Nigeria Needs New, Not Amended Constitution – Okowa
What Nigeria needs is a new constitution and not an amended 1999 Constitution, according to Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa.
Okowa stated this when he received the Senate Sub-Committee on review of the 1999 Constitution led by Senator James Manager at Government House, Asaba, on Wednesday.
He said a new constitution for the country had become imperative in view of observed lacunas in the 1999 Constitution.
Okowa called for the insertion of a clause to allow for the re-writing of the constitution while it would continue to be in operation until a new one was ready.
“There is no doubt that there is still a lot to work on in our constitution to have a near perfect document, and I know that the National Assembly has continued over time, to cause some of the amendments to be.
“I thank God that those sent here are familiar with the zone; so, when the people truly speak they would understand.
“But, I also wish that some persons from other zones actually had the opportunity to come down here to hear the voices of our people directly because sometimes we do not understand the extent of the pains that people of the Niger Delta truly suffer in our nation.
“We believe in one federation; we believe in the unity of Nigeria, but we will continue to ask for very strong equity in our federation as a people and I know that the people will really voice out their opinion at the public hearing.
“We know that some amendments were made recently but on a general note, we are also aware that the constitution itself appears to have just been hurriedly put up just before the 1999 elections and handed over.
“I wish it was possible to start the whole process again and to re-write the constitution and also believe that there may be a need for us to look very closely on ways and means of re-writing the constitution as a new document even when the current constitution exists,” Okowa said.
He recalled that the process of reviewing the 1999 Constitution started in the 7th Assembly, but that it was not possible to push it forward because of certain disagreements at that time.
Reiterating the necessity of a new constitution for the country, he said, “If we look deeply as lawmakers we would be able to create a window for that purpose because every year or in every assembly, we continue to engage ourselves in one amendment or another.
“I think that it is possible to insert a clause that will enable us to truly rewrite the constitution while the current constitution may be operational until the new one is brought into force.
“In that case, we would not be struggling year-in-year-out trying to amend one clause or another because there are challenges when it comes to that.”
The governor urged the National Assembly to look into power devolution to the states, review of revenue allocation formula, oil derivation and state police in the amendment to enable the Chairman of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission to lay revenue allocation formula proposal directly before the lawmakers.
READ ALSO: Delta Yet To Receive Returned Ibori’s Loot – Okowa
“As a state, we believe that the way the federal structure is in terms of governance, the powers at the federal level or what you call the powers of the presidency are too weighted against the rest of the structures in the state or what you call the sub-national governments.
“We believe that the exclusive list ought not to be as it is, because there are many things in that place that could truly be in the concurrent list. This is because the sub-national governments are much closer to the people and understand truly the pains and needs of their people and they are more likely to effect development changes that will be impactful on their people,” he stated.
He regretted that no review had been made to the revenue allocation formula for the past 24 years whereas it was supposed to be reviewed every five years.
Okowa said oil-producing states had continued to struggle for the 13 per cent derivation fund, and remarked that oil was a wasting asset while the environment where it was being extracted had continued to be polluted and degraded.
“The 13 per cent is actually too low and we believe it should be reviewed to 50 per cent as it used to be in the past or allow the states to own the assets and pay tax to the centre as applicable in other climes.
“We are also fully aware that our country is going through tough times with the current insecurity pervading our nation.
“We believe in the Nigerian Police but to fully secure the land there is a need for states to have their own police and all the governors of this nation are in support of that.
“The Nigerian police have been stretched beyond limit and to complement the Federal Police Force there is need for the states to have their own police,” he added.
Earlier, Manager had said that the committee which comprised senators from Edo, Bayelsa and Delta were in the state to conduct a two-day public hearing on the amendment of the 1999 Constitution.
NHe said aside from the Spiritual Books, the Constitution was the most important book for any country.
Manager restated that Southern senators had endorsed all the resolutions made by the Southern Governors in the `Asaba Declaration’ of May 11.
“The amendment of the Constitution is not what can be done by the National Assembly alone, but it involves states’ Houses of Assembly and other stakeholders.
“The document is never a perfect one; therefore, amendments are inevitable from time to time and in tune with current realities.
“The public hearing will afford the committee the opportunity to hear from the people and collate their views for onward processing by the Senate,” he stated.
Read more authentic news on our social media platforms
BREAKING: Abacha’s Ex-chief Of Staff Oladipo Diya Dies
Retired Lt.General Donaldson Oladipo Oyeyinka Diya, the former Chief of Staff in General Sani Abacha’s military government, is dead.
His death was confirmed by Prince Oyesinmilola Diya. He said the former military administrator of Ogun State passed on to glory in the early hours of 26th March 2023.
Born on the 3rd of April, 1944, Diya was military Governor of Ogun State after the Buhari-Idiagbon coup of December 31st, 1983.
Diya joined the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna and fought during the Nigerian Civil War.
He later attended the US Army School of Infantry, the Command and Staff College, Jaji (1980–1981) and the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru.
While serving in the military, Diya studied law at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where he obtained an LLB degree, and then at the Nigerian Law School, where he was called to bar as Solicitor and Advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
He held other top military posts like GOC, 82 Division and finally the Chief of General Staff (military Vice President) to Gen Sani Abacha
The statement read: “On behalf of the entire Diya family home and abroad; we announce the passing on to Glory of our dear Husband,Father, Grandfather,brother, Lt- General Donaldson Oladipo Oyeyinka Diya (Rtd) GCON, LLB, BL, PSC, FSS, mni.
“Our dear Daddy passed onto glory in the early hours of 26th March 2023. Please keep us in your prayers as we mourn his demise in this period. Further announcements will be made public in due course.
“Barrister Prince Oyesinmilola Diya, on behalf of the family.”
Breaking: Appeal Court Retains Adeleke As Osun Governor
The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has vacated the tribunal judgement that nullified the election of Governor Ademola Adeleke of Osun State.
The appellate court, in a unanimous decision by a three-member panel of Justices, on Friday held that the appeal Adeleke lodged to challenge his sack by the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, was meritorious.
Aside from setting aside the judgement of the tribunal, the court, in its lead judgement that was delivered by Justice Mohammed Lawal, awarded N500, 000 cost against the All Progressive Congress, APC, and its candidate, Gboyega Oyetola
BREAKING: PDP Suspends Anyim, Fayose
Former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose; former president of the Senate, Pius Anyim; Prof Dennis Ityavyar and Aslam Aliyu were on Thursday suspended from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP).
The PDP made the suspension on Thursday after an extensive review of the affairs of the party, pursuant to the provisions of the PDP Constitution (as amended in 2017).
The PDP also referred the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, to the National Disciplinary Committee over his reported involvement in anti-party activities.
This was disclosed in a statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba.
“The PDP urges all leaders, critical stakeholders and teeming members of our party across the country to remain united and focused at this critical time,” the statement added.
NEW TIMES CULTURE
A Savage Outing In The Name Of Electioneering
Unending Passion For Reform: A Peep Into My Memoir And The Future Of Nigeria
BREAKING: Abacha’s Ex-chief Of Staff Oladipo Diya Dies
Why GOFAMINT General Overseer Demoted His Deputy
BREAKING: UK Suspends Work, Study, Family Visas For Nigerians Over Ukraine War
BREAKING: First Nigerian Female Vice Chancellor Alele-Williams Is Dead
Opinion4 days ago
With Us, Not For US
Opinion5 days ago
The 2023 Elections And The Newness Of Nigeria
Opinion2 days ago
Latest News5 days ago
BREAKING:Confusion As INEC Rejects Irregular Votes In Abia, Enugu Governorship Election Results
Latest News4 days ago
BREAKING: Ekweremadu, Wife Found Guilty Of Organ-trafficking In UK