Last updated on December 20th, 2023 at 11:30 am
No democratic government has created any state in Nigeria from 1967 to date. All the present 36 states were created by military governments.
But in August 8, 2021, the Senate Committee on Constitution Review proposed that 23 more states be created in addition to the existing ones.
The history of state creations in Nigeria dates back to the military regime of Yakubu Gowon in 1967, details are available at: https://infomediang.com/history-state-creations-nigeria-1967-till-date.
The 23 New Proposed States by Nigeria’s Senate
According to a report, the Senate Committee proposed that a referendum should be conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to bring the creation to fruition.
Below are the 23 new states the Senate is proposing to be created out of the existing 36 states and the geo-political zones where each of the proposed states would come from:
|The existing States From Which They Will Be Created
|Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Imo, Enugu,
|Imo and Anambra
|Excision of Aba State
|Oil River States
|Katsina, Jigawa, and Zamfara states
|Federal Capital Territory (FCT)
Before 1967 state creation
Nigeria was a federating state comprising three regions till Independence in 1960, it became four regions by 1963 with the creation of the Mid-Western region. By 1967, 12 states were created, thereby overhauling regional government.
Other successive governments created more states to bring the total to 36 at the time of this publication.
But Nigeria’s Senate Committee on Constitution Review believes Nigeria needs more states, as such they submitted a proposal for the creation of an additional 23 new states in Nigeria.
If the creation of the new states scaled through, it would bring the total number of states in Nigeria to 59.
What the 1999 Nigeria Constitution Says About the Creation of New States
The creation of new states is a cumbersome process in a democratic dispensation because it has to pass through various stages and levels.
Creation of states isn’t done by a proclamation (decree) as we’ve seen during the military regimes in 1967, 1976, 1987, 1991, and 1996.
History shows that military regimes created all the 36 states presently in the country. A military regime only needed a few suggestions from those who are closer to the government. It is not the same in a civilian government.
This is one of the reasons the law is very clear on how the process should be done. According to the constitution, the National Assembly can NEVER unilaterally proclaim the creation of new states, it is a difficult process.
Specifically, Section 8 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria sub-section 1 entitled, “New states and boundary adjustment, etc” states thus:
Section 8 (1) An Act of the National Assembly to create a new State shall only be passed if-
(a) a request, supported by at least two-thirds majority of members (representing the area demanding the creation of the new State) in each of the following, namely –
(i) the Senate and the House of Representatives,
(ii) the House of Assembly in respect of the area, and
(iii) the local government councils in respect of the area,
is received by the National Assembly;
(b) a proposal for the creation of the State is thereafter approved in a referendum by at least two-thirds majority of the people of the area where the demand for creation of the State originated;
(c) the result of the referendum is then approved by a simple majority of all the States of the Federation supported by a simple majority of members of the Houses of Assembly; and
(d) the proposal is approved by a resolution passed by two-thirds majority of members of each House of the National Assembly.
Challenges of Creation of New States By Civilian Government
Corroborating the provision of the constitution, spokesman of the Nigeria Senate, Barr. Ajibola Basiru, says the National Assembly doesn’t have the unilateral power to create new states.
The Osun Central senator, who described the report as a gross misrepresentation of the decision of the committee on constitution review, says the committee only received several Bills proposing the creation of new states.
“We’re not in a position to recommend or proposed the creation of any state unless there is compliance with the provisions of section 8 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic as amended,” Channels TV quoted him as saying.
While totally debunking the report, the former commissioner in Osun State, stated that the committee only, “decided to refer the requests received to Independent National Electoral Commission to ensure compliance with section 8 of the Constitution.”
Maybe the military regime that gave Nigeria the 1999 constitution deliberately made it a herculean task to create additional states, maybe.
But then, experienced Nigerian legal luminaries were consulted and responsible for drafting the legal book.
What are your thoughts?
Would the creation of additional states in Nigeria solve agitation and other perceived inequality and maladministration in the country?