Symbol of Justice
By Hammed Shittu
An octogenarian and first Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) in the northern region, Alhaji Salman Alarape, at the weekend, cautioned members of the National Assembly against allowing political interests to undermine the ongoing review of the 1999 Constitution.
This, he said, would also go a long way in making the constitution a virile one and ensure good governance and stability in the country.
Alarape, who was the chairman at the constitution review centre of Hon. Ali Ahmad, representing Ilorin East/Ilorin South federal constituency in the House of Representatives, disclosed this to journalists in Ilorin, at the peoples’ session at the weekend. He said: “The 1999 Constitution contained a lot of lapses that need urgent amendments so as to move the nation forward.”
He said the conduct of the review of the constitution has allowed Nigerians to participate in the process of the amendments so as to move the country forward.
Alarape said development has provided an opportunity for the nation’s stakeholders to make inputs in the review so that they could have an amended constitution of their own.
He noted that the amendment of the nation’s constitution became necessary because it is was largely a product of various military regimes.
This, he said, should not be accepted as a people oriented constitution.
He advised them not to turn the exercise to a political gathering where they will make contribution according to party line or loyalty.
He maintained that the essence of the public hearing is to have a constitution that is truly from the people.
Earlier, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Justice and member representing Ilorin East/South federal constituency of Kwara State, Ahmad, assured the people of his constituency of the determination of the National Assembly to produce the people-oriented amended constitution for a better development of the nation.
Participants at the debate agreed to the alteration of 24 of the issues in the templates for voting while 19 were not allowed to be changed out of a total of 43 clauses presented in the questioners for deliberations.
According to him, “there is no perfect constitution the world over hence the need for the review of the constitution.”
He said for the constitution to stand the test of time, it must be supported by a vibrant judiciary and executive to make it work better.
He noted that the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria has suffered a lot of amendments and that the people must be ready to make their contribution in the present amendment.
He said the seventh National Assembly is out to ensure that a good constitution is put in place for the people of the country.
He urged all the participants at the public hearing to remain patient and contribute to the debate in the interest of all.
Among the decisions reached during review exercise at Ahmad’s centre were the continued involvement of Nigerians in the amendment of the nation’s constitution so as to have a virile and enduring constitution that would stand the test of time.
They further agreed that exclusive rights be given to the state governors and members of the state Houses of Assembly on the appointment and removal of the chief judge.
They also agreed that the National Judicial Council (NJC) should only be notified of the decision of the duo.