The current National Assembly led by Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has a seeming secret plan to ensure that the 1999 Constitution is amended to reflect the aspirations of Nigerians.
Minority Whip of the House Representatives and Zonal Sub-Committee Chairman, Gwani Gideon Lucas, has assured that the current review exercise will meet the yearnings of Nigerians.
According to him, the Legislative arm of the Nigerian government has the power to invoke provisions in the Constitution to ensure a positive outcome.
”I want Nigerians to be encouraged because we still have a tool in the Constitution that we can use in order to ensure that some bills come the way you want it.
”This means, if the President does not accept some of the issues, we might decide to bring it back and use that tool in the Constitution and it becomes Law”, Lucas said.
The federal legislator is accusing The Presidency and the state Houses of Assembly of stalling previous attempts to amend the 1999 Constitution.
Lucas, who is the Chairman of the House of Representatives Special Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution, South-South, the Uyo Centre, made the indictment during the zonal public hearing on the exercise that ended on Wednesday.
”Whereas some State House of Assemblies refused to concur on some of the issues raised by Nigerians and captured in the Bills sent to them from the National Assembly on one part, the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria decided to withhold his assent to bill on the other hand”, he said..
At the end of the exercise in Uyo, Lucas absolved the National Assembly of blame, saying that both chambers exercised their legislatives functions by collating the various positions presented by people and groups into bills during the said review exercises.
At the Uyo centre, some people publicly expressed fears that the current review exercise might end up in futility, given the experiences of the past.
In a seeming frantic attempt to allay such fears, Lucas said, “this Constitution has been reviewed four times. Some of the issues that were reviewed were probably the most unimportant ones and it has been reviewed four times and now we are making an attempt to review it again.
”I have said that in the exercise of reviewing the Constitution, there is a process that we must follow and one of the processes is what we are doing today.
”There must be concurrence to each of the issues in the Bills and after we are able to do that, we will send these same Bills back to the state assemblies to concur.
”What had happened in the past is that some of the issues raised by the people that were sent back to the state assemblies failed as some of them refused to concur.”
Uyo Centre of the two-day zonal public hearing on the review exercise catered for three states of Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Rivers, and was declared open on Tuesday by Governor Udom Emmanuel represented by the Secretary to the State government, Dr Emmanuel Ekuwem.
Issues that cropped up included: Agitation for creation of more states, state police, true federalism, single-term tenure of six years for president and governors, national and state assembly, removal of immunity clause across board and independent candidacy devoid of political parties.