A bill advocating for the establishment of three additional states in the South-West region has been slated for presentation in the House of Representatives, stirring conversations about potential changes to the geopolitical landscape.
Spearheaded by Oluwole Oke, the lawmaker representing Obokun/Oriade Federal Constituency in Osun State, the proposed legislation aims to create Oke-Ogun, Ijebu, and Ife-Ijesa states. Titled “A Bill for an Act to amend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended),” the proposed law seeks to amend the First Schedule, Part I of the Constitution.
The suggested amendment reads, “The First Schedule, Part I of the Constitution is amended by introducing new states and reducing the number of local government areas.”
If the bill garners support and successfully navigates legislative channels, Oke-Ogun State, with Iseyin as its proposed capital, would comprise 12 local government areas, including Olorunsogo, Irepo, Oorerelope, Ogbomosho North, Ogbomosho South, Saki-East, Saki-West, Atisbo, Itesiwaju, Iwajowa, Kajola, and Iseyin.
Similarly, Ijebu State would encompass Ijebu East, Ijebu North-East, Ijebu Ode, Ikenne, Odogbolu, Ogun Waterside, Remo North, and Sagamu LGAs, with Ijebu Ode as its proposed capital.
Ife Ijesa State, as envisioned in the bill, would consist of 11 LGAs, including Atakunmosa East, Atakunmosa West, Boluwaduro, Ife Central, Ife East, Ife North, Ife South, Ilesa East, Ilesa West, Oboku, and Oriade.
In a letter dated February 6, 2024, addressed to the Clerk of the House, Oluwole Oke expressed his intent, stating, “I wish to forward the abovementioned bill to your office for further necessary legislative action to enable me to move the same in our great Green Chamber, sir.”
Currently, the South-West geo-political zone comprises six federating states, namely Ondo, Oyo, Lagos, Ogun, Osun, and Ekiti. If the proposed bill secures approval, the region would surpass the North-West, currently with seven states, establishing itself as the most populous among the geopolitical zones.
It is essential to note that any constitutional amendment must meet the stringent requirements outlined in Section 9(1) of the Constitution. The National Assembly must secure the support of a two-thirds majority of all members in each chamber and obtain approval from at least two-thirds of the state Houses of Assembly.
As the National Assembly engages in the ongoing constitution amendment process, the proposal by Oluwole Oke adds a significant dimension to the discussions on reshaping the nation’s political structure. The Constitutional Review Committee, chaired by Deputy Speaker Benjamin Kalu, is scheduled for inauguration on February 26, 2023, marking a pivotal moment in the constitutional reform journey.
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