ObantaObanta (originally Ogborogan) - the first king of the Ijebu Kingdom. Obanta led a migration of people from Wadai, an area near the modern-day Sudan.
By Dele Okenla
For Ijebu State to be created, this is what the Nigerian Constitution says (Section 8, sub-section 1):
"An Act of the National Assembly for the purpose of creating a new State shall only be passed if :-
(a) a request, supported by at least two-thirds majority of members (representing the area demanding the creation of the new State) in each of the following, namely -
(i) the Senate and the House of Representatives,
(ii) the House of Assembly in respect of the area, and
(iii) the local government councils in respect of the area,
is received by the National Assembly;
(b) a proposal for the creation of the State is thereafter approved in a referendum by at least two-thirds majority of the people of the area where the demand for creation of the State originated;
(c) the result of the referendum is then approved by a simple majority of all the States of the Federation supported by a simple majority of members of the Houses of Assembly; and
(d) the proposal is approved by a resolution passed by two-thirds majority of members of each House of the National Assembly."
The constitution is hence clear on the procedure for state creation.
For Ijebu State to be created therefore, only four steps/actions are required:
- Step (1). A meeting of the following should be convened for the purpose of voting on the issue.
(a) Senator representing Ogun East.
(b )House of Representatives Members representing Ogun East ie. (Ijebu Central), (Sagamu/Remo-North/Ikenne), (Ijebu-North/Ijebu-East/Waterside)
(c) Members of the Ogun State House of Assembly from Ogun East.
(d) Coucillors of the Nine Local Government Councils in Ogun East (including their Chairmen).
- Step (2). A referendum (public opinion poll) will now be conducted among the Ijebus in Ogun East.
- Step (3). The result of the opinion poll (referendum) is forwarded to all the states assemblies in Nigeria for approval or disapproval.
- Step (4). The proposal is approved by the House of Representatives and also by the Senate.
In Step (1) above, a two-thirds majority approval is needed. This practically means that all the federal legislators and House of Assembly members may vote No and yet the deal be done if the Councillors voted Yes in the main. It is two-thirds approval of the combined body of the group that will be required.
Step (2) above is no more than an upgraded opinion poll (to be conducted by INEC) in which voters are required to vote either Yes or No to the proposed state creation. A two-thirds majority outcome is required.
Step (3) is really a case of solidarity support from other states. A report of the favourable referendum is sent to each of the 36 state assemblies in the country for their approval. (A yes or no situation again). At least 19 must say yes for the proposal to go forward.
Step (4) requires a separate voting in each of of the two chambers of the National Assembly. (Not a joint sitting of the two). A two-thirds approval in each chamber creates Ijebu State. No more, no less.
Footnote: I have made the reasonable assumption that the proposed Ijebu State will be roughly defined in boundary and population as the present Ogun East Senatorial Constituency.