Governor Henry Sierake Dickson
With its majority in the National Assembly and control of many of the 36 states of the federation, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) could unilaterally amend the 1999 Constitution, Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Henry Sierake Dickson, said Wednesday.
The governor, during a visit to the National Chairman of PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, and other members of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC), in Abuja, said the party would not need the opposition to amend the constitution, if it so desires and wondered why the party could not mobilise its members to ensure amendment to the constitution that would allow it achieve its vision for the country.
He warned the party not to allow federal lawmakers from the opposition parties to seize the initiative from PDP.
The governor said: ‘’With our overriding mandate in the National Assembly, and state Houses of Assembly, we can on our own amend the constitution. We are in the majority, but it seems to me that if those of us in PDP don’t guard it jealously, those Nigerians rejected at the polls, will foist their divisive agenda on the people. That will be subversive of the mandate given freely to PDP.’’
According to Section 9 of the 1999 Constitution, the constitution can be amended by two-thirds majority approval of members of either chamber of the National Assembly and supported by the resolution of at least two-thirds of all the 36 state Houses of Assembly.
Out of 109 senators and 360 House members in the National Assembly, PDP has 73 and 242 respectively and controls 23 out of the 36 states of the federation, one short of the required two-thirds majority needed to ratify any constitution amendment.
Dickson, who urged Tukur to first unite the party as nothing would be achieved without unity in the PDP, added: “PDP as it is today, is the biggest in Africa. To whom much is given; much is expected in contemporary Nigerian politics. PDP must protect Nigeria’s unity. All other political parties are interested in weakening the centre and tearing Nigeria’s apart. It is only PDP that has the potential to unify and integrate the unity of this country; all other parties are bent on disintegrating the country.
“We must manage the mandate in such a way that those Nigerians do not set agenda for us through the back door. They must work hard for Nigerians to trust them before their tendencies can become the majority tendency. The only party Nigerians trust now is PDP. So, we must guard this mandate jealously.”
Tukur thanked the governor for his visit and appealed to party chieftains from Bayelsa State to continue to propagate the ideals of the PDP in the state.
‘’I have listened attentively to what they have been telling us about PDP. That’s what we want; support the Federal Government to develop Nigeria to be prosperous,’’ he said.