By Ado Hassan, Sokoto
Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, says he is hopeful that the proposed Constitutional amendments will favour and address the yearnings and aspirations of a good number of Nigerians .
He said:” Indeed, the ongoing exercise provides a platform for the good people of Nigeria to express their opinions on the fundamental laws that govern our lives.”
The Deputy Senate President, who is also the Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution, disclosed this in Sokoto,on Wednesday.
He spoke at the North West Zonal Public Hearing , Sokoto Centre, comprising Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara States, holding simultaneously across the six geopolitical zones of Nigerian.
Represented by the Chairman of the Sokoto Centre, Senator Adamu Aliero, a former Governor of Kebbi State , Omo-Agege said that , a constitution review represents a critical phase in the nation’s development, as well as advancement as a country .
He added:” So far we have had over two decades of constitutional rule, under the 1999 Constitution.
” This is an important feat, and we commend ourselves as a country, even if we are not where we aspire to be .
” As a living document, the Constitution, and to a large extent our constitutional democracy needs to be reviewed, from time to time .
” Just as in our day to day lives,we take stock of the past and plan for the future, so must be with the nation .”
The Deputy Senate President further stated that, at the commencement of the 9th Senate, the lawmakers had set for themselves a legislative agenda, as a basis on which they will be assessed.
According to him, conspicuously included in that agenda is the need to address, by way of Constitutional Amendments, topical and crucial issues like the Judicial and Electoral Reforms , Local Governments Autonomy, Devolution of Powers and Fiscal Federalism, among others .
He explained :” If we get these items through done successfully, then our Constitutional Democracy will be set on the right pedestal and ultimately,Nigeria will take it’s pride of place among the enviable democracies in the world .
” It is therefore with great pleasure that I convey the intention of the Senate to leverage on this exercise, to achieve as many milestones as possible .”
Declaring open the exercise , Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, represented by his Deputy, Alhaji Muhammadu Mannir Dan Iya, described the Constitution as the reference point of democracy.
He said,” And in the 22 years of Nigeria’s experience in government by representation,our gains have more than justified our challenges .
” All constitutions are therefore, work in progress , because they are subject to the changing needs and aspirations the people, at different times.
” And constitutional reviews are the processes for ensuring this guiding document plays that function.”
Also speaking, the Chairman , Progressives Governors’ Forum and Kebbi State Governor, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu opined that, the exercise was coming at the time of Nigeria’s life when more dialogue was direly needed .
He said that, this became more evident and glaring sequel to the prevalence of myriad of topical issues agitating the minds of many Nigerians.
” It is an opportune time to therefore collectively brainstorm on how to discuss these issues , for the country to move forward in unison, by having a more robust constitution.”
There were also goodwill messages from the Speakers of the Sokoto and Zamfara States Houses of Assemblies,Rt. Honourables Aminu Achida and Nasiru Magarya, respectively .
In a vote of thanks , Senator Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko, representing Sokoto North Senatorial District and also a former Governor of Sokoto State , said that, the proposed review of the constitution is for the good of all Nigerians.
Wamakko , who is a Member of the North West Sub Committee, Sokoto Centre , lauded the National Assembly fo the Initiative, as part of the 9th Senate Legislative Agenda.
He commended all Nigerians for participating in the exercise,just as he specifically thanked all Governors in Nigeria for their invaluable support to ensure the success of the all-important national assignment.
Wamakko said ” It will afford all Nigerians to meaningfully contribute to the review exercise,hence, the entrenchment of a more equitable Nigeria .”