Stakeholders Demand New Constitution, Devolution of Power

SENATE

BEVERLY HILLS, May 30, (THEWILL) – The Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria and other stakeholders have called for a new constitution for Nigeria in which there will be proper devolution of power to the regions or states.

Prophet Isa El Buba

Presenting the position of the PFN at the Constitution Review Public Hearing of the North-Central zone in Jos, Prophet Isa El Buba of the Evangelical Bible Outreach Ministries demanded a new constitution that would be people-driven. El Buba described the 1999 Constitution as defective and unable to capture or reflect the aspirations of the people and promote their growth and development.

Esther Iko Ibanga, who also presented the position of a gender-specific stakeholder group, called for a new Constitution, noting that amendments to an already defective and severally amended constitution could not strengthen or ameliorate the curious and problematic socio-economic and political conditions that shaped its origin and birth.

Esther Iko Ibanga

The representatives of organised labour, acting under the aegis of the Nigeria Labour Congress, demanded devolution of power and autonomy for the judicial and legislative arms of government so as to guarantee a functional democracy that would uphold the ethos of separation of powers, checks and balances, independence and good conscience inn policy conception, programme implementation and the dispensation of Justice.

Stating its own position on the new constitutional outlook, the National Union of Local government Employees demanded financial and “absolute” autonomy to enable the system to function as a tier of government and catalyst for development.

Also, Yiaga Africa, a non-governmental, non-profit pro elections organisation, canvassed a ten-point amendment of elections-related provisions of the constitution. According o its proposal, Yiaga Africa, among other things, wants the financial independence of the Independent Electoral Commissioned strengthened, election results published at the unit level, voting rights of people with disabilities protected and the cost of nomination forms and electioneering generally be minimised as much as possible.

Yiaga Africa

At the end of the exercise, over 50 memoranda were received by the Constitution review secretariat in Jos.

Although the Chairman of the Senate Committee for the exercise and former Nasarawa State governor, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, did not brief the media at the end of the exercise, analysts expressed the opinion that the attendance and the number of memos presented at the event was a robust pointer to the subsisting crisis of federalism in contemporary Nigeria.

They warned that the matter will continue to be a vexed issue until fairness, equity, and justice become a part of the Nigeria public service and the national process.