Senate to hold public hearing soon on constitution review ― Deputy Senate President

• As group seeks adoption of 1963 Constitution

The Senate Adhoc Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution has disclosed that it will soon unveil its schedule of events for the forthcoming public hearings on amendment of the constitution.

Deputy President of the Senate and Chairman of the Committee, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege made the disclosure on Thursday at the National Assembly in Abuja when the Steering Committee of the Constitution Review panel hosted the Eminent Elders Forum led by Professor Echefuna Onyeabadi.

Senator Omo-Agege advised Nigerians who have already submitted their memoranda and are anxious to speak to their documents to use the opportunity to be provided at the forthcoming public hearing.

“By next week, our schedule of events for the public hearings will be made public. We will have a national public hearing very soon. And thereafter we will have the zonal public hearings. In some of the zones, we decided that we will have at least two zonal hearings.”

Subcommittees to submit report next week

He further revealed that all the subcommittees earlier constituted would submit their reports to the ad-hoc committee by next week.

“All memoranda must have been considered by our subcommittees. In about a week, they will make returns to us, having perused thoroughly the contents of submissions by others. They will make recommendations to us and we will take it from there. He said, adding “Let me also state that the constitution review exercise is a very tedious one. It is not a tea party by any means.”

Earlier in his presentation, the Coordinator of the Forum, Professor Echefuna Onyeadi called for the adoption of the 1963 Constitution.

He noted that the 1963 document was the one bequeathed to Nigerians by the nation founding fathers.

Professor Onyeadi noted that successive Constitution which were the creation of military regimes were unitary in nature and an aberration in a federation.

“We took time to look at all the constitutions we have had in this country and it was resolved by our body that the best way to go about it is to retrace our steps to the Constitution that the founding leaders of this country handed over to us.

“At Independence, we had a Constitution which was slightly amended in 1963 and was just in operation for only three years before the military struck. Thereafter we abandoned that model completely and we have been experimenting with different types of governance. And experience has shown that all the models we have adopted subsequently are not working well for us as a country.”

In his response, Senator Omo-Agege said the request was a tall dream as he submitted that it was outside the jurisdiction of the National Assembly.

He said the Parliament was only vested in piecemeal.

“The procedures for amending the 1999 Constitution are clearly spelt out. It requires a lot of reaching out and lobbying. It is your job to reach out to other stakeholders. You will need to win over as many lawmakers as possible both at the national and state levels. So, you have your work cut out for you.”

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