Ekweremadu eases tension on bill on devolution of power, others

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Our view is that some of these things should be moved from the Exclusive List to the Concurrent List so that while the Federal Government is making efforts, the states too will be making efforts individually, in clusters or partnership with one another

 

AMIDST criticisms that have trailed last week’s amendments of the constitution in the National Assembly, the Deputy Senate President, Mr. Ike Ekweremadu, has said that rejected proposed amendments may be adopted in a review of the exercise by the lawmakers.

Ekweremadu stated in a statement by his media aide Mr. Uche Anichukwu that the rejection of the proposals was not “the end of the road’’ since the constitution amendment was ongoing.

Ekweremadu reportedly spoke at a consultative meeting on South-East Infrastructure Development with a delegation of Partnership to Engage, Reform, and Learn (PERL) and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID).

The DSP, who chairs the National Assembly Joint Committee on the Review of the Constitution, explained that consultation as well as understanding of the issues involved in the constitution amendment was needed.

He said: “We commend our colleagues for ensuring that about 95 per cent of the amendments we proposed scaled through.

“We are also conscious of the fact that Nigerians are worried about some recommendations that did not pass.

“Let me use this opportunity to reassure Nigerians that we are sensitive to their feelings and that we are likely to re-visit some of the issues they are concerned about when we return from our vacation.”

He explained that some issues did not scale through because fuller understanding and more consultations and consensus building were needed.

While he reiterated that devolution of more powers to the federating units would quicken infrastructural development in the country, he noted, “no doubt, your studies on South-East were right because the region is indeed highly challenged.

“This is especially in the areas of transport infrastructure such as roads, railway and seaport. We are also challenged in the area of power.

”That is why we in the Committee on Constitution Review believe we mean well when we talk about things like devolution of power.

“Our view is that some of these things should be moved from the Exclusive List to the Concurrent List so that while the Federal Government is making efforts, the states too will be making efforts individually, in clusters or partnership with one another.

“That was why we took things like power to the Concurrent List so that states can generate, transmit and distribute power.

“The same goes for railway, which is still the exclusive preserve of the Federal Government.

“That way, Nigeria can effectively speed up socio-economic development in all parts of the country.

“We believe that with more engagements, the issues will be better appreciated and we are positive about more favourable dispositions when we revisit them.

”As leaders, we all have our eyes on the future and are committed to building a better Nigeria for posterity.”

The Leader of PERL, Dr. Adiya Ode, commended the National Assembly for voting in favour of autonomy for local governments and states’ Houses of Assembly and called for greater support for gender mainstreaming and other amendments that would speed up national development.

She said that PERL and DFID were currently working to address infrastructural deficits that impeded the business environment in the South-East.

She sought the support of Ekweremadu by convening a meeting of South East political leaders to discuss issues that would aid the development of the zone and the nation.

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