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Conference: Falae, Akinrinade lead S’West delegates

A former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Olu Falae and Gen. Alani Akinrinade (retd.), were on Sunday night elected as the chairman and deputy chairman respectively of South-West delegates caucus at the ongoing conference.

Dr. Kola Olajide was elected as the secretary.

The election took place at the meeting of the delegates, which was held at an hotel (name withheld), along airport road, Abuja.

The meeting was attended by majority of the delegates from the zone where discussions were said to have centered on the positions to be adopted by the zone on issues at the conference.

A delegate from Ogun State, Mr. Bisi Adegbuyi, confirmed the meeting and the election of the officers.

Asked if personal interest of some of the delegates and the interest that brought them to the conference would not manifest when it was time to take critical decisions, Adegbuyi answered in the negative.

He said all delegates from the zone had agreed to take the interest of the Yoruba serious at the conference.

Adegbuyi said, “We have agreed that we would work together with the interests of the zone at heart.

“Some of us belong to different groups and were nominated by different groups as well.

“But I can assure you that we are going to work together for the interest of our people.”

Meanwhile, Ondo State government on Monday tabled its demand at the ongoing national conference with a call on the Federal Government to hands off education, saying it should be left for private proprietors.

The State Commissioner of Education and leader of the delegation at the conference, Mr. Remi Olatubora, stated this in an interview with journalists.

He said, “As a delegate representing Ondo state, we have our agenda. Those who sponsored me here have given me their mandate to represent them on some critical and fundamental issues.

“These issues are matters partaining to the structures of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Fiscal Federalism, status of local government, resource control, among others.

“Let education reverse back to private entreprises and state governments, the Federal Givernment for instance has no business going to my village to build schools and health centres.

“It is misplacement of priority and lack of focus. Rather, the Federal Government should be concerned with central issues.

“No doubt, the Federal Governmnt can enunciate policies on health matters and broad and uniformed policies on education; but establishing Universities or running a primary school should not be the business of the Federal Government.

“In the structure of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for instance, we as delegates representing Ondo state suggest that there could be re-adjustment of existing boundaries but we just feel that given the timeframe allocated to this confab, to wrap up with whatever we are going to do here, we can make do with the existing 36 states of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, but very crucially and fundamentally, we must revisit the legislative list.”

He said his state would propose that there should be only one legislative list and that should be classified as federal power or federal exclusive legislative list, but added
the matter was that the list must be limited to issues like external affairs, defence of the country and the armed forces.

According to Olatubora, Ondo State was of the view that there should be re-adjustment in the present revenue allocation formula adding, “we may not be able to push through the idea of resource control given the limited time that we have and the political configuration of this conference to say some states will have a 100 per cent control, it doesn’t look like a matter that will scale through here in the next three months.

He said, “We can in the alternative adjust the revenue allocation formula as it is at the moment, give to the federal government 30percent of the resources available in the federation account for oil revenue receipt and increase the revenue that is apportioned to the state government in a manner that would be commensurate with the redistribution of powers.

“Agriculture should go back to the states. Let the federal government focus only on issues that unite us together,revenue also should be re-adjusted to the line of responsibility between the central government and the state government.

“The status of local government is also important, we are of the view that state government should have exclusive power over local governments, what I mean is that if Ondo State choose to create more local governments it would be their exclusive responsibility of Ondo State in a federal system of government, it is a government of two levels, the central government and provincial or state governments.”

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