By Our Correspondents
The public hearing on the review of the 1999 Constitution organised by the House of Representatives saturday held nationwide with the 360 members of the House serving as facilitators in their respective federal constituencies. Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, said the public hearing was aimed at having a constitution that will meet the aspirations of the people. Tambuwal, who made the remark yesterday, at the public hearing held in Tambuwal Local Government Area of Sokoto State, maintained that the National Assembly was determined to have a constitution that is widely acceptable by the citizens.
Great Enthusiasm in Imo
In Aboh Mbaise/Ngor Okpala federal constituency of Imo State, representative of the constituency who is also the deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, was the facilitator of the session which held at the Mbutu Secondary School. At the event chaired by Chief Mike Ahamba (SAN),who is a leading member of the opposition All Nigerian People’s Party (ANPP), Ihedioha told the gathering that the essence of the exercise was to ensure grassroots participation by aggregating the views of the people for onward transmission to the House of Representatives.
In Bornu, Shettima Seeks Review of Revenue Sharing Formula
In Bornu State, Governor Kashim Shettima called for the review of present allocation from the federation account to favour both the state and local governments, being the closest to the people.
He also called for the establishment of a Desert Control Commission to handle the fast advancing Sahara desert in Northern part of the country, particularly Borno and Yobe states, as desertification and wind have claimed several hectares of Arable land and even force some communities to migrate south wards.
The governor spoke at the public hearing on the review of the constitution held at the International Conference Hall of the Musa Usman Secretariat, Maiduguri, the state capital.
State Police, Joint Account Dominate Session in Lagos
State creation and joint account as well as financial autonomy for local governments dominated the sessions in Lagos State. The Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, and other federal lawmakers in Lagos State yesterday defended the nation-wide public hearing , saying it was the most valid process for the exercise. Other lawmakers including Chairman of the House Committee on Legislative Compliance, Hon. Moruf Fatai-Akinderu, his Treaties and Agreement counterpart, Hon. Ekundayo Bush-Alebiosu and Hon. Jide Akinloye representing Eti-Osa Federal Constituency said the lower chamber meant well for the country. In Apapa federal Constituency, Hon. Babatunde Adewale, who facilitated the session which held at the Apapa Local Government secretariat hall, called for a special status for Lagos.
Fatai-Akinderu representing Oshodi-Isolo Federal Constituency I explained that a section of the country “is calling for a Sovereign National Conference (SNC), but the National Assembly is already empowerd to amend the constitution”.
Ekiti People Reject Roles for Traditional Rulers
A mild drama however ensued in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, when stakeholders who gathered for the public hearing unanimously rejected provisions of any roles for their traditional rulers in the new constitution. The unanimous position of the people of the state conspicuously ran contrary to the initial position of the royal fathers, who had canvassed specific roles in the amended constitution. Besides, the people also rejected the creation of a state police, which they described as counter-productive. The monarchs, who were represented by the Oore of Moba, Oba Adedapo Popoola, had earlier canvassed for the inclusion of constitutional roles that would give them recognition and specific duties. The people in a loud voice , rejected the offer that the monarchs should have representatives at the Council of States, which some speakers deemed as an attempt to politicize the traditional stool.
Yobe Governor Advocates Wider Consultation
In Damaturu, the Yobe State Governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Gaidam, who declared the session open, said in order to have a constitution that will meet the yearnings of all Nigeria and could be rightfully referred to as the people’s constitution wider consultations at all levels need to be done. The governor said that the lawmakers should not shy from going to the grassroots to get the input of all and sundry. The governor said: “For a country like Nigeria the strength of which lies in size and diversity, wide consultation is essential to arriving at a truly people’s constitution. Therefore the presence of representatives of various interest groups in this hall is certainly going to enrich the outcome of the constitutional review process.” Gaidam noted that a lot of the clamour for the review of the 1999 constitution arises from the fact that the constitution was fashioned out during military rule and therefore contained some anomalies and undemocratic tendencies that did not conform to the wishes and aspirations of a majority of Nigerians.
Anambra Wants Additional States for S’East
Creation of two additional states in the South east geo-political zone, scrapping of states’ independent electoral commissions as well as state/local government joint account yesterday topped people’s contributions to the on going nation wide public hearing in different federal constituencies in Anambra state. At the hearing conducted at the Women Develnpment Center Awka for Awka North and South,at Ojoto for Idemili North/South and at Abagana for Anaocha/Njikoka/Dunukofia federal constituencies by Hon. Emeka Nwogbo,Charles Odedo and Uche Ekwunife,their representatives respectively, said the people were also unanimous that ambiguities in the creation of states should be removed.
Enugu Kicks Against State Police, Single Tenure
The public session went on smoothly across the eight federal constituencies in Enugu State, even as the people stoutly voted against state police as well as single tenure of either five, six or seven years for the president and governors. They upheld the retention of the two terms of fours each as presently provided in the constitution.
The exercise which took place at the various headquarters of the federal constituencies and presided over by the lawmakers representing the areas were however politicised as most of the decisions taken were clearly influenced, especially at the Nkanu East/ Nkanu West constituency where the lawmaker, Peace Nnaji liaised with other political office holders in the area to insist that their decisions were upheld.
Plateau Rejects Indigenisation of Settlers
Plateau people in Jos South/Jos East federal constituency of Plateau State, yesterday unanimously rejected the indigenisation of settlers who have stayed long in an area.The matter, which has been a contentious one in the state, came up at the public session hosted by Honourable Bitrus Kaze at the Treasure Inn, Jos.