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Following the recent reaction of the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan and his House of Representatives’ counterpart, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila to the communiqué issued by the 17 Southern Governors towards restructuring the country in line with the agitations of the people, the Speaker of the Ogun State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Olakunle Oluomo, has expressed concern about the Senate President’s reaction, describing it as a premeditated response to the genuine agitations of the people.
Oluomo, who spoke in an interview shortly after congratulating the people of the State on the successful celebration of Eid- El Fitri, added that with such response emanating from the Senate President, he doubted his commitment towards constitution amendment, positing that if Senator Lawan “is very sincere about amending the constitution to suite the exigency of this time, I don’t expect him to fire back at the Governors for airing out the opinion of the people”.
“This is about the first-time in the history of the country when the Governors of the Southern part of Nigeria or any governor whatsoever would come out openly on this matter and align themselves with the request and demand of their people and I don’t know when emphasizing or airing what your people want becomes a crime in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Almost everybody in the country have been agitating for restructuring since we don’t know how we came together in 1914. What is wrong in all of us sitting together and rearrange our union? When has it become a crime in the Constitution of Nigeria to say the mind of those who elected you?
Moreso, the Southern Governors emphasized that they prefer one united Nigeria. Therefore, since they have said they believe in one Nigeria; all we need to do is to restructure, devolve power to the federating States, consider appropriate role for local government and traditional rulers in a way that would bring peace and expected unity to this country.
So, I don’t now understand what prompted such reaction from the Senate President. It shows that he has a pre-meditated mind, otherwise, what he’s supposed to do is to collate the ideas, the thinking, the agitations and opinions of the generality of Nigerians, particularly, those who are elected by the people to represent them and make the National Assembly work towards achieving that goal instead of condemning them.
He needs to be reminded that even during the last town hall meeting held in Arewa House Kaduna, the people there talked about restructuring; the Senate President did not condemn them, why is he now condemning the Southern Governors for saying the mind of their people? I’m suspecting him. I don’t think the man is ready to thinker with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in a way that will bring lasting peace or give room to amendments that will lead to peace and security with appropriate role to local government as a tier of government, to devolve power to States, review of revenue sharing formula and other issues that have been the bane of our developments in this country.
I therefore want to challenge him to tell this country whether he’s really interested in amending the constitution. If the President of this country cannot convene national conference, I will rather advise that the Senate President should go to his records, call sincere legal minded luminaries across the country, both from the North and South, ask them to work on the opinion of the people and come up with an idea for the National Assembly. That’s what I expect him to do.
I expect him to consult a team of legal experts in this country particularly those who had served at the national level as consultants to the National Assembly to find a way of aggregating the opinions of the governors and all stakeholders in the Nigeria Project, that have been saying one thing or the other about the constitution, to chart a new way forward by coming up with a draft that will be in tandem with the agitations of the people and then lay it before all of us and see how we can galvanize that into the Constitution”, the Speaker emphasized.
He challenged the National Assembly to gather an array of legal minds, which should be carefully selected across the country to harness the views of the people with a view to enabling them come up with a draft that would meet the yearnings and agitations of the people for the consideration in the course of constitution amendment.