23 months after, Nigerians still wait for amended constitution
By John Eche
23 months after the National Assembly inaugurated a review committee to amend the 1999 Constitution, the process is yet to be concluded even as the public continues to wait upon the committee to complete its assignment and deliver upon its mandate, a The Difference investigation has revealed.
The joint committee of the National Assembly overseeing the assignment had been inaugurated by Senate President, Ahmed Lawan in February 2020 and is headed by Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege. But 17 months to the close of the shelf life of the present administration and six months after a very widely publicised series of zonal and national hearings that was suppossed to be the penultimate phase of the process, no word is coming out of the 56-member committee and indeed the National Assembly.
There are many contentious issues that Nigerians have been calling on the lawmakers to ensure are adjusted in the 1999 constitution. They include the introduction of a provision for referendum, the restructuring of the federation and the legitimisation of a state police structure.
But given recent developments in the polity, including very notably, the ongoing disputiopns over the Electoral Amendment Act, many indeed believe that not much should be expected of the constitutional review process.
‘I really had no confidence that anything was going to come out of the process. So I am not particularly bothered, ‘ Ikem Eze, a public affairs commentator remarked.
This is the fifth attempt at reviewing the 1999 Constitution which many even believe should not even be amended any further but should be replaced with a brand new and more freely determined document that better expresses the will and reality of the country and its best aspirations.
House of Representatives Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila