Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives and Chairman, Ad-hoc Committee on Constitution Review, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, has promised that the collation of resolutions of state assemblies on clauses for amendment in the 1999 Constitution will be thoroughly done towards achieving a successful finishing of the amendment process by the National Assembly
He also expressed pride with the work done by the National Assembly on the ongoing alteration of the 1999 Constitution, saying whatever the eventual outcome from the states it is satisfying that constitutional amendment is a continual exercise that may be resumed in the next dispensation.
Speaking during the transmission of the resolutions from the state assemblies in the national assembly Friday, the deputy speaker said ”we are justifiably proud of the work done by the National Assembly contained in the proposals sent to the State Houses of Assembly for their approval or rejection as the case may be.”
According to him, “whatever the outcome of the returns from the States we will accept it as the inevitable consequences of running a federation where the input of the States is a critical requirement. Indeed the process of amending or altering the Constitution is a continuous one. It does not end with this exercise.”
Hon. Ihedioha who is also the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for Imo State in the 2015 general elections, said he felt a personal sense of satisfaction at the way the collective views and aspirations of Nigerians from all walks of life have been reflected largely in the amendment process especially at the level of the National Assembly.
Hon. Ihedioha promised that the National Assembly “shall carry out this final exercise with dispatch, particularly given the limited time in the life of the current Assembly,” adding that “We hope that the Resolution reached on the Bill by the Houses of Assembly of the States would meet the expectations of Nigerians on the key issues that were affected by the exercise.”
He said: “I feel highly delighted at the event of today which marks another epoch in the annals of Constitution Alteration by the National Assembly. At a personal level, I have a sense of fulfilment, having guided the Ad-hoc Committee of the House of Representatives in arriving at the Constitution Alteration Bill which was adopted with nearly anonymous positive votes of the Two Chambers of the National Assembly.
“When we started the journey to further alter the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, we built on the experience of the efforts of the 6th National Assembly.
“For us in the House of Representatives , the House ad Hoc Committee on Constitution Review was set up to fulfill one of the cardinal points in the Legislative Agenda adopted by the 7th House of Representatives following its inauguration in June 2011.
“We had made a commitment to the Nigerian people to further alter the provisions of the 1999 Constitution in a more holistic manner than the previous efforts which touched only, a few provisions. If we recall the origin of the Constitution, we will acknowledge that it lacked a more direct participation of Nigerians in its making. We made efforts this time to involve all Nigerians.
“The National Assembly took the approach of incremental alterations of the provisions of the Constitution in such a manner that would eventually bring about a wholesale alteration/review of the Constitution without unduly upsetting the governance structure of the country. This we did with the proposal for the amendment or alteration of 57 Sections and 7 Schedules of the Constitution.
“Following the adoption of the Bill, the National Assembly on 28 October 2014, transmitted the Bill to the Conference of Speakers of State Legislature in accordance with Section 9 of the Constitution. It is heartening that the Houses of Assembly of the States concluded the work on the Bill in less than two months and are transmitting their Resolution to the National Assembly today indicating the views of their States on the items for amendment proposed by the National Assembly.
“The National Assembly will further collate the votes on each of the sections of the Bill and determine which of them attained the constitutionally required two-third (2/3) vote for passage, which in practice means that Twenty-Four out of the Thirty-Six State Houses of Assembly shall have voted ‘yes’ on each Section for it to be adjudged as having passed.”