Constitution Review: You’re Not Serious – Northern Elders Fault Senate
The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has advised the Senate to jettison “the wasteful idea of giving Nigerians the impression that it is involved in a serious review of our Constitution”.
The NEF stated this through its Director of Publicity and Advocacy, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed in Abuja on Sunday, while faulting the Upper Chamber’s recent call for memoranda on review of the 1999 Constitution.
It said that the Senate’s practice, since 2011, of earmarking N1 billion every four years ostensibly for Constitution Review and the call for memoranda were nothing more than a predictable waste of time, resources, and energy of Nigeria.
The group said it was unconscionable on the part of the Senate to be involved in such jamboree at a time that the economy is facing unprecedented challenges.
Rather than a Constitution Review jamboree, NEF said, the Senate should be applying pressure on President Muhammadu Buhari to end insurgency in the North-East.
The group lamented that since 1999, the National Assembly had expended Nigeria people’s money on “jamborees that give them false hope that the three arms of government respect the overwhelming desire of Nigerians for a holistic and genuine review and amendment of the 1999 Constitution.”
According to the group, nothing beneficial to the polity has emerged from “these grand schemes to exploit our collective desire to address our political and economic fundamentals. This National Assembly is also following suit, and it should not be encouraged on this path”.
The group emphasised that Nigeria can only develop if its leaders show commitment to address major constraints to equity and justice, a functional structure, consistent good governance, security for all citizens, a credible electoral process, growing understanding between and among all groups and an economy that grows and narrows inequalities between and classes and regions.
“This cannot be achieved by a process that routinises wasteful expenditure around false hopes.
“The legislature and executive branches of government have large quantities of reviews, recommendations and reports from past attempts at amending the constitutions. These represent enough resources for a review if the legislature is serious about this vital national priority. Even this is not likely to produce a genuine effort to address the basic requirements of securing a stable, secure and prosperous Nigeria, because both arms of this administration are unlikely to accept to put through wide-ranging reviews of the Constitution,” NEF stated.