1999 Constitution must be reworked, says Gbajabiamila

House of Representatives Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila has said the 1999 Constitution is being amended to address critical national issues the current document has failed to address.

The Speaker said this on Tuesday at the opening of the zonal public hearing on amendment to the constitution in Lagos.

He noted that the current document falls short of these standards, explaining that this is “because the 1999 Constitution is the product of a hurried national compromise that we entered into two decades ago in order to ensure that the military returned to the barracks and that we returned to democratic government”.

The Speaker said the National Assembly could only give Nigerians a people-oriented constitution after getting the inputs and support of the citizens.

Gbajabiamila added: “The foundational constitution of the United States of America deemed people of colour to be ‘less than’ and denied women the right to vote. It did not include any limits on the President’s term of office and allowed for citizens to be denied the right to vote for failure to pay the ‘poll tax’. Twenty-seven reviews and amendments, over 100 years cured these and other defects.

“No nation in the world has a perfect constitution, but we need a near-perfect constitution in Nigeria and we can achieve that through substantive amendments that significantly alter the character of our nation…”

Participants at the two-day public hearing included Deputy Governor Dr. Babafemi Hamzat, who represented Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu; members of the House of Representatives Special Committee on the Review of the Constitution; members of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ); Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC); representatives of political parties, civil society organisations (CSOs), youth organisations and market women.

Also, Senate President Ahmad Lawan has said a national public hearing on the review of the 1999 Constitution will hold on June 3 and June 4 in Abuja.

Lawan announced this yesterday at plenary while reading a letter addressed to him by the Chairman of the Constitution Review Committee and Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege.

House of Representatives Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila has said the 1999 Constitution is being amended to address critical national issues the current document has failed to address.

The Speaker said this on Tuesday at the opening of the zonal public hearing on amendment to the constitution in Lagos.

He noted that the current document falls short of these standards, explaining that this is “because the 1999 Constitution is the product of a hurried national compromise that we entered into two decades ago in order to ensure that the military returned to the barracks and that we returned to democratic government”.

The Speaker said the National Assembly could only give Nigerians a people-oriented constitution after getting the inputs and support of the citizens.

Gbajabiamila added: “The foundational constitution of the United States of America deemed people of colour to be ‘less than’ and denied women the right to vote. It did not include any limits on the President’s term of office and allowed for citizens to be denied the right to vote for failure to pay the ‘poll tax’. Twenty-seven reviews and amendments, over 100 years cured these and other defects.

“No nation in the world has a perfect constitution, but we need a near-perfect constitution in Nigeria and we can achieve that through substantive amendments that significantly alter the character of our nation…”

Participants at the two-day public hearing included Deputy Governor Dr. Babafemi Hamzat, who represented Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu; members of the House of Representatives Special Committee on the Review of the Constitution; members of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ); Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC); representatives of political parties, civil society organisations (CSOs), youth organisations and market women.

Also, Senate President Ahmad Lawan has said a national public hearing on the review of the 1999 Constitution will hold on June 3 and June 4 in Abuja.

Lawan announced this yesterday at plenary while reading a letter addressed to him by the Chairman of the Constitution Review Committee and Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege.

Its Head of International Relations Department, Liaison to the National Assembly, Mr. Uchenna Ekwe, spoke yesterday in Enugu during the public hearing by House of Representatives Committee on 1999 Constitution Review.

He said those canvassing for its removal were ignorant of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) laws and making a vital mistake.

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