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South-East, South-South vote for integration, vow to champion fight for fiscal federalism

By News Express on 15/05/2017

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The South-East South-South Network (SESSNet) has resolved to pursue economic and social integration for the rapid development of the regions.

At the end of its first international conference held in Owerri Imo State on the 18th April 2017 considered several issues affecting the region.

The one-day conference canvassed for all elected officials from Abia, Anambra, Imo, Enugu, Ebonyi, Akwa-Ibom, Edo, Bayelsa, Rivers, Cross-River and Delta to urgently champion legislative measures to entrench Fiscal Federalism in line with constitutional requirements.

A communiqué issued at the end of the meeting also indicated that the conference resolved to forge economic/social integration between the South East and South South states to hasten economic development within the region, focusing on and advancing specific areas of comparative advantage and interest.

The communiqué signed on behalf of the Conference Committee by Chief Aloysius Osuji and Mr. Kalada Apiafi, also indicated that participants at the conference regretted that prolonged military interventions in the polity has stifled democratic development of the country. It therefore urged the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency seek avenues to return Nigeria to True Federalism.

“The Conference resolved to champion a thorough amendment of the Nigerian Constitution to strengthen true Federalism in which each region would exercise the right to self-determination, noting that over centralisation of the economic and political powers at the Centre has over the years crippled the initiatives for growth and development by the Federating Units.”

According to the conference, the amended constitution will allow each of the federating units to draft its constitution that will outline its means of development within its own available resources and other logistics.

Accordingly, the conference resolved that each federating state should be allowed 100% control of her natural resource endowment, while royalty would be contributed to the Federal Government at the centre. This will encourage states become creative, industrious and would actually deeply change our political system.

The Conference canvassed a clear-cut approach by the Federal Government to separate all local governments from the strong grips of the states as spelt out in the Nigerian constitution. It noted that the muzzling of local authorities by state governments has deprived the local populace of democratic dividends.

Against this background, it stressed amendment of the constitution so that that Security, Primary Education, water, Development of Infrastructure, Health care delivery, Trade and Commerce, Manpower development among others should be left to the states so as to promote development at the grassroots.

It also canvassed that the States should be granted the exclusive right to build railways, refineries, and generate their electricity. States should enjoy the right to issue licenses for exploration of mineral resources located within their territories with a workable agreement on sharing proceeds with the Federal Government.

The Conference urged the Houses of Assembly in the South-East and South-South to work with the National Assembly in working out modalities for amending the constitution to restructure and strengthen the federation, anchored on power devolution to the Federating Units.

Finally, the conference resolved that only tested, and vision-driven individuals who imbibes the above principles will henceforth be allowed to taste leadership at all levels in the region. Hence a new generation of young leaders would be groomed and supported to emerge.

Source News Express

Posted 15/05/2017 9:58:46 PM





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