THE Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has listed the issues with the 1999 Constitution presently run by Nigeria, saying the law was hurriedly put together and falls short of the required standard.
Gbajabiamila said this in Lagos on Tuesday at the public hearing organised by the House’ Special Committee on the Review of the Constitution.
The Speaker noted that the hearing was part of a deliberate effort by the National Assembly to seek the guidance and support of citizens towards amending the Constitution.
Gbajabiamila said, “Our constitution falls short of this standard because the 1999 Constitution is the product of a hurried national compromise that we entered into two decades ago in order to ensure that the military returned to the barracks and that we returned to democratic government.
“We will have failed in our mandate if the constitution that emerges from this process continues to look to our past rather than reflect our present and speak to our future. We have an opportunity for renewal, and we must seize it, or face the harsh judgment of history.”
Special status for Lagos in Nigeria’s interest – Sanwo-Olu
Meanwhile, the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has restated the need for a special economic status for the state owing to its role in the nation and the burdens it bears.
Speaking at the public hearing in Ikeja, Lagos, Sanwo-Olu stated that the continuous request for a special status for the state was not a selfish one, but in the interest of every Nigerian and of Nigeria, adding that the progress and prosperity of the country was linked to that of the state.
“It suffices for me at this point to restate that this request is by no means a selfish one, but one that is actually in the interest of every Nigerian and of Nigeria as a nation,” Sanwo-Olu said.
Fintiri seeks full autonomy for LGs
In a related development, Governor Ahmadu Fintiri has called for the implementation of full autonomy for local government councils in Nigeria.
Fintiri made the call at the opening of a two-day North-East zonal public hearing on the review of the 1999 Constitution organised by the House of Representatives sub-committee at Government House in Yola.
He also advocated the promotion and protection of women rights such as convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women.
Scrap Senate, make N’Assembly part-time to reduce governance cost – Akeredolu
In Akure, the Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, called for a unicameral legislature for the country.
Specifically, the governor said the upper chamber of the National Assembly should be scrapped while the Assembly should be on part-time basis to reduce the cost of governance.
Akeredolu stated this at the Akure centre of the South-West zonal public hearing on the review constitution in Akure, the state capital, on Tuesday.
Represented by the Deputy Governor, Mr Lucky Aiyedatiwa, the governor said the position of the state was for the Federal Government to be reduced in weight and responsibilities
He said, “The country may consider dropping the current bicameral structure of the National Assembly and adopt a unicameral legislature. The membership of the Assembly should be part time.
“Legislators should earn under a uniform salary structure. Allowance peculiarities must not be about obscenity. The Senate should be scrapped. The House of Representatives too should not be unwieldy. A maximum of four representatives should come from each zone.”
Be sincere in your submissions, Lalong tells Nigerians
However, Nigerians have been told to be bold, sincere and patriotic in their submissions to the constitution review panel in their quest for greater Nigeria.
Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State stated this on Tuesday at the North-Central zonal public hearing on the review of the 1999 Constitution taking place in Jos.
Lalong maintained that the much-talked about restructuring would be thoroughly dealt with to ensure that the agitations and anxieties being expressed were put to rest.
He said, “While we should have an open mind to every submission, we should not succumb to pressures, blackmail, intimidation or harassment which may be engineered by internal or external forces that stand to gain from the destabilisation of our nation. We have to keep our eyes open.”
Your views will count in new constitution, Reps tell S’East
The House of Representatives on Tuesday assured the people of the South-East geo-political zone that their views in the proposed alteration of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria would form part of the working documents and views of the constitution review by the 9th Assembly.
Deputy Minority Leader of the House, Tobby Okechukwu, gave the assurance during the zonal public hearing in Enugu.
He said, “We assure you that your views will count. Whatever memos you submit here today and tomorrow will form part of the working documents and views of the constitution review by the 9th assembly.”
Declaring open the two-day public hearing, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State reiterated his administration’s support for “unequivocal and unwavering commitment to an egalitarian Nigeria where justice, fairness, equity and inclusiveness shall be functional directive principles of state policy”.
Sultan canvasses constitutional roles for traditional rulers
In Kebbi State, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, said constitutional role for traditional rulers was critical to nation building peace, progress and security.
Alhaji Abubakar, while speaking at the venue of the National Assembly organised constitution review on Tuesday, added that traditional rulers over the years were custodian of peace as they could easily identify visitors with bad intention.
“Muslim women must be allowed to wear their hijabs and Christians too must be allowed to wear their religious symbols. Nigerians should speak truth to power and hold their leaders accountable for their actions and inactions,” he added.
In his address, Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State told the gathering that he would support any amendment that would guarantee security of lives and property of citizens.
New constitution may not save Nigeria, says Elebuibon
Meanwhile, renowned Ifa priest, Chief Ifayemi Elebuibon, has warned that putting together a new constitution for Nigeria may not eventually solve the myriad of challenges facing the country.
Elebuibon, who spoke in Osogbo on Tuesday at the swearing-in of new executives of the Traditional Religion Worshippers’ Association in Osun State, said a constitution that would work in the country must be based on culture and tradition of the indigenes.
The traditionalist said a new constitution that did not take into cognisance the cultural values of the people and protect it would eventually fail.
He said, “Those clamouring for a new constitution must be clear about their demands. Even if we have a new constitution and the document still reflects the culture of the English and Americans, it will still fail. It may still not save the country.”
In his remarks at the event, the newly elected President of TRAWRSO, Dr Oluseyi Atanda, advocated the use of traditional tools and items of the Yoruba people during oath-taking for newly elected political office holders.
Senate to hold national public hearing Thursday
In his remarks, the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, said a national public hearing to alter the provisions of the 1999 Constitution would hold on Thursday through Friday this week.
Lawan made this known on Tuesday in an announcement to that effect and conveyed in a letter addressed to him by the Chairman of the Constitution Review Committee, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege.
According to the Senate President, the two-day national public hearing is scheduled for Thursday 3rd to Friday, 4th June, 2021, at the African Hall of the International Conference Centre, Abuja.