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Constitution amendment waste of time, resources – Okorie

An elder statesman, Chief Chekwas Okorie. has said the constitution amendment embarked upon by the National Assembly is a waste of time and resources.  Okorie,…

An elder statesman, Chief Chekwas Okorie. has said the constitution amendment embarked upon by the National Assembly is a waste of time and resources. 

Okorie, a former presidential candidate in a telephone interview with Daily Trust yesterday said the factors that led to the failure of previous exercises were still serving as stumbling blocks. 

Daily Trust reports that the Senate has inaugurated its committee to process bills and proposals seeking amendments to the country’s constitution. The committee chaired by the Deputy Senate President, Barau Jibrin, has one senator from each of the 36 states and the FCT and one from each of the six geo-political zones.

But Okorie, however suggested that instead of spending N1 billion or more on the exercise, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu should constitute a small committee saddled with the responsibility of reviewing the recommendations of the 2014 national  conference, with the aim of sending the suitable recommendations to the National Assembly as executive bill for passage. 

He said, “Honestly, I don’t have much confidence in their ability to get it right because of the many times they had tried and failed. Most of the time, the failure comes from their inability to get the 2/3 of the state assemblies to endorse or concur. That is the most difficult part of our constitution amendments.

“Even when the two chambers of the National Assembly agree, they still have to take it round the 36 state assemblies and require a minimum of 24 of them to endorse and that is where the problem comes. 

“I don’t know how they are going to achieve that this time because the same factors are there. For example, the issue of LG autonomy.  Governors are not in support of it for obvious reasons and these governors have made the state assemblies rubber stamps, because they play a direct role in the election of most of those people in the state houses of assembly. 

“So, this is usually a waste of public funds; going into all of those jamborees, going round the country that you are consulting. At the end of the day, the state assemblies will frustrate it. So, I suggest the revisiting of the recommendations of the 2014 national confab. There are about 660 recommendations there. Some of them may have to be adjusted because the world is dynamic. 

“So, the presidency should set up a small committee to go through those recommendations and come up with something that is more acceptable and return it to the National Assembly as an executive bill from the presidency. And when that is passed, it can go through the normal process of signing into law and this is a constitution given to ourselves by ourselves. Since we don’t have a provision for a referendum, we can have a way to get it.”

 

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