A lot of horse-trading reportedly went into the deal that eventually culminated in the decision by the national conference to create additional 18 states from the existing 36, Nigerian Tribune has reliably learnt.
Delegates from the North had reportedly opposed the idea of creation of new states, particularly the central objective of proportionate representation in all the six geopolitical zones in the country.
The idea that led to the decision to create additional states was said to have been premised on the disparity in the number of states in each geopolitical zone, while the idea of just
creating an additional one state in the South-East was said to have been completely rejected by the northern delegates.
Several caucus meetings were reportedly held to harmonise the opposing views, with one of such meetings held on Tuesday late into the night.
Northern delegates’ argument was reportedly premised on the claim of the North being more populous than the South, which, according to them, would support the existing unequal arrangement that puts states in the North at 19 and South at 17.
Southern delegates at the said meeting reportedly controverted the claim that the North was more populous than the South, arguing that there was a difference in geographical spread and demographical strength.
The acclaimed flaws in the last population census exercise, which recorded North as being more populous than South, were said to have been relied on by the southerners to push their case.
The inability of the core-northern delegates to rally the minorities in the North to support their bid to frustrate the equal state representation in the geopolitical zones reportedly gave the day to the pro-state creation delegates.
Delegates from minority ethnic groupings in the North reportedly favoured creation of new states to end long years of domination, suppression and denial of political opportunities by the majority ethnic groupings in the states they currently share together.
A proposal that all the six geopolitical zones should benefit from the state creation exercise was said to have soothed the nerves of those stoutly opposed to it.
Nigerian Tribune further gathered that nine each for the six geopolitical zones was eventually agreed upon, with those in opposition said to have grudgingly conceded to.
A source said beyond the adoption of the idea at the confab, there would be follow-up at the federal and state legislature, where the amendment to incorporate them would take place.
The suspicion that those in opposition might be waiting to frustrate the agenda at the constitution amendment stage is said to be very strong among the stakeholders.