The governors are believed to be seeing Nigeria’s next president as a northerner, hence their preference for the two-year tenure, which guarantees more years at the helm of the nation’s affairs than the single tenure does.
The decision and many others were reached as a meeting of northern governors attended by a total 18 of the 19 governors of northern states.
Although they resolved to oppose the introduction of state police (because the country is still unripe for it), they called for reformation of the Police in order for states to participate in the control and management of police affairs.
“The Forum is not in support of creation of state police,” stated a communiqué read by governor of Niger State and chairman of the Northern Governors Forum, Dr. Babangida Aliyu.
“It, however, resolved to prevail on the Federal Government to embark on Police reform that will assist the states in control and management of police affairs, and sound philosophy of modern policing by amending the provision of Section 215.”
The Section reads: “Subject to the provision of this section, the governor of a state or such commissioner of the government of the state as he may authorise in that behalf may give to the commissioner of police of that state such law directions with respect to the maintenance and securing of public safety and public order within the state as he may consider necessary, and the Commissioner of Police shall comply with those directions or cause them to be complied with.”
The governors also reviewed the spate of security breaches in the North, and decided to constitute a Committee on Reconciliation, Healing and Security to tackle insecurity in the region. The committee is to comprise eminent citizens from the zone.
The governors supported the retention of immunity clause as enshrined in Section 308(3) but opposed the incorporation of the six geo-political zones in the constitution. They equally opposed calls for the separation of the office of ‘attorney-general of the federation’ and ‘minister of Justice.’
In contrast, they expressed preference for the separation of the ‘Office of Accountant-General of the Federation’ from that of ‘Office of Comptroller of the Federation,’ saying the first should be left to handle accounts of the Federal Government only while the latter handles handle revenue accruing to the Federation Account.
In other issues considered, the governors requested fresh consideration of onshore and offshore dichotomy. They favoured the reduction of the number of justices of the Supreme Court to 12 while the National Assembly could determine the number of judges in the Court of Appeal.
They resisted the idea of a National Minimum Wage, saying each state should be allowed to determine what it could pay its workers, and equally opposed the assignment of constitutional roles to traditional rulers.
The governors, who also sought an end to Federal Government monopoly of electricity generation, said states should be allowed to generate and distribute power if they so wish
They agreed to meet Speakers of their Assemblies for further deliberation on all discussed issues. In addition, they constituted a technical committee to study the Petroleum Industry Bill and advise them appropriately.