Monday, 08 March, 2021

Constitution review: Committee won’t kill any bill, Omo-Agege assures


The Deputy President of the Senate, Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege (APC-Delta), has assured that the Committee on Constitutional review would not kill any of the constitution alteration bills before it.

A statement by Yomi Odunuga, his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, in Abuja on Sunday indicates that Omo-Agege made the disclosure in a television programme.

Omo-Agege, who is Chairman, Senate ad hoc Committee on Review of the 1999 Constitution, promised that the committee would recommend all the bills before it for consideration of senate.

He noted that the senate at plenary would determine whether or not such proposals should be transmitted to state assemblies.

He also said that members of the committee were not under pressure from external forces to do the bidding of any group.

He stressed the need for Nigerians to take advantage of the window given by the committee to submit memoranda on any of the 13 thematic areas to the panel.

The Delta Central lawmaker disclosed that besides the constitution alterations bills already referred to the panel, more proposals could surface , arising from memoranda submitted to the committee.

His said:

“Any Nigerian who feels strongly about any issue that ought to be addressed in this exercise has a right within the time stipulated to put their thoughts in writing by way of a memo and submit same to us.

“Upon receipt of that, we will meet as a committee, set up some sub-committees within the main committee that will go to each of the geopolitical zones.

“There, they will reach out and ask people to step forward and speak to the memo that they have already submitted to us.

“Thereafter, we will come back, hold a retreat, where we will aggregate the views of the content of the memoranda and, in some cases, come up with more bills.

“This committee will try not to kill any bill, we will rather have all bills go to the floor at plenary and let the Nigerian people, speaking through their elected representatives, make the call as to whether or not those bills should pass.

“Thereafter, we will go to the various Houses of Assembly to see if those votes can also muster two-thirds majority of the 36 Assemblies.

“From there, we receive and transmit the successful bills to Mr President for assent.”

According to him, the zonal public hearings will be conducted in line with COVID-19 protocols.

Members of the committee, he emphasised, would not succumb to pressure from external forces.

The lawmaker added that as Nigerians of great accomplishments in their respective fields, members of the panel and indeed all senators would continue to live above board in the discharge of their constitutional duties.

“I can tell you that as of this moment, we have not received any such pressure or influence peddling.

“But let me tell you this, the Nigerian Senate is a chamber made up of statesmen.

“These are people of accomplishments in their previous endeavours before they came to this place.

” I don’t think these are people who are going to be susceptible to pressures from external forces, these are people who are here to do the right thing.”

On state Assemblies being rubber stamps of state governors, the Deputy President of the Senate called on those who had sent in their memoranda to put pressure on state legislators to do the right thing.

He, however, noted that all the 36 governors are unanimous that more powers be moved from the Exclusive to Concurrent Legislative List.

“It is our belief that it behoves on the electorate to mount the requisite pressure on their House of Assembly members.

“In any event, we are also going to be liaising very seriously with the Speakers of the various Houses of Assembly.

“So, before the final vote is taken, we will be able to have a feel of where we are. And if it requires some lobbying of the state governors, so be it.

“I don’t know of any governor in this country today who doesn’t subscribe to the idea that the content of the Exclusive Legislative List is not too cumbersome and there needs to be some shedding of weight.

” I am sure practically all governors will subscribe to that so we can have some of these powers devolve to the states,” he stated.

Vanguard

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