Niger State governor, Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu, yesterday said that the 19 northern states’ governors are no longer opposed to the idea of states setting up their own police as advocated by some people in the country.
He also advocated the use of the 774 local government areas in the country as the basis for selecting delegates to represent the aspirations of the various interest groups at the proposed national conference, adding that the country should de-emphasise the use of religion and ethnicity as suggested by many.
Aliyu, who stated this during a courtesy visit by the Chairman and members of the Presidential Advisory Committee on National Dialogue in Minna said, initially, the north was against the establishment of state police out of fears that state governors will abuse such opportunity,
He said, however, that recent political development in Rivers State has now forced the governors to reconsider their position.
“Going by the recent development in Rivers state, we saw the need to have police at state and federal levels,” he stated.
On the composition of the delegates, he said that delegates should be picked from all the 774 council areas, another 100 delegates to represent ‘special’ interests and 36 others from various institutions in the country.
He said: “My opinion is this; we should deemphasise the use of religion and ethnicity. Let us use the institutions on ground, no matter how imperfect they are. Let’s use local governments as the basis for selecting the delegates, which means, we will have 774 elected delegates, 100 delegates to represent special interests, 36 to represent institutions such as our Emirs or traditional rulers. At least that will give us over 900 representatives.”
He added that ahead of the conference, the state has commenced the mobilisation of the people, all geared towards selecting the best delegates, who can contribute effectively as well as present the decisions of the state.
The governor further pointed the need to strengthen all government institutions in the country, saying that the major challenge confronting the nation on its path to success in democracy and other areas of life is the weakness of the institutions.
Earlier, the Chairman of the committee, Senator Femi Okorunmu, told Governor Aliyu that the committee was in the state to get the views of stakeholders of the North Central zone on what should constitute the agenda, duration, modalities of selecting delegates, legal frame work of the national conference, among others.
He also said that in order to gather the views of a large number of Nigerians, the committee will visit the six geo-political zones of the nation with a stop in at least 2 states of each of the zones to get their views on the conference.