From Tunde Omolehin, Sokoto
Deputy Senate President Senator Ovie Omo-Agege says the outcome of the proposed constitutional amendments would be a good omen for Nigerians.
He said also said the ongoing exercise will provide a platform for Nigerians to express their opinions on the fundamental laws that govern our lives.
Omo-Agege, who is also the Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution, disclosed this in Sokoto on Wednesday at the ongoing North West Zonal Public Hearing.
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 Nigeria’s development, as well as advancement as a country.
‘So far we have had over two decades of constitutional rule, under the 1999 Constitution,’ he said.
‘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.’
In his opening address, Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, represented by his Deputy, Alhaji Muhammadu Manir Dan Iya, described the Constitution as the reference point of democracy.
He said: ‘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, Kebbi State Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu noted that, the exercise was coming at the time of Nigeria’s life when more dialogue was in dire need.
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.’
In a vote of thanks, Senator Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko, representing Sokoto North Senatorial District, said that the proposed review of the constitution is for the good of all Nigerians.
Wamakko, a member of the North West Sub Committee, Sokoto Centre lauded the National Assembly for such 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.
There were also goodwill messages from the Speakers of the Sokoto and Zamfara State Houses of Assembly, Rt Hon Aminu Achida and Nasiru Magarya, respectively.