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Confab delegates canvass for new constitution

02 April 2014, 10:59

Abuja - Delegates at the National Conference on Tuesday canvassed for fiscal federalism and a new constitution for the country.

The delegates made the call at plenary while deliberating on President Goodluck Jonathan’s inaugural speech on March 17.

Mimibariya Amange, a Federal Government delegate, called for fiscal federalism to ensure federating units source their funds, develop their states at their pace while paying tax to the centre.

He said a situation where states depended mainly on the federal government was not a reflection of fiscal federalism.

Amange stressed the need for the delegates to look critically at the issue.

"When a structure is old, we either pull it down or put a new structure or we inject positive ideas.

"The structure as we see today called Nigeria is faulty in the sense that today we call it Federal Republic of Nigeria.

"How federal is Nigeria when the federating unit will come to Abuja every 18th of the month cap in hand begging for allowance from the federal government.

"Today we do not have more than 10 states in Nigeria. The rest are glorified local government areas. If a state cannot generate funds to pay salaries of its workers, how do you call such a state?’’ he asked.

Amange urged delegates to ensure that they address the issue of fiscal federalism and other important issues that would ensure the development of the country.

Another delegate, Annkio Briggs, a delegate representing the Federal Government, said the 1999 constitution was no longer viable considering its inconsistency.

She said it was high time Nigeria had a new constitution that would promote equality and selflessness.

"The constitution of 1999 is no longer acceptable to the people of Nigeria.

"Therefore, we need a constitution that will be based on justice and brotherhood, not greed for power and selfishness,” she said.

Briggs emphasised the need for delegates to discuss issues that would foster the unity of the country and not its breakup.

She said that all hands must be on deck to ensure that Nigeria competed favourably with other countries.

"The survival of Nigeria is the survival of all the different people that make up Nigeria,” Briggs said.

 - NAN

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