Nigeria will soon get all inclusive constitution in line with democratic tenets – Omo Agege

May 26, 2021
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As the National Assembly moves to review the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), Nigerians have been assured that the next constitution will be an all inclusive document that is in line with democratic tenets as practiced in developed democracies.

The Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, gave the assurance on Wednesday at the opening of the two-day North-East zonal sitting on the 1999 Constitution review in Bauchi.

Omo-Agege, who doubles as the chairman of the Constitution Review Committee, declared that reviewing the constitution was long overdue, adding that it took a long time to do so because it was not always easy to review the constitution.

According to Senator Omo-Agege, who was represented by Senator Abubakar Kyari, before the constitution could be reviewed, it had to undergo a lot of processes that had to be in line with democratic settings.

He informed that this time around, the National Assembly decided to use the bottom up approach in the review process, adding that this was being done by engaging Nigerians through public hearings across the country before the national hearing.

The approach adopted, according to him, was to give Nigerians the opportunity of making their inputs into the new document to emerge at the end of the review exercise.

While calling on Nigerians to make their contributions to the review exercise through submission of memoranda, the Deputy Senate President assured that the National Assembly would correct all the lapses and loopholes noticed in the 1999 Constitution (as amended) with a view to giving every segment of the Nigerian society a sense of belonging.

In his speech on the occasion, Bauchi State governor, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed, called for fairness and equitable distribution of the country’s resources, even as he sought for the creation of more states and local government areas.

According to him, with creation of more states and local government areas, there would be more and even development across the country.

Governor Mohammed also called for constitutional recognition and roles for the traditional institutions, which he said had a vital role to play in the overall wellbeing of the country.

“There should be fairness and equity in the distribution of the country’s resources. We in Bauchi need additional local government areas. There are states smaller in land mass and population to Bauchi State but are getting more allocations because they have more local government areas than us,” Mohammed said.

He equally advocated by devolution of power to states, adding that the new constitution should still recognise the three tiers of government in Nigeria with states allowed to control the natural resources in their domains and remit the federal share to it.

According to the governor, “there is the need for devolution of power because much power is concentrated at the centre.

“We need to have a way out of the problems militating against our unity and progress, we need to move ahead in terms of development.”

In his goodwill message, Chairman, Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures of Nigeria, Right Honourable Abubakar Y Suleiman, applauded the move to amend the constitution, saying that as it is now the 1999 Constitution which has more of military inputs is being used in a democratic dispensation.

Suleiman, who is the Speaker, Bauchi State House of Assembly, advised that genuine agitations for peace and peaceful coexistence of the people of Nigeria should be accommodated in the new constitution for good and effective governance.

According to him, “it will be our pride to have 2021 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria rather than what it is now, 21 years after the return to democratic dispensation in the country.”

Suleiman then assured that the 36 States of Assembly are waiting to see how the process will go, adding that they will not hesitate to do the needful as soon as the constitution review exercise gets to the stage of concurrence.

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