The one week suspension of plenary by the Nigerian Senate to enable its members to participate in the zonal public hearing for the Constitution review across the country has shown that the legislative body is serious about a Constitutional amendment.
According to the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO), it has also reinforced the assertion that power to amend the Constitution does not lie with President Buhari as proposed by some groups who deliberately push that narrative to cause confusion.
In a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, BMO recalled what President Muhammadu Buhari had said in his October 1, 2017, speech commemorating Nigeria’s 57th independence anniversary.
“President Buhari said that calls for restructuring of the country were legitimate but warned that they had to be decent and must follow legal channels such as the parliament.
“At all events, proper dialogue and any desired constitutional changes should take place in a rational manner at the National and State Assemblies. These are the proper and legal fora for national debate, not some lopsided, undemocratic body with a pre-determined set of objectives”.
BMO said the public hearing for amendment of constitution as facilitated by National Assembly committee on Constitution review is the only acknowledged constitutional platform recognized by law, as part of the process of amending the Constitution and should be acknowledged by everybody.
“The National Assembly has been very much up to speed on national opinions around the amendment and updating of the Nigerian Constitution.
“The much-awaited zonal public hearings on the review of the 1999 Constitution would hold from May 26 to 27 and the event would hold simultaneously across 12 state capitals in Nigeria. It would witness two public hearings per geopolitical zone and a national public hearing is expected to hold in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
“While Jos and Minna would host the public hearings in the North Central geopolitical zone, North East and North West would hold in Bauchi and Gombe, as well as Kaduna and Sokoto respectively. Similarly, South-East would hold in Owerri and Enugu, South-South and South-West would be hosted in Port Harcourt and Asaba, as well as Akure and Lagos respectively.
“Chairman, Senate Committee on Constitution Review, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege called on those who have already submitted memoranda to speak to the documents at the events”.
According to the group, this is a huge opportunity for all ‘marginalised’ groups, canvassers of a new Constitution, canvassers of new input into the Constitution and champions of redemption of errors in the Constitution to present their arguments for amendment of the Constitution.
“Ethic irredentist that have made restructuring a symposium should also exploit this opportunity. This is the right and true process to amend the Nigerian Constitution with intent at restructuring as highlighted by the Committee, and anyone who has an interest in any aspect of the Constitution that needs to be amended can forward to the Constitution review committee,” the statement added.