Abe Tasks Rivers Indigenes on Constitution Review

15 Nov 2012

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Senator Magnus Abe 

Rivers State representative in the committee reviewing the 1999 Constitution, Senator Magnus Abe, has urged the people of the state to leverage on the window created by the on-going review process to contribute towards achieving a better federation.

Speaking in a live phone-in radio programme in Port Harcourt, the Senator representing Rivers South-east senatorial district observed that the 1999 Constitution needed an overhaul to reflect the views and expectations of the people.

Abe, who was a former Minority Leader in the state House of Assembly, noted that Nigeria would move forward if the constitution compelled everybody to contribute his or her quota to nation-building, stating that the document in its present form was responsible for the backwardness of the country.

He said the Federal Government does not need some of the powers in its control since, according him, “it is not helping anybody, people think anytime you take away power you are cheating somebody; that’s not the way a county is run.”
“I think the Nigerian people need to get up and get involved in this constitutional review process, there is a lot we can achieve if we actually put our heads together,” he said.

Abe disclosed that the review process, as currently being pursued, remains the only legitimate way of correcting the constitutional crisis the federation faces, noting that successful economies of the world don’t operate the way Nigeria is being operated.

to look for what works for every section of Nigeria.
“Look at the nature of this federation, anytime we want to do population census everybody is lying about figures openly and we know we are all lying, why are we deceiving ourselves? How can you plan without knowing how many children you have? How can you plan without knowing how many people are getting old? How can you plan without having clear statistics of what your challenges are?”

The senator, who said: “We can’t run a unitary government in the name of a federation”, decried a situation where, “to cut grass in an airport located in Port Harcourt, you must seek permission from Abuja, when you are faced with security challenges you have to beg Abuja, you have pot hole here you have to wait for approval from Abuja; what kind of federation operates like this, he queried.”

He further described the present constitution as a sharing document, explaining that the problem with sharing things was that “the more the people without an increase in what is being shared, the smaller the pieces people get.”

On state creation, he acknowledged the presence of requests for new states but added that it might not be out of place for state mergers considering the economic viabilities of federating states.

Tags: Featured, Nigeria, Politics, Constitution Review

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