Constitution Review: Kalu tells Stakeholders, Consultants to Work Together to Meet Yearning of Nigerians

Constitution Review: Kalu tells Stakeholders, Consultants to Work Together to Meet Yearning of Nigerians

Constitution Review: Kalu tells Stakeholders, Consultants to Work Together to Meet Yearning of Nigerians

…hints of Senate, Reps C’mtes’ engagement with Tinubu

The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu has called for synergy among the consultants and the secretariats of the Senate and House Committees on Constitution Review to set the pace for effective collaboration to drive the ongoing exercise to a successful conclusion.

Kalu who doubles as the Chairman House Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) made the call while delivering his remarks at the joint retreat of the secretariat and consultants to the Senate and House committees on the review of the constitution over the weekend.

He told the stakeholders that effective collaboration will drive the task to outcomes that would meet and satisfy the desires and yearning of Nigerians.

The Deputy Speaker further asked the stakeholders to review the previous amendment proposals which were either not passed by the National/State Assemblies or were not assented to by the President, and consider how those issues can be re-introduced with a view to providing methods of processing them or an action plan that will ensure that reservations which led to their rejection are addressed.

Kalu reminded them that the constitutional alteration is a continuous process and must involve all Nigerians so as to empower the legislature to evolve a constitution that will address contentious issues that has bedevilled the nation since independence such as State Police, Special Seats for Women amongst others.

Noting that the 10th Assembly is building upon the legacies of the previous Assemblies that did a comprehensive work, which resulted in the President’s assent to 18 Constitution amendment Bills in the 9th Assembly, the Deputy Speaker commended the stakeholders for the “national sacrifice” and patriotism.

Kalu assured that the committee members in both Senate and House of Representatives will engage President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on different issues.

He said “It is with profound joy that I welcome you all to the Joint Retreat of the Secretariat and Consultants to the Senate and House of Representatives Committees on the Review of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as Altered). The essence of this retreat is to build synergy among the consultants and the secretariats of the Senate and House Committees on Constitution Review to set the pace for effective collaboration that will drive the task before us towards such outcomes that would meet and satisfy the desires and yearning of Nigerians, especially at a time like this.

“This retreat will provide a platform for the secretariat and experts to review previous amendment proposals, especially those that were popular among Nigeria but were either not passed by the National/State Assemblies or were not assented to by the President. It would also consider how those issues can be re-introduced with a view to providing methods of processing them or an action plan that will ensure that reservations which led to their rejection are addressed.

“As you are all aware, constitutional alteration is a continuous process and must involve all Nigerians regardless of their ideological leanings or beliefs, hence, our call for Memoranda from all stakeholders and the general public. As experts in your various fields of endeavour, I trust your judgements and I trust that the outcome of this exercise will move Nigeria forward. This will no doubt empower the legislature to evolve a constitution that will address contentious issues that has bedevilled the nation since independence such as: State Police; Local Government Administrative Autonomy; Local Government Financial Autonomy; Special Seats for Women in the National and State Houses of Assembly, Expansion of the scope of citizenship by registration; Indigeneship rights.

“Affirmative action for women in political party administration; Affirmative action for women in Federal and State Executive Councils; and Electoral and Judicial Reforms, Furthermore, I have personally sponsored various Constitution (Alteration) Bills including that which is on State Police on which a National Dialogue was just concluded. We must evolve ingenious ways to protect and defend our citizens and cater for their welfare, in line with the sacred provisions of Section 14(2)(b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (As Altered).

“The Constitution amendment exercise, which is coming at a time when there appears to be agitations in the country, is expected to create a veritable platform for national engagement and conversations where relevant stakeholders and members of the public may make recommendations on the review process with the view to enacting laws that reflect the evolving moral, economic and political values of the Nigerian people.”

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