Hon. Farouk Lawan
By Okon Bassey and Ibrahim Shuaibu
Financial autonomy of National Assembly and Judiciary, autonomy of local governments, rejection of state police and dissolution of the state electoral bodies were the highpoint of the deliberation at the constitution review held at federal constituencies across the state at the weekend.
The call for financial autonomy, however, came on a day a member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Farouk Lawan, who represents Shanono/Bagwai federal constituency in Kano State was commended for impacting the dividends of democracy on the people of his constituency.
While indigenes of the state that participated in the constitution review exercise, suggested a single term of five years for the President and state governors, the people of Shanono/Bagwai at Bagwai Islamic Centre, venue of the Shanono/Bagwai constitutional review sitting, described Lawan as a worthy representative, who would continue to enjoy their support.
However, participants at the hearing in Akwa Ibom State rejected calls for indigeneship and asked for an increase in the revenue allocation designated for states.
“The state governors would use the police to suppress opposition. In the North, offenders were tried in Sharia courts against their beliefs. If there is riot in the state, there is every likelihood that the police would compromise in protecting certain groups,” participants stressed.
Meanwhile, Lawan’s constituents also called for the scrapping of States’ Independent Electoral Commissions (SIEC) in the country, saying scrapping of the electoral body at the state level had become necessary in order for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct all elections from the local, state and federal levels unhindered.
Speaking further, they argued that the call had become necessary in order to ensure that justice and fairness prevails to all the political parties contesting elective positions at the local government levels.
They also called for direct allocation of revenue from the Federation Account to the local government councils to enable them impact the dividends of democracy to the people, who elected them.
In his address, Lawan said the House decided to adopt the approach it is using for the constitution review exercise, in order to inject credibility into the process and also to allow Nigerians participate in the debate.
According to him, “the programme is a consultative initiative of the House of Representatives aimed at ensuring a more participatory, inclusive and transparent review of the constitution.
“I implore you to look at the areas, make a very good recommendation and submit the areas that are fit for constitutional review so that we can compile it and submit to the floor of the National Assembly.”