The National Assembly has resolved that it is high time for some new reforms to be effected in the 1999 Constitution so as to facilitate the growth of the country
The resolution was reached on Monday after a retreat on the review of the 1999 Constitution organised for both members of the National and House of Assembly held in Lagos
Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, spoke to newsmen on the need for the reforms in the constitution after the retreat.
According to the DSP, some of the contentious areas of the 1999 constitution would be reviewed to meet the needs and aspirations of of the people
He pointed out that there is a need for restructuring in the country as well as the need to shed some of the powers of the Executive arm of government
He said; “We have broken all the issues into specific bills. Between yesterday and today we have looked at about 23 separate bills with separate issues. The idea is to ensure that by the time we vote, each of them succeed or fail on its own. When we conclude the work and send it to the House to approve.
“We will collate and ensure that the provisions of the constitution have been fulfilled regarding the alteration and we will send it to the President for his assent. And the President will decide which one to assent or not to assent.
“The implication therefore is that if he assent some, then those ones become an alternative part of the constitution. And the ones he refused to assent, then we might decide whether to override the veto. So, we want each of them to have a separate life on its own. And this is based on our own experience in the last exercise where everything was in one single bill and when the President withheld his assent, all of them collapsed.
“This is just an improvement on what we did last time. It is something we innovated based on our experience in the last exercise. Now, we have gone through some specific issues like the timeframe within which a governor or President will be able to assent to a bill. If you look at our constitution, I think Section 58, if you pass a bill, you need to send it to the President for his assent and he has to assent it within 30 days. ”
We also tried to withdraw some powers from the executive list to the concurrent list .You know we have been talking about the restructuring of Nigeria, one of the components of restructuring is to reduce the federal government’s powers. There are claims that the federal government has too much power and we need to strip some of them.”