Speakers of the 36/state houses of assembly on Friday asked the National Assembly joint conference on the Review of the 1999 constitution, to consider the inclusion of restructuring, devolution of powers, and state police in the proposed amendments.
The Chairman Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures in Nigeria, Abubakar Suleiman, stated this in Abuja at a retreat organised for speakers and clerks of the state houses of assembly.
Suleiman, who is also the Speaker of the Bauchi State House of Assembly has therefore urged the ad hoc committees of the federal parliament, to carry critical stakeholders along before coming up with its report.
He said, “We are being confronted with certain challenges in the country that borders on insecurity, economy, devolution of powers, weak institutions.
“The conference of speakers subscribes to the call that the review of the Constitution is one of the legislative actions at our disposal that could be explored to address these challenges.
“We therefore call on the members of the national assembly and the state house of Assemblies to take this opportunity of yet another alteration exercise to address many agitated issues such as restructuring, devolution of powers, community and state police.
“We appreciate the inclusiveness in the exercise. We call on the national assembly to endeavour to carry along other major stakeholders like the Presidency and the executive governors in the ongoing exercise.
“We are particular about the executive arms at both tiers of government due to the previous experience and reluctance or selective considerations for Presidential assent by the presidency and challenges of implementation at the state level.
“This call is borne out of genuine concern for effective accomplishment of the noble goals of the exercise and consideration of our rigorous effort and scarce resources committed to the exercise.”
Meanwhile the Chairman of the Senate ad-hoc committee on the review of the 1999 constitution, has said the report of his panel would be submitted penultimate week.
He said, “The proposed amendments in the bills we have shared with you set out institutional and legal reforms, which together with sufficient political will, will help to strengthen institutions of governance.
” It will provide for accountability and transparency in governance; and create an independent judicial system that would ensure effective administration of justice in Nigeria.
“The overarching rationale for the amendments contained in these bills are thus predicated on the need to amongst others: strengthen the legislature’s authority to enable it to serve as an effective pillar of checks and balance to the executive.
” It will strengthen independent constitutional bodies; create and strengthen a culture of good governance; address the issues of corruption, revenue leakages and unbridled government spending.
“I assure you most sincerely that our work up to this point has been guided strictly by best legislative practice, integrity, open mindedness, and patriotism.
“I therefore encourage you, irrespective of political leanings and other affiliations to abide by the same standards while making your contributions.
“I know it is the desire of every Nigerian that this process will bring positive transformations to our country.
“Therefore, we should all leverage this retreat to bequeath to our nation a constitution that speaks to the yearnings and aspirations of every Nigerian.”