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Efforts To Review The Constitution In The Past Was Frustrated, Says Ekweremadu

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Ex-Deputy President of the Nigerian Senate, Prof. Ike Ekweremadu revealed that   the National Assembly in the past made frantic efforts to review the constitution, but their efforts were frustrated by bottlenecks.

 He said “It will be unfair to say we have not achieved anything’

The former Speaker, ECOWAS parliament disclosed this Wednesday in an interview with newsmen during the ongoing Southeast Zonal Public Hearing of the Senate Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution holding in Enugu.

He noted that one of the areas is the issue of local government reforms which according to him, failed at the level of state assemblies.

“Members of the National Assembly should not be held responsible for the previous failure to review the constitution. We made efforts to review the constitution, but some bottlenecks have made it difficult.

According to him, “the problem is not our own, we made efforts but there were some frustrating circumstances.

“I just do hope that those behind the frustrating circumstances will be able to learn from what is going on”, he said.

The Lawmaker, who is the chairman of the Enugu zonal public hearing however noted that National Assembly from 2012 have made some successes in reviewing the constitution.

In his address earlier, the Deputy Senate, President, Ovie Omo-Agege hinted that the Senate decided to adopt a bottom-up approach by first listening to Nigerians at the geo-political level before the National Public Hearing because of “the critical importance the Constitution Review Committee places on the subnational levels of governance in Nigeria.”

In an address presented on his behalf by Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Senator Omo-Agege revealed that topical issues like Judicial and Electoral Reforms, Local Government Autonomy and devolution of powers are prominent in the agenda to be addressed in the constitutional amendments.

The Deputy President of the Senate, who is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Constitutional Review, stressed that “If we get those items through constitutional processes of alteration successfully then our Constitutional Democracy will be set on the right pedestal, and ultimately, Nigeria will take its pride of place among the enviable constitutional democracies in the world”.

He pointed out that “this ongoing review provides a platform for the good people of Nigeria to express their opinions on the fundamental law that governs our lives through proposals that will lead to the highest good for the greatest number of our people”.

He stressed that the focus of the Committee is how to manage the review exercise in a fair, inclusive, credible and transparent manner.

This is in view of “diverse and differing views on the different themes of the exercise”, Senator Omo-Agege noted that they have already received a lot of memoranda on a broad range of issues and proposals.

Declaring the event open, Enugu state governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, said his administration’s support for amendments in the constitution of Nigeria that will enhance the nation’s unity and prosperity “in an environment where justice, fairness and equity shall prevail”.

The governor who harped on the importance of unity and prosperity in an atmosphere of justice, fairness and equity, therefore enjoined all relevant Institutions, Civil Society Organizations, Stakeholders and entire Enugu State citizenry to avail themselves the opportunity of the zonal public hearing to participate in the national conversation.

 Ugwuanyi however, wished the lawmakers  “a very successful zonal public hearing on the proposed alteration of some of the provisions of 1999 Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.”

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