Yesterday, the Senate said it would focus on devolution of power, local government autonomy, electoral reforms and other critical issues during the Constitution review exercise that is expected to commence soon.
The Deputy Senate President and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Constitution Review Ovie Omo-Agege during the inauguration of the committee said members would review the report of the 2014 National Conference (Confab) and consider the All Progressives Congress (APC) report on restructuring in the course of the assignment.
Omo-Agege said “In carrying out this national assignment, this Committee will no doubt, consider the alteration of the Sixth schedule to make provision for new items, the establishment of national and state Houses of Assembly, Pre-election Matters Tribunal, Governorship Pre-election Matters Tribunals and Presidential Pre-election Matters Tribunal, including time limits for the disposal of all pre-election matters before the conduct of the general elections.“We will also consider the need for devolution of power, full local government fiscal autonomy, full autonomy of the judiciary in the area of administration of justice, youth inclusiveness in governance, gender parity or affirmative action. This is by no means an exhaustive list. “The Committee will also consider inputs from stakeholders and different interest groups across the country. The committee will consider the recommendations of the 2014 Constitutional Conference and the Governor Nasir el-Rufai-led Committee on restructuring. “We would also liaise with our counterparts in the House of Representatives, the State Houses of Assembly and collaborate and build consensus with all stakeholders to ensure synergy. Development partners will also play pivotal roles through counsel, workshops, conferences and interactions”.
Recall that in 2014, former President Goodluck Jonathan organised a National Conference (Confab), chaired by the late Chief Justice of Nigeria, Legbo Kutigi. At the end of the conference which lasted for over four months, key resolutions were reached, among them, devolution of power, creation of additional states, state police.
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, who inaugurated the committee urged members to consult widely and involve critical stakeholders to help achieve their goals. “We expect consultations with public organisations and the civil society. These include the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the vehicle for elections, Civil Society Groups, academia,media, and the citizenry. This assignment needs a great deal of time, resources and expert ideas. This is so because constitutional reviews are not every day exercises. On the few occasions that it becomes necessary, we have the responsibility to ensure that inputs and outputs are not just exhaustive, but should also be wide ranging and effective,” Lawan said.