Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, yesterday inaugurated a special 50-member ad hoc committee on the review of 1999 Constitution, with a charge on members of the committee not to begin a fresh process but continue from where the 7th Assembly stopped in order to save cost.
The panel, which is chaired by the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Yusuf Sulaimon Lasun, comprises all the nine principal officers of the House with one member each from the 36 states of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory, with special representatives for women.
While pointing out that the jurisdiction and mandate of constitution review committee was a straight forward one, Dogara listed the tasks to include: work on the 4th Alteration Bill started by the 7th Assembly; to process all other proposals for further alteration of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as may be necessary on behalf of the House of Representatives, or as referred to it by the House.
His words, “In carrying out your assignment therefore, we would recommend a two-track approach. Firstly, we need to conclude the 4th Alteration Bill, which is pending. Secondly, we need to process all the other new Bills referred to the Committee by members, including new proposals from the general public. In your discussions and engagements, there should be no off limits except the very basis of the Constitution which is the indivisibility of Nigeria. It is only through clash and compromise of ideas that we can make progress.
“We must avoid the temptation of starting afresh. A lot of public funds were spent in processing the botched 4th Alteration Bill and we think that it would be a disservice to this country if the work of the 7th Assembly on this matter is completely jettisoned. The House of Representatives, in particular consulted the Nigerian people widely, leading to the Peoples’ Public Sessions that took place in 360 federal constituencies of Nigeria, in conjunction with relevant stakeholders,” Dogara said.