Constitution Amendment: Dogara briefs governors on Senate, House disagreement

The Speaker of House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, Wednesday night briefed governors of the 36 states of the federation under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) on the constitution amendments done by the lower chamber of the National Assembly.
The Senate and House of Representatives had disagreements on certain aspects of the constitution amendment, thereby delaying the governors from taking decision on the matter.
Chairman of the NGF and governor of Zamfara state, Mr. Abdulaziz Yari, told State House correspondents that Dogara briefed the governors on the the lawmakers at the lower chamber agreed on as far as constitution amendment is concerned.
“As a follow up to the briefing by Mr. Deputy Senate President, Mr. Speaker briefed us on the version of the House of Representatives on the constitutional amendment and very soon, they will  harmonise the two positions.
“As critical stakeholders, they visited us and gave us their input on the other critical areas that are not touched like the area of restructuring, devolution of power among others.All those are going to be looked into and considered for the betterment of our country,” he said.
Dogara also told journalists that his presentation to the governors centred on most of the bills being considered in the constitution amendment.
On the governor’s request for expansion of the scope of the constitution amendment, the Speaker said only the House of Representatives can take a decision on that kind of request.
He said: “Though l am the Speaker, l can tell you that l can only speak where majority of our members have agreed upon. So it is a bit early for me to conclude. But this is a democracy and in a democracy, the majority matters.
“We are aware of the ongoing agitations in the country. Some are calling for restructuring and some others call it true federalism. This is an issue on the manifestos of the APC. It is our feeling as a very responsive and responsible representatives of the people to ensure that this debate  is done.
“And I agree like l said before that the position of the President that most of the matters and issues should be canvassed at the levels of the National Assembly. This is because some of the structural imbalances that we are talking about that need what they call restructuring cannot be corrected just by stroke of the pen. Some of them are actually embedded in the provisions of the constitution.
“Even by pedestrians description of the function of government, the Executive cannot make laws, they cannot amend the constitution. They can only initiate the process in an Executive bill, but it ultimately revolves within the powers of the legislature.
“So, even the committee that is set up by the APC leadership on true federalism, by the time they conclude their work, most of the issues they come out with will require a kind of tinkering of the constitution. So, our feeling is that we should not just close the windows to the yearnings of majority of our people. We should listen again to all the stakeholders, listen more to Nigerians and at the end of the day, we will come up with an exercise that meets the expectations and yearnings of our people.”

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