A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and former Transition Committee Chairman of Aba South Local Council of Abia state, Chief Ogbonna Dike has called for the creation of more states during the ongoing national confab to correct certain imbalances in the Nigerian federation.
In an interview with newsmen in Aba, Dike said the creation of more states would open up more areas and bring development closer to the people.
“This national conference should serve as an opportunity to right the wrongs of the past. One of such areas is the issue of state creation which I want the delegates to take as a priority. It is an issue which must be taken up if we must achieve peace and unity in the country.”
Dike who is a legal practitioner advocated for a criteria to be outlined for the creation of states to enable any section agitating for a new state to know if they are qualified at any given period.
According to him, “There are some areas that deserve to have a state carved out for them. If you assess such areas; they are qualified in all aspects: population, economy and landmass. So, what is the justification in continuing to deny such people a state? Even the existing states created by the military, what were the criteria for creating them other than politics and cronyism? States should be created based on viability, not on who you know in Nigeria. That deserving states have not been created is all due to politics and the Nigerian factor.”
The former council boss lamented that Aba zone in Abia state has since 1915 been agitating to have a state of its own, but has not been granted as a result of what he described as the Nigerian factor.
“I know some states today in Nigeria whom Aba zone’s agitation preceded theirs. I also know some states today which cannot match Aba zone in terms of viability, landmass, population and other features of modern state. A place like Aba zone if given the status of a state has the capacity to comfortably sustain itself without waiting for the monthly allocations from the centre. Aba zone already boasts of the structures needed by a modern state .There are many of such areas in Nigeria. Our representatives at the National Assembly must also realize that creation of more states is part of the ingredient of growth in any democracy.
“The issue of creation of more states in Nigeria can also promote competition in terms of development. How do you look at a situation where the South East zone has the least number of states and Local councils in Nigeria? Where the number of local councils in Kano, Katsina and Jigawa states in the North West zone are more than all the local councils in the South East zone. Is this not a great injustice? It creates more bitterness when you realize that the states and local councils are basis of sharing government revenue in Nigeria. So, the national conference should serve as an opportunity to correct these imbalances.”