Constitutional Reforms To Be Ready in 24 Months

Benjamin Kalu, the chairman of the House Committee on Constitution Review and the deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, declared on Monday, February 26, that the new constitution of the country will be prepared for presidential approval within the next 24 months. 

The aim of having a new constitution available early is to give the President time to evaluate the modifications before signing them into law, away from the busy election year schedule, according to Kalu, who made this statement during the official inauguration of the House Committee for the 1999 Constitution evaluation. 

Kalu said: “Our constitution, the foundation of our democracy, stands as a testament to our collective aspirations for a just, equitable, and prosperous society. Yet, as we confront the realities of the 21st century, it is incumbent upon us to recognize the imperative for constitutional reform, to ensure that our laws reflect our people’s evolving needs and aspirations.”

According to Kalu, the House has received bill proposals so far that address a number of issues, including the creation of a state police force, state access to mines, greater female participation in politics, a clear outline of the taxes and levies that each level of government is expected to collect, and the establishment of an office for the mayor of the Federal Capital Territory in Abuja.

He stated that the current amendment reinstates a number of bill proposals that were passed during the fifth constitutional amendment but did not receive the president’s assent. These include the National Assembly’s and State Assemblies’ authority to call a meeting of the President and state governors, as well as the government’s obligation to ensure that policies protect the rights to food and food security.

He said that the House was open to considering other recommendations to improve the Constitution and fortify national democracy. He claimed that this demonstrated the dynamic character of the constitutional review process and its importance to the country’s democratic strengthening.

He stated that the House was also awaiting bill ideas sponsored by the executive branch that addressed matters on the President’s reformed agenda.

He recognized that previous assemblies had made amendments to the constitution that made the State Houses of Assembly and State Judiciary financially independent; that “Prisons” be renamed “Correctional Services” and that “railways” be moved from the exclusive legislative list to the concurrent legislative list so that the state could participate; that states could produce, transmit, and distribute electricity in areas covered by the national grid; and that the President and Governors must submit the names of anyone nominated as Ministers or Commissioners to the Senate or State House of Assembly within sixty days of assuming office. 

He declared that the committee is prepared to take on the upcoming opportunities and challenges. By utilizing social media, technology, and inclusive engagement, we will make sure that every citizen has the ability to participate in the future direction of our country and that their voice is heard. 

The House Committee chairman further said, “As we embark on this journey, let us draw inspiration from the words of great leaders who have come before us. Let us remember the wisdom of Tafawa Balewa, who spoke of the necessity of unity and collaboration in our efforts to build a brighter future.

“Together, let us reaffirm our commitment to democracy, justice, and progress. Together, let us rise to the challenge and build a brighter future for Nigeria, a future that is truly of the people, by the people, and for the people.

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