Constitution Review: Conference of Speakers Blames Party Conventions For Delay

The Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures of Nigeria has said the recent primary elections and conventions conducted by political parties in the country preparatory to the 2023 general elections prevented them from rectifying the 44 transmitted bills. 

The Speakers also berated Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege over his comment alleging that states houses of assemblies refuse to deliberate on the 44 bills the National Assembly transmitted to them as part of the process for the review of the 1999 Constitution. 

Earlier, Senator Agege said Speakers of the state houses of assemblies, who are cronies to their governors, deliberately frustrated and delayed the constitution review process over the non-inclusion of state policing among the 44 bills transmitted to them for ratification. 

The Deputy Senate President also alleged that state houses of assemblies are using the issue of non-inclusion of state police among the 44 items sent to them for their hesitance to pass their resolutions to enable the national assembly complete the process for the review of the constitution as planned. 

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But the Chairman of the Conference of Speakers who doubled as Speaker of the Bauchi State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Abubakar Sulaiman said 16 states’ houses of assemblies have already passed their resolutions to the 44 bills sent to them by the national assembly. 

The states are Abia, Anambra, Enugu, Delta, Edo, Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Ogun, Osun, Ekiti, Kogi, Benue, Nasarawa, Kaduna, Katsina, and Adamawa States.

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He blamed the recent conventions and primary elections by political parties in the country for the delay experienced, adding that the review of the constitution coincided with the parties’ primaries. 

“It should be made clear that the transmission was done when Political Parties’ National, Sub-National Conventions as well as Parties’ Primaries were being conducted in the country. Hence, the political Parties’ Primaries and other activities delayed the process at the state level.

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“It should also be stressed that no amount of blackmail and intimidation will stop or distract the State Houses of Assembly from diligently carrying out their constitutional roles. The alteration exercise of the Constitution is too important for a few to assume exclusive powers.

“As major stakeholders in the Constitution alteration exercise and the representatives of the people at the grassroots, we are by far in a better position to know the basic and pressing needs of the people. Hence our appeal for the inclusion of the Bills. 

“For instance, the issue of insecurity should agitate any conscientious leaders. So we believe this should be tackled frontally by the government. And the best way and the most generally accepted way to curb the menace, we believe, is by providing for state policing in the constitution” the Speaker said. 

Speaker Sulaiman said state houses of assemblies proceeded to rectify the resolutions of the national assembly despite the non-inclusion of the state policing bills they proposed for inclusion in the review of the 1999 Constitution. 

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He said Senator  Agege deceived them when he assured them that the issue of state police will be included among the resolutions of the National Assembly to be considered in the constitution review process. 

WikkiTimes recalls that National Assembly transmitted 44 bills to the states houses of assemblies for resolutions to amend the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria about six months ago. 


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