Former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, has expressed some skepticism at the popular request for an additional state to be created in the South East region.
His skepticism stems from the fact that the issue is a constitutional one.
Ihedioha, who was speaking to newsmen recently, pointed out that the constitution defined and provided for 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“Therefore, for anyone to come up with additional state, you should amend that portion of the constitution”, he said.
The former legislator, who was the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the 2015 governorship election in Imo State, said that he would always give his support to the creation of the state, but added, “What we are talking about here is a fundamental constitutional amendment.”
According to him, as a member of the constitution review committee, he had suggested to governors in the zone to work out a common proposal in the midst of numerous demands and present, but this did not happen.
He, however, said that creation of state is not the fundamental problem of the South East zone, adding that bad governance is.
“The state of education is in utter decay and the state of health is in a sorry situation,” he said.
The former deputy speaker touched on other constitutional matters such as the clamour for restructuring and the right of autonomy to local governments.
According to him, he would want a bill in the National Assembly that defines the framework for restructuring.
On the local government autonomy, he said that he and members of the past constitution review committee of the House of Reps made positive recommendations to that effect, challenging newsmen to demand the full publication of the reports of that committee.
“There is no doubt that the local government must be autonomous and I have always lent my support to that effect. I keep saying that a situation where the local government remains at the aprons of the state governors is wrong,” he said.
He challenged the Imo people to speak out on what he sees as a deliberate killing of the local government system in the state.
(c) Christian voice newspaper