
The Attorneys-General of Akwa-Ibom State, Barr. Uwemedimo Nwoko, in his presentation on behalf of the state government, called for the adoption of the 1963 Constitution, to allow states of the federation, mind their resources and pay a royalty to the federal government.
“The Akwa Ibom State government, wants the National Assembly, to adopt the 1999 Constitution which gives the states, 100% control of their resources”, he stated.
Earlier, the Head of Service, Rivers State Government, Barr. Rufus Godwin, in his submission, on behalf of the Governor of Rivers, Nyesom Wike, kicked against thirteen per cent derivation for states.
He insisted that states should be allowed to control their resources and compete favourably with other states of the federation.
“The constitution should be amended to allow for states to control their resources; you can’t be mining our resources and giving us only 13% derivation. It is not acceptable. It is wrong”, he stressed.
Mr. Godwin, also insisted on the justifiability chapter 2 of the 1999 Constitution, which he opined, was the most important part of the 1999 Constitution.
“The entire Chapter 2 of the Constitution, is actually the heart and soul of the 1999 Constitution, but sadly, it’s not justiciable. Section 6 paragraph c, says none of these principles, can be challenged in court, so this is no constitution at all”, he submitted.
He also condemned the appointment of the bulk security chiefs, from one side of the country.
The Rivers Government, also called for Judicial Autonomy, insisting, State judges should be appointed by state Governors, as against their appointment by the National Judicial Council, NJC.
He, along with the Akwa Ibom State government also backed State Policing, demanding its inclusion in a new Constitution.
“We want State Police, which will be funded by state governments and controlled by the state government”, Mr. Godwin proposed.
He also called for Independent candidates to be included in the new constitution.