Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu
The Conference of Speakers of the 36 State Houses of Assembly on Saturday in Enugu pledged their readiness to expedite action on the 15 items contained in the draft copies of the 2017 Constitution Amendment bills.
The Conference, while acknowledging receipt of the draft copies from the National Assembly, said they would tidy up their own end before long so as to help give legislative seal to the proposed new laws.
The resolution to expedite action on the draft copies was contained in a communiquÃ© issued at end of the meeting of the Speakers in Enugu.
Chairman of the conference and Speaker of Kebbi state House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Abulmumin Kambaâ€Ž, who asked the Speaker of Kwara state House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Ali Ahmad to read the conference communiquÃ©, said the State Houses of Assembly will immediately commence â€Žfurther legislative actions on the 15 items for amendment.
Ahmad said, â€œThe conference is not unaware of the state legislatureâ€™s constitutional role of ratifying the resolutionâ€Ž. However, the conference shall ensure due diligence and thorough legislative functions of state assemblies are carried out with a view to ensuring the yearnings and aspirations of the people are captured in the proposed amendments process.â€
The speakers pledged to act expeditiously on the constitution review.
Meanwhile, mild drama played out at the conference when a group, Friends of Democracy, led by a former member of the House of Representatives, Ambassador Jerry Ugokwe was called to address the conference.
While Ugokwe addressed the conference on the need to adopt the entire 15 â€Žitems for amendment since they were not contentious except for local government autonomy, the speaker of Rivers state House of Assembly, raised objection that the visitors came to engender bias in their minds.
National coordinator of the group, John Mutu, frowned on the resentment by the Rivers Speaker and felt embarrassed for asking the group to leave the conference. The group was however called back and given more time to address the conference after an apology by the conference chairman, Hon. Kamba.
The 36 speakers of the state Houses of Assembly were in attendance.
Enugu state speaker, Rt. Hon. Edward Uboshi commended the speakers for choosing the state for the conference and announced that the next meeting of the conference will hold in Zamfara state in February 2018.