Â Although the National Assembly are currently in the process of reviewing and amending the standing 1999 Constitution, some analysts believe the national legislators have made some contentious decisions which do not bode well for the country e.g. immunity for legislators and non-acceptance of devolution of powers to states. From your own viewpoint, what should be added to or removed from the Constitution, to make it a better instrument for good governance and national development?
* That suggestion of immunity for legislators should be removed forthwith from the amendments. Without immunity, some of them already have plenty skeletons in their closets; much less when they obtain immunity. One can only imagine the spree of corrupt acts they will embark on if they eventually have their way.
– Mr. Olumuyiwa Olorunsomo, Lagos State
* My top constitutional amendment issue is something that concerns elections in this country. Independent candidates should be permitted to contest elections at all levels – this happens in other climes. In 1992 for instance, Ross Perot contested the US presidency as an Independent. This scenario helps the country get the best from all candidates – Bill Clinton got picked as the best in 1992 over George Bush Snr. and Ross Perot. The electorate is forced to concentrate and focus and better electoral choices will simply emerge.
– Mr. E. Iheanyi Chukwudi, Brainchild Academic Resources, Apo, Abuja
* We need a new constitution to move Nigeria forward instead of amending the old constitution, which is always causing problem of agitation and marginalisation all over the nation. Immunity on the National Assembly must be rejected because it is an avenue for Senators to loot the treasury without check or probe because of immunity clause that covers them.
– Mr. Gordon Chika Nnorom, Public Commentator, Umukabia, Abia State
* Restructuring is truly devolving political and social economic autonomy to states and local governments and is vital. Abolishing pension, gratuity e.t.c. to a former or serving political office holder with ended tenure of mere eight, four years or even a few months (unlike in civil service) before removal, sack, incapacitation etc. The electable-age debate is plausible; for the younger the better. Force depicts agility and is apt for the Nigeria Police Force as applied to Nigeria Air ‘Force’ too, colossal waste of scarce funds on hardly implemented conferences are a worrisome debacle. God bless Nigeria.
– Mr. Apeji Onesi, Lagos State
* Remove immunity for legislators and add the devolution of powers to the States. It makes for a healthy balance between the Executive and Legislative arms on one hand and between the centre and the States.
– Mr. Utibe Uko, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State
* Some of the lawmakers’ votes are according to their self-interest not national interest. The lawmakers shot down state police and the 35 per cent affirmative action for women as ministers. The insensitive senators also rejected the scrapping of the Land Use Act, womenâ€™s rights to citizenship in the domain of their spouse among other critical issues. But the following should be included; power devolution, resource control, revisit of the 35 per cent affirmative action in Gender Bill, womenâ€™s rights to citizenship, re-introduction of state police and restructuring of Nigeria and scrapping of the land use act.
– Mr. Michael Adedotun Oke, Founder Michael Adedotun Oke Foundation, Abuja
* A critical look should be made on corruption as it affects the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) cum the Attorney General of the Federation, the supervisory minister. A similar issue occurred that led to the ouster of former chairman, Nuhu Ribadu. Something went wrong that culminated in the creation of EFCC; hence they should be given free hand devoid of interference, since it borders on high class corrupt officials and politicians.
– Mr. Dogo Stephen, Kaduna State
* Granting our legislators immunity clearly guarantees the abuse of power. This should be reviewed appropriately.
– Ms Nkeiruka Abanna, Lagos
* The best amendment would have been devolution of power and 35 per cent affirmative action for women fully entrenched in the constitution. Meanwhile, immunity for legislators is a catastrophe, we all know how dirty and corrupt they are without immunity, now that there is immunity, they will be untouchable. May God save this country.
– Mr. Akinwale A. A. Adeniyi, Abuja
* Why is everything on the top-shots? Do they really care about the masses? Why are they making themselves untouchable? Well the constitution has been for them all along; nothing seems to be working for masses. What a selfish set of people.
– Mrs. Adeyinka Lawal, London, UK
* My top constitutional amendments tips are: full autonomy for the Vice President when acting, especially when the incumbent is sick. Why should he be denied some actions till the occupant returns? What if he never does? If he has power then let him never fall sick. Also, there shouldn’t be interference between the Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary. If everybody should be mindful and concentrate on his line of action, we shall see true democracy in action.
– Hon. Babale Maiungwa, U/Romi, Kaduna
* There is only one major thing required concerning our constitution and that’s obeying and enforcing the laws spelt out in the document, especially concerning Federal character. To attain that, a bill to ensure the strict adherence to the constitution is really all we need at the moment.
– Mr. Buga Dunj, Jos, Plateau State
* Today our politiciansâ€™ four, eight years or sometimes even few months in service cannot by any means qualify one for any pension whatsoever. All such criminal and corrupt benefactors must return same back to the right government coffers or treasury immediately. If a land belongs to a people, they should logically own all the minerals therein, and pay homage to the central government. Local government should be divorced from state and accorded full autonomy and not only financial.
– Miss Apeji Patience Eneyeme, Badagry, Lagos State
* Nigerians are looking in a forward direction of devolution of power to re-enact the monumental developments of the 1950-1960s. Some National Assembly members desired the status quo; but nobody can stop the current agitation, because it is just, fair and egalitarian.
– Barrister D. Y. N., Maigari, Abuja
Top tip: Devolution of powers to States
Second: Remove immunity for legislators
Third: 35% Affirmative Action for women
Radical tip: Refund all double pensions
Number of respondents: 14
Highest location: Lagos & Abuja (4 each)
Next Week: Can Independent Candidates Improve Governance?
Among the constitutional amendments voted in by the legislators at the National Assembly was the issue of independent candidates during elections in Nigeria. Although some argue that such candidates may be overwhelmed by established party structures in the contest for elective positions, others believe such candidates will not carry excess baggage and party obligations into office when elected, and will thus perform optimally to ensure good governance and fulfil campaign promises. From your viewpoint, can independent candidates improve the governance process in Nigeria?
Please make your response direct, short and simple, and state your full name, title, organisation, and location. Responses should be sent between today (Aug 10 & Monday, Aug 14) to email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, AND email@example.com. Respondents can also send a short text message to 08023117639 and/or 08188361766 and/or 08114495306. Collated responses will be published on Thursday, August 17