AS northern and southern delegates to the national conference held series of crucial meetings on Sunday night to strategise on the vexed issues of state creation and delisting of local governments from the constitution, both sides are also reportedly working on options available to them, including the possibility of another round of voting.
To this end, delegates, especially those from the minority groupings in the North and particularly those representing North-Central, are reportedly being wooed, mainly by core northern delegates, to vote in support of their views on the issues.
A couple of southern delegates had also been toeing this path, in the spirit of having an “Option B” in an event the conference leadership succumbed to the opposition’s wish of re-opening the issues.
The core of southern delegates is, however, opposed to the re-opening of the issues, saying such would be tantamount to another annulment, with grave consequences.
On Thursday last week, creation of 18 additional states and delisting of local governments from the constitution were approved at the conference by voice vote.
Delegates from the core-North were, however, kicking against the decisions, while those from the South and Middle-Belt were fully in support, contending they were in the spirit of true federalism.
The decision to delist local governments from the constitution would mean that only states and Federal Government would draw direct allocation from the federation account.
The approved states would also bring all the geopolitical zones at par with nine states each.
It was learnt last night that the core-North might back down on its decision to walk out of the conference today, if a reversal of the decisions is not granted, but might insist that a head-count of delegates in support and against the decisions should be taken, for clarity purpose.
In anticipation of the move which the conference leadership might likely yield to, it was learnt that both sides in the struggle spent the better part of Sunday strategising.
While the core-North delegates were looking for how to garner votes to reach the 70 per cent threshold, southern delegates were simply working on preventing a possible re-opening of the issues.
A southern delegate told the Nigerian Tribune that getting 70 per cent support for both sides might be difficult, considering that the North-Central was no longer solid for the South, as Kwara had allegedly switched support for the core-North.
The delegate felt a middle-way approach would be better for both parties, adding that the core-North could use its numerical strength to re-open the issues with one-thirds of the conference population.
However, speaking for the Southern delegates on Sunday, Yinka Odumakin said the move to re-open the settled issues would be effectively tackled.
He told the Nigerian Tribune that the move was akin to another annulment, warning of the consequences of such, with the benefit of history.
According to him, “if they succeeded in getting that through (re-opening for head-count), it would start with issues thereafter.
“It is impossible to make retroactive decision as that would amount to another annulment. The last time we had an annulment, the country was in crisis for five years. We wait for them to bring anything on, we surely will have an answer.”