Why N’Assembly suspended the approval of South- East Development Commission


More facts has emerged why the House of Representatives stopped a bill seeking to establish a South-East Development Commission.

Sources say that similar commissions proposed for the North-Central and another one initiated for the South-West had failed in the past.

Findings showed that many members of the green chambers believed that creating such commissions funded by huge public funds was a gradual way of splitting the country.

It was gathered that the lawmakers were of the view that creating such commissions was a way of returning the country to the system of regional government.

One source said, “Prior to the South-East commission bill, North-Central lawmakers had proposed a similar commission.

“You are aware of the issue surrounding the damage caused by herdsmen and how to rehabilitate homes and farms lost to cattle invasion. There was the case of how to develop the zone that generates electricity for the country.”

Insider sources revealed that many lawmakers reasoned that if the trend was not nipped in the bud, the country would end up with six development commissions to contend with.

“When that happens, will there still be a federation?” the source asked.

Findings showed further that the only exception, until the House recently passed the North-East Development Commission Bill, was the Niger Delta Development Commission.

One source informed SUNDAY PUNCH that the NDDC bill was passed because the region needed intervention outside the routine budgetary provisions by the Federal Government.

He said, “Oil is our mainstay. The environmental degradation in the Niger Delta, until the intervention through special funding was unfortunate. The case of the NDDC is therefore defensible.”

For the North-East Development Commission, it was also said to have been considered “justifiable” because of the destruction caused in the zone by Boko Haram.

Also, in the red chamber, Senator Adesoji Akanbi said the South-West geopolitical zone through Senator Oluremi Tinubu (Lagos-Central) had moved a motion seeking special status for Lagos but was rejected.

The lawmaker, who is representing Oyo-South, lamented that while Lagos which generates about 50 per cent of VAT was denied special status and 1 per cent of the revenue, the National Assembly passed the North-East Development Commission Establishment Bill and allocated 3 per cent of VAT to the zone.

He said, “Since other regions in the senate opposed the demand for Lagos and the South-East, are now having their way, the South-West will reopen its case.

“Now, we will all keep coming with development commissions. After that, we will all sit down and decide on what to do. But with the way things are going, restructuring is inevitable. If we have to keep one Nigeria, we have to restructure,” Akanbi said.

Also, a lawmaker from the North-West, Senator Shehu Sani, criticised the demands for regional development commissions.

He noted that the country needed “political restructuring” to solve the problems of all regions.

The Kaduna Central senator said, “I think this will lead to all regions also demanding for commissions and we may end up having a national development commission.”

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