Only new constitution can grant restructuring, says Yakubu Dogara
• Arewa leaders warn agitators over campaign
Those hankering for the restructuring of the country to achieve federal character and balance the distribution of the nation’s commonwealth would have to wait until a new constitution becomes operational.
This follows yesterday’s remarks by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, at the hearing organised by the House Ad hoc Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution at the National Assembly, that restructuring could only be done through the amendment of the constitution.
Revealing that the parliament would not constitute a stumbling block to the wishes and aspirations of Nigerians for genuine changes in the constitution, Dogara assured that when completed, the new set of laws would address the various agitations in all parts of the country.
Dogara assured that the various recommendations calling for judicial reforms were geared towards reducing the time for litigation in courts and that efforts should be made to adopt and reflect them in the final amendments.
The Speaker urged stakeholders to also ensure that the purpose of entrenching the NIC as a superior court of record with exclusive jurisdiction on labour related matters is not defeated so that the country doesn’t return to the days of uncertainty on labour matters.
House Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila assured that at the end of the consideration of the review exercise, the committee would forward aspects of amendment that would have been approved to the House for further legislative action.
In the meantime, alleging ethnic and tribal biases, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has faulted the current agitation for the restructuring of Nigeria, warning that such agitation may not promote the unity and development of the nation.
A statement issued yesterday, by the National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Muhammad Ibrahim Biu, pointed out that “the term means different things to different people or groups. To some people, it is true federalism, whatever that means, for others it is fiscal federalism, while some group tout resource control and yet we have those for resource ownership.”
Biu said, “ACF notes with regret that those clamouring or demanding for the so-called restructuring are yet to define what they actually mean by the concept and its application in our present democratic setting,” stressing that in most cases, the meaning depends on which section of the country or the person advocating for it comes from.
“It is, therefore, the considered view of the ACF that any acceptable restructuring meant to improve the unity, stability, harmony and peaceful coexistence must be based on just, fair and equitable principles to all Nigerians that come with clarity of definition.”
Besides, it also dwelt on the report of 2014 National Conference, noting that “the opposition of the North to the implementation of the recommendations in report of 2014 National Conference is not so much because of any legal consideration as to its legitimacy, but also because the selection of the conference delegates was skewed against the North in number considering its population.”
Meanwhile, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State yesterday dissociated government and indigenes of Abia from the clamour for the republic of Biafra being fronted by IPOB, he insisted that Nigeria’s unity is not negotiable.
Just like Ikpeazu’s position, his Kano State counterpart, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje also reiterated commitment to guarantee security of lives and property of all residents of Kano regardless of ethnic and religious diversity.
Governor Ikpeazu who spoke in Kano while fielding questions from journalists shortly after paying condolence visit to governor Ganduje on the demise of Danmasanin Kano Yusuf Maitama Sule, reminded the agitators of secession about the importance of Nigeria’s unity in diversity rather suggested mutual dialogue to resolves grey hair.
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