THE All Progressive Congress (APC) Restructuring Committee has submitted its report to National Working Committee of the ruling party.
The committee which called for more devolution of powers to states recommended major items be moved from the Exclusive Legislative List to the Concurrent List.
The items includes;
- Foods, Drugs, Poison, Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances;
- Fingerprints and Identification of Criminal Records;
- Registration of Business names;
- Mines and Minerals, including oil fields, oil mining, geological surveys and natural gas;
- Public Holidays (to be classified as National Public Holidays and State Public Holidays);
- Railways and
- Stamp Duties, among others.
This is according to a report on Vanguard Newspapers.
The committee headed by Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-rufai, also recommended that the current Presidential System of Government with all its limitations be upheld but said the associated twin issues of corruption and high cost of governance must be urgently addressed.
The committee kicked against the creation of more states, saying any action to the contrary would amount to “merely creating new sub-national bureaucracies and their attendant costs, while reducing the share of federal statutory allocation accruing to existing and proposed new states.”
On Autonomy for LGAs – It also kicked against local government autonomy, saying since “one size does not fit all,” the states should be allowed to legislate for local governments, including creating more councils.
“We recommend that the current system of local government administration provided for by the constitution should be amended and that states should be allowed to develop and enact laws to have local government administration system that is peculiar to each of them.”
On Resource control – the report proposed that mining, minerals, oil should go to the states.
“Then there will be certain constitutional amendments. The Petroleum Act will be amended to show that states can now issue oil mining licences; the Land Use Act, Nigeria Minerals and Mining Act, the Petroleum Profit Tax Act 2007 would all need to be amended. So, we have proposed amendment that will ensure that minerals, mining and oil are vested in the states except offshore minerals.”
On Referendum – “We also propose a constitutional amendment to allow for a referendum to be conducted on burning national or state issues before decisions are taken. Right now, the constitution has no room for referendum, but only in the creation of states.”
On Citizenship – it said “the issue of local government or state of origin is discriminatory and should be replaced with state of residence. It is around this that we have proposed an amendment to the Federal Character Commission Act to allow people domiciled in a place to be considered as indigenes.”
On Stamp Duties – “We are recommending that legislation on Stamp Duties should be moved to the concurrent list but the state will only legislate on stamp duties only for transactions involving individuals and businesses but not limited liability companies that were incorporated by the government of the federation.
On Public Holidays – “Item 8 is Public Holidays. We want public holidays to be removed from the exclusive list to the concurrent list so that there will be federal public holidays for the entire country and then states can have their public holidays. This is already happening unconstitutional. This will just make the actions of the state governments lawful and legal and avoid confrontations with the federal government on this subject.”
Police and Prisons – “Most of the prisons in Nigeria, historically, were owned by the local governments, native authorities and the state of Nigeria. They were taken over by the federal government after the coup of 1966. We are recommending a reversal to the state of things as at 1966 but an additional responsibility is that the federal government will continue to have federal prisons while we have state prisons. Again, this is a major recommendation because right now we do not have enough prisons; our prisons are congested because only the federal government can build prisons. We think that sharing this responsibility with the state will make prisons available and reduce the burden on the federal government”.
Receiving the report, National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun said by middle of February, all structures of the party would have met and considered the report.