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Reps disown trending draft bill seeking return to regional govt

The House of Representatives has disowned a trending draft ‘bill’ for discussion, seeking a return to the regional system of government.

Titled, “A Bill for an Act to substitute the annexure to Decree 24 of 1999 with a new governance model for the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” the draft seeks among others, a new extant laws to be cited as “The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria New Governance Model for Nigeria Act 2024.”

The document, which has been trending on social media, is said to have been drafted by one Dr Akin Fapohunda, who is neither a lawmaker in the Senate or the House of Representatives; an indication that the said draft legislation is a private bill.

Dismissing the draft bill in a telephone conversation with our correspondent, House spokesman,  Akin Rotimi, said, “The Committees on Rules and Business and Constitution Review have confirmed that there is no such bill before them.”

Similarly, the Chairman, House Committee on Rules and Business, Francis Waive, told PUNCH Online that the said bill is not before the committee.

He said, “There are two routes to making presentations for constitutional amendments. One is by members proposing an amendment bill during the plenary. The second is by memoranda from individuals and groups to the Constitution Review Committee

“Please, note that memoranda submitted should eventually come by way of bills sponsored by a member of the committee.
On this specific memo (draft bill) under reference, I doubt if it has come before the Rules and Business Committee for listing. I speak as chairman of the committee.”

Meanwhile, the man behind the bill spoke with our correspondent exclusively on the matter on Friday.

Fapohunda told our correspondent that he retired from the public service as a director in the Presidency.

“I have a PhD. in Agricultural Science, but I am into Information and Communication Technology. I have been involved in constitution drafting for years,” he said.

Fapohunda gave a reason for coming up with the draft bill, saying, “The President, this week returned us to the old national anthem. At independence, Nigeria embraced a regional system of government. So, I felt we could also revisit the past and return to regionalism.

‘I have done a preliminary draft for Nigerians to ponder over. Next week, I will be seeing my representative in the House of Representatives. We hope that senators and House members can embrace this modest proposal for a change.

“If this is acceptable, we can then sit down and do a proper drafting of the bill.”

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