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2 Aug 2017

House of Reps admits rejection of power devolution a mistake

The House of Representatives has admitted that the killing of the devolution of powers bill by the National Assembly was a mistake.
It, however, said it would be corrected upon its resumption from summer vacation in September.

The House spoke thorough its Majority Leader, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, who said the rejection was due to the lumping of many of the powers to be devolved into one single bill, leading to confusion among many members.

The bill suffered a massive defeat in the Senate with 46 senators in support and 48 against, falling far short of the 74 votes required to pass.

Although it fared better in the House, scoring 210 against 71 votes, it was still struck down having fallen below the 240 vote-threshold required.

It led to public criticisms. Many aggrieved groups had registered their grievances against the rejection of the bill, which was seen as shortcut to achieving restructuring of the country.

“Many of us will be asking for the issue of devolution of powers to be revisited upon resumption in September,” Gbajabiamila said, adding: “It’s either an oversight or mistake for several items to have been lumped under the devolution of powers bill, a situation that led to the defeat of the bill.”

He explained: “There were about nine items, including railways, pensions, arbitration, stamp duties, parks and others under the subhead and members should have voted on each rather than vote in one fell swoop.

“A member may have agreed to certain items for devolution to states and not to others. The way we voted one would never know how to pass judgment on each item,” he recounted.

He added: “I believe each item should stand or fall on its own merit. It is important to note that devolution of powers is baby steps and the simplest form of reconstruction not a surgical dismemberment of our country. We must feel the pulse of the nation in moments like this.”

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