Senate asks Buhari to constitute Federal Character Commission
• Says absence of substantive chairman, a breach of constitution
The Senate has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately constitute the Federal Character Commission.
The lawmakers noted that the Commission lacks full membership since 2018, which they further noted amounts to a breach of the Act establishing the Federal Character Commission and the 1999 constitution (as amended).
The Senate resolution was sequel to a motion, “Urgent Need to Reconstitute the Federal Character Commission, ” presented by Senate Minority Leader and Senator representing Abia South, Enyinnaya Abaribe.
Citing Orders 42 and 52 of the upper legislative chamber, he drew the attention of the Senate to a development where since 2018, the Commission has been run by an acting chairman, who has now become a sole administrator.
Senator Abaribe argued that it was unconstitutional for the President not to have appointed a substantive chairman for the Commission since 2018 when the tenure of the former Chairman lapsed, leading to the emergence of an Acting Chairman.
Senator Abaribe said the Commission, contrary to existing statutes which makes provision for 36 Commissioners from each state of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, was now moribund as a result of the expiration of their tenures and none replacements via appointment by the President.
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The motion reads: “Notes that pursuant to Act No. 34 of (1996 and Section 153 of the 1999 constitution (as amended) provided For the establishment of the Federal Character Commission.
“Also Notes that under Act No.34 of 1996, LFN subsection 1, 2 & 3 stipulates the establishment. membership and tenure of office of the Chairman and members of the Commission.
“Aware that Section 3(1) of the Act states that the Chairman and members of the Commission shall hold office for a period of five years in the first instance and for a further term of five years on such terms and conditions as may be specified in their letters of appointment.
“Further aware that Federal Character Commission body has lapsed since 2018 as against its Act.
“Observed that since 2018, Federal Character Commission has been run by an ACTING CHAIRMAN who has now become a sole administrator.
“Further observes, that no provisions of the Act or the Constitution stipulate the need For the office of a sole administrator or an Acting Chairman.
“Note, that the Federal Character Commission (FCC) has been a tool for unity, equitable Formula distribution and good governance of the Nation.
“Accordingly, note that failure to reconstitute the commission amounts to a constitutional breach of the act establishing the Federal Character Commission and the 1999 Constitution (as amended).”
In his remarks after the adoption of prayer of the motion President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, said he was hopeful that the Presidency would respond adequately by taking urgent action to constitute the Commission.
He said: “The FCC is one of those national tools that work to ensure equity, unity, fairness and justice in terms of employment distribution across all the 36 states and the FCT.
“It is very important we have the full complement of the Commission in place and I believe that with this resolution, it will expedite action by the executive in reconstituting the membership of the Commission.”