Dino Melaye, chairman of the senate committee on federal capital territory, wants the country to abolish the use of ‘state of origin’, especially in determining the eligibility of citizens for political offices.
He wants the ‘state of residence’ to be reckoned with, saying this would help to enthrone peace and oneness among Nigerians.
Melaye made the call on Friday in Abuja at a ceremony to unveil the logo/medal of the Peace Corps of Nigeria (PCN), in commemoration of its 18th anniversary.
“Ethnic bigotry should be shunned; there should be a replacement of the state-of-origin to unite the country,” he said.
“Any responsible person that has lived in a particular place for a certain number of years can aspire to any political position, including that state’s governor seat.”
He called for the “rebirth” of the country, and challenged youths to guard against moral decadence.
“There is also the need for the review of the educational system so as to teach more morals, values and culture with a view to building falling walls.”
He assured the PCN that the bill for its ratification would pass the third reading at the national assembly.
Dickson Akoh, commandant of PCN, commended the federal house of representatives, for recently passing the bill for an Act to establish the PCN.
“This all-important achievement alone calls for celebration as the PCN reaches 18,” he said.
“It is in view of that remarkable stride that we resolved to commemorate this year’s anniversary. This may be the last anniversary we will be celebrating as a non-governmental organisation (NGO), as we are in the process of transforming into a government establishment.”
Melaye’s position on ‘state of origin’ aligns with the consistent stand of David Mark throughout his tenure as senate president. Although legislative action in that regard never quite materialised, he spoke about it both home and abroad.
“You should know that one of the issues we’ve been discussing in Constitution amendment is shift from state of origin to state of residence because it is an important issue,” he told journalists in Quebec, Canada, after the opening ceremony of the 127th inter-parliamentary union (IPU) assembly, in 2012.
“You are resident in a place for 20 years and still, they don’t take you as part and parcel of that place. I think it’s a difficult task but in my candid opinion, I think if we have an open mind and we approach it from a nationalist perspective, rather than a small, clannish perspective, I think we would get it right.
“Let’s forget the business of state of origin and go to state of residence. Once you are resident in a place and you perform your civic responsibilities for the period, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t benefit, provided, of course, you don’t claim dual residency.”