Constitution Amendment: Reps Adopt Confab Report As Working Document

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Honourable Yakubu Dogara_1
Honourable Yakubu Dogara, Speaker of the House of Representatives,
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THERE are indications that the report of the 2014 National Conference may form a core plank of the ongoing bid by the National Assembly to amend the 1999 Constitution, again.

Already, copies of the report have been distributed to members of the Adhoc Committee of the House of Representatives for the Review of the constitution, to enable them prepare for discussion on the report as soon as the House resumes from Sallah break.

The decision of the House to make it part of its working document is coming on the heels of widespread demand by major stakeholders in the country for the implementation of the final report of the confab.

The two-volume report formed part of the documents handed over to President Muhammadu Buhari by his predecessor, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, on May 29, 2015.

Discordant tunes from top government functionaries in recent times on the fate of the conference report had triggered angry reactions by most Nigerians who insisted its implementation would go a longer way in saving the federation from the precipice.

Deputy Speaker of the House, Honourable Lasun Yussuff, confirmed last night that arrangements had been concluded for the lawmakers to incorporate the report in the agenda of the adhoc committee, which he doubles as the chairman.

Though he was silent on the list of major recommendations in the report that would form part of the proposed amendment, a statement by his press secretary, Mr Wole Oladimeji, said consultants hired by the House were also given copies to digest and guide the committee on its critical assignment.

“Copies of the report have been circulated to members of the committee to go through and come up with recommendations to the committee while the consultants to the committee have been given the report to advise the committee on how to go about it.

“Some of the salient proposals in the report would be turned into draft bills which would be presented to the House for adoption and passage. The committee would commence work on the review immediately the House resumes from its Sallah break,” he assured.

More than 600 resolutions contained in the conference report were passed through consensus by the 494 delegates to the conference that spanned five months.

Eminent persons, including elder statesmen, traditional rulers, legal luminaries, labour leaders, and other representatives of mass based ethnic nationalities and civil society groups were among delegates to the conference.

Some of the resolutions and recommendations of the conference bothered on devolution of powers, forms of government, immunity clause, local government administration, legislature, independence candidacy, fiscal federalism, governance, anti-corruption, true federalism, revenue allocation formula and state creation.

According to the deputy speaker, the decision to incorporate the confab report in the agenda of the Special Adhoc Committee for the current process of amending the constitution was reached at a retreat held in Abuja for the members.

His statement on the issue read: “The House of Representatives Special Adhoc Committee on the review of the 1999 Constitution has adopted the report of the National Conference, 2014 as part of its working document. The decision to adopt the report of the National conference was taken at a working session/retreat of the committee recently held at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.

“The meeting was presided over by the chairman of the committee who doubles as the Deputy Speaker of the House, Honourable Sulaimon Lasun Yussuff.

“Copies of the report have been circulated to members of the committee to go through and come up with recommendations to the committee while the consultants to the committee have been given the report to advise the committee on how to go about it.

“Some of the salient proposals in the report would be turned into draft bills which would be presented to the House for adoption and passage,” Yusuff disclosed.

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