From Abiola Alo, Ado Ekiti
As opinion moulders and groups began to fault members of the National Assembly from Nigeria’s Southern extraction for voting against power devolution, a member of the House of Representatives, Hon Kehinde Agboola has denied that the federal lawmakers sold out during voting.
Agboola, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) representing Ekiti North Federal Constituency 1, said the South, which had been virulent in the agitations for power devolution lost out in the game owing to the configuration of the National Assembly in terms of numerical strength.
On the issue of the State Independent Electoral Commission, which Nigerians wanted to scrapped so as to give Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) the power to conduct Local Government elections, the PDP Chieftain said some stakeholders from states who wanted the status quo to continue directed some lawmakers to vote in favour of SIEC.
The lawmaker disclosed this in Ikole Ekiti on Monday while flagging off Agboola’s Summer School Programme in 10 centres in his constituency to give free holiday coaching to secondary school students.
Agboola said the coaching apart from being part of the ways he could impact positively on the people was a veritable avenue to train future leaders and role models that would give Ekiti a facelift in the area of scholarship
The parliamentarian added that due to the lopsided formation in terms of representation in the National Assembly, the southern lawmakers mustered no strength to be able to make power devolution scaled through in the two chambers.
“It will be wrong for people to say we sold out. We did our best, but the South was only agitating without getting prepared for it. Some lawmakers in the North were well mobilized from their states. Some states even held retreats for their lawmakers where they brainstormed on how to respond to all issues.
“Aside from this, the number of lawmakers from the North are more. The people from the core North never hid their hatred for power devolution, the current status only affected the south, this factor also played crucial role.
“We should not be oblivious of the fact that devolution will affect revenue sharing formula . You can see the aggressiveness in the way the North has been searching for oil now, so they love the status quo but they will start supporting it when they discover petrol in large quantity.
“Don’t let us forget that Nigeria is multi ethnic and religious in nature. The issue of ethnicity also played crucial role in determining the voting pattern. Let me be frank with you, the South didn’t prepare well for it and the issue of betrayal didn’t arise, we did our best”, he said.
Agboola added that he also nursed the fear that the amendment in favour of power devolution may not be able to meet the 2/3 majority from the state Houses of Assembly for it to become a law, predicating this on the fact that there were more states in the North than in the South.