By AUSTIN OWOICHO, Abuja
The Adhoc committee tasked with the review of the 1999 Constitution have been charged to complete the review by the end of June 2016.
President of the Senate/Chairman of the National Assembly, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki gave the charge at the Inauguration of the Senate AdHoc Committee on Constitutional Review on Wednesday, stressing that they should give the 4th Alteration Bill.
“Let me reemphasis the need for prudence and efficiency. This is not time for jamboree tours or unnecessary flamboyance. While acknowledging the need for a very comprehensive and exhaustive review of the proposal, it won’t be an excuse for excessive elaboration and endless retreats. Nigerians expect that this is not going to end without result. More than what has been done in the past, we must make a difference. It is our hope that this assignment can be completed by end of June 2016.
“The 1999 Constitution was indeed, a bold and innovative attempt to come to grips with some of Nigeria’s most fundamental and pressing problems of the time. This Constitution has taken us thus as a united indivisible nation. As the blueprint of our developmental aspiration, there is a developing national consensus that the constitution as presently constituted requires realignment with our political, economical, fiscal and social reality, to bring it in turn to deal with our emerging Nigeria 21st century challenges.
“It would be recalled that the 7th National Assembly had done a good job of obtaining national consensus on key challenges to the operation of the constitution and the utilisation of the constitution as the coherent framework for our development as a nation through its work on the 4th Alteration Bill. This is why I urge the committee to, in the first instance, concentrate on the 4th Alteration Bill and conclusively address it before dealing with other proposals,” he said.
Saraki explained that the current review is an attempt by the 8th National Assembly to cement and exhaustively conclude the process of the 4th Alteration Bill which is essentially hinged on strengthening our constitutional democracy, entrenching our unity and widening the remit of institutions that enable the implementation of development plan, respect for the Constitution and the observance of the rule of law as our primary objective.
“Having acknowledged the immense work of the 7thNational Assembly under the fourth alteration bill, the Senate expects you to swiftly consolidate the 4thalteration bill for passage as it has already garnered national consensus. We expect that within the next few days you will forward the consolidated bill, have it gazette and forwarded for first reading.
“The Senate expects that a good liaison is forged early enough with the House of Representatives’ Committee on this all important project, with a view to reducing areas of disagreements and conflicts. It is equally crucial that all stakeholders’ opinions are fully considered especially the Executive,” he advised.