Senate President, David Mark, yesterday said that the National Assembly would proceed with the creation of new states despite criticisms mounting against the exercise.
Mr Mark told new state campaigners from Katsina State on Thursday, that lawmakers will not bow to criticisms that the current 36 states be maintained, but will press on with the exercise to “meet the yearnings and aspirations of the people.” He said despite the condemnations, he finds the requests which have been made by several groups “genuine, desirable and necessary to address some imbalances in the present structures.”
“The more state we have,” he said, “the more there will be healthy competition between and among states, which will ultimately usher in meaningful development.” The new group, led by the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Masari, is advocating the creation of Karaduwa State, out of the present Katsina State.
The proposed area holds 11 local government councils out of the state’s total 40, and according to Mr Masari, is endowed with human and material resources, and would be economically and politically viable. The area is also rich with agricultural and mineral resources, he said.
Critics have denounced the planned exercise which the National Assembly has assured will be accommodated during the next constitutional amendment.
They have urged the lawmakers to refuse the requests, which currently total over 30, on the grounds that the new states will compound Nigeria’s problems, since many of them would lack the capacity to sustain themselves economically.
The lawmakers have also been accused of seeking to set the record as the first legislature in the nation’s history to create states.
Mr Masari admitted that the option of new states “cannot” solve Nigeria’s problems, but said that “it is the shortest way to solving them.” The Senate President, Mr Mark, said the National Assembly will not back down on the exercise, and described the question of self-sustainability as “untenable”. He said the true intent of the exercise is to draw the people closer to the government, and development.
“It will bring unity and harmony between and among federating states,” he said. On the economic strength of the proposed states, the Senate President said rather than condemning them, “we must find out why they are not doing well.”