Lagos State governor, Babatunde Fashola
By Jaiyeola Andrews and Femi Durojaiye
Lagos State governor, Babatunde Fashola Friday described the agitation for the creation of additional states in the country as an attempt to balkanize and dismember the existing ones.
Presenting the position of the state government at a one day public hearing on the proposed amendment of the 1999 constitution by the National Assembly organised by the state’s House of Assembly, the governor expressed worry over the huge cost of administrative machinery and personnel of new states.
Fashola said instead of demanding for additional states, "what people should ask for is additional local governments," submitting that it would enhance development at the grassroots and as well bring government closer to the people.
According to him, the reason why some sections of the country are agitating for the creation of additional states is hinged on perceived marginalization "but this can be addressed with the creation of additional local governments rather than balkanising or dismembering the existing ones."
On the call for devolution of power, the governor said this has become imperative, noting that the present system backed by the 1999 constitution gives more power to the government at the centre.
There are certain functions, according to him being performed by the federal government that should be devolved to states. "Certain power contained in the exclusive list should be devolved into concurrent list."
"Education, primary health care, power and creation of local government should be the constitutional responsibility of the executive and legislative arms of government at the state level," he said.
On the call for the removal of immunity clause, the governor said it should be retained in the constitution, so as to guard against distraction, adding that immunity is attached to the office not the office holders.
He reiterated the call for state police and special fiscal support for Lagos State as the former federal capital of the federation.."