Constitution Amendment: State Assemblies critical partners – Sen Omo-Agege


By Haruna Salami

As efforts by the National Assembly to amend the 1999 Nigerian constitution enters top gear, the critical role of the States Houses of Assembly has been re-emphasised.

Ovie Omo-Agege, Deputy Senate President and Chairman Senate Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution at the meeting of the Joint Senate/House Committees with Speakers of State Assemblies underscored their critical role.

He said the retreat provides them “an auspicious opportunity to interface, reflect and engage as partners working for the peace, unity and development of our dear country, Nigeria.

National growth LS

“The requirement of section 9 of the Constitution positions State legislatures as distinct and critical partners in Constitution alteration. Surely, and without a doubt, the success of this process largely depends on your support and partnership.

He assure the Speakers and Clerks of State Assemblies most sincerely that the work of the Joint Committee has been “guided strictly by best legislative practice, integrity, open mindedness, and patriotism.

“I therefore encourage you, irrespective of political leanings and other affiliations to abide by the same standards while making your contributions. I know it is the desire of every Nigerian that this process will bring positive transformations to our country. Therefore, we should all leverage this retreat to bequeath to our nation a constitution that speaks to the yearnings and aspirations of every Nigerian.

 In his remarks, Idris Wase,  Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives and Chairman, House Special Committee on Constitution Review said between May and June of 2021, the Committee held public hearings across the Country’s Six (6) Geopolitical Zones. During the hearings, some of the issues canvassed by Nigerians were aggregated into thematic areas and Members sponsored bills in line with peoples’ aspirations.

“These thematic areas include issues bothering on Local Government Administration and Autonomy, the Legislature, Judicial Reform, State Creation, State Police, Devolution of Powers, Women and Vulnerable Groups, Strengthening of Institutions, Good Governance, Political Parties and Electoral Matters, Traditional Institution, Federal Capital Territory Administration, Fundamental Human Rights and National Security.

Wase said during this first batch of the review exercise, the Committee in the House of Representatives considered sixty-two (62) Bills out of which twenty-six (26) Bills were recommended for harmonization with the Senate. Of the 62 bills, eight (8) bills were rejected, twenty-five (25) Bills were retained with modifications and the consideration of 3 bills were deferred.

“We have worked tirelessly to engage, negotiate, debate, lobby, review and persuade in order to reflect the various competing and contrasting aspirations of Nigerians of different leanings and backgrounds. One thing we are sure of is that no one has been left behind. We have aggregated all manners of proposals, sorted them out to meet the constitutional guidelines and criteria and have ultimately harmonized positions after lengthy debates and majority votes on several critical issues.

He restated that lawmakers have no preconceived positions on anything. “We believe that we must do whatever is necessary to provide a platform for Nigerians to air their views, give their positions and canvass whatever they feel would make our country better, and make governance more efficient and successful.

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