The clamour for state creation pitted delegates against one another at the National Conference on Wednesday.
Some delegates claimed that it was wrong for the Committee on Political Restructuring and Forms of Government to have recommended for the creation of one state for the South-East alone without anything for the other zones.
The report of the committee says, “There shall be created an additional state for the South-East zone and that all other requests for state creation should be considered on merit.”
The committee approved guidelines for the creation of states by saying that any new state sought to be created must be viable.
In determining what is viable, the committee says such state must be economically viable or potentially economically viable and it should have human, natural and material resources and enough land mass.
The new state, it said, should have cultural/ historical antecedents, with strong cultural affinity amongst the population of the new state and that such a new state should have a minimum population of one million people.
There were 34 requests for state creation before the committee while a request was made to change the name of Adamawa State to Gongola State.
A delegate, who was a former Minister of Industry, Chief Nike Akande, canvassed for the creation of another state from the present Oyo State.
She requested that all requests for state creation should be considered on their merit and in accordance to the criteria.
Akande said, “I support the creation of more states and in this regard, I propose the split of Oyo State into two, which are Ibadan State and the rest. Oyo State has a landmass of about 28,245.26 square kilometres. It is one of the most urbanised states in the country. In the 2006 census, the state has a population of about 5.58million ranking as the fifth most populated among the 36 states of the federation.
“The splitting is justifiable, expedient and necessary given the position of the state. The proposed state meets the generally accepted criteria for state creation including population, viability, historical considerations, culture affinity and contiguity.
The creation of another state from Oyo State would ensure social and economic development of the states.”
In his contribution, a former National Chairman of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Ahmadu Ali, queried the rationale used by the committee toward a new state for the South-East.
He said, “I don’t know what criterion was used in awarding a state for the South-East geo-political zone. All of us must go and fight for state creation. I said it before that the old eastern region has 11 states.
“I believe that states that wish to merge should merge. Regionalism is retrogressive. The zone we also talk about is a dangerous precedent and is not constitutional. There is an attempt to smuggle it into the report of the conference.”
However, Chief Olabode George also called for the creation of Isale-Eko State from the present Lagos State.
In his contribution, a former Governor of Ogun State, Chief Olusegun Osoba, queried the reasons for the creation of local governments in the country.
He said it was wrong for highly populated states such as Lagos to have a small number of local governments while smaller states should have a larger number of local governments.
Osoba said, “Local government should be taken out of the constitution. A state like Lagos with over 12million people and only 20 local governments is unjustified. Therefore, states should be allowed to create their local governments.”
Another delegate, Mr. Lawrence Ikpeazu, kicked against the call for the creation of states, saying that unlike the country, the United States of America had a few states at the beginning but that some of the states that joined the union came with their land, people and resources.
He also rejected the call for sharing of the country’s resources, wondering why some parts of the country failed to contribute to the wealth of the nation.
Ikpeazu said, “We should not be asking for the cake when we have not contributed to the baking of the cake.”
He suggested that local government creation should not be thrown to the states to avoid abuse of the process.
Belo Aliyu (Zamfara) also said that all those agitating for state creation should be made to follow the laid down criteria, adding that that there should not be preferential treatment.