The quest for the establishment of development commissions for the remaining geo-political zones in the country apart from the South-south and Northeast gained momentum recently with the introduction of three bills to that effect in the Senate. ONYEDIKA AGBEDO looks at the genesis of the move, the gimmicks around it and its likely outcome in this report.
There is a cool ‘war’ in the Senate among the geo-political zones in the country following penultimate Wednesday’s reintroduction of a bill seeking to establish the South East Development Commission. The 8th Senate had passed the bill, sponsored by Senator Stella Oduah (PDP, Anambra North) on December 12, 2018, but it did not get President Muhammadu Buhari’s assent. Should the bill secure the nod of the lawmakers again and possibly receive presidential assent this time around, it would give birth to a commission charged with the responsibility of receiving and managing funds specially allocated by the Federal Government for the rehabilitation, reconstruction and reparation for lost houses and businesses of victims of the Nigerian civil war. The commission would also address any other environmental or developmental challenges confronting the zone.
Clause 15 (2a) of the bill, which identifies source of funding for the commission, stipulates that the equivalent of 10 per cent of the total monthly statutory allocation due to the member states of the commission shall be from the Federation Account.
It also seeks the establishment of a governing board for the commission, which shall include one person each from the other five geopolitical zones of the country.