The All Grand Alliance Party (AGAP) has rejected the Senate 1999 constitution review, saying the adoption of 2014 National Conference (Confab) recommendations, is the only way out.
This is coming as the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Constitution Review, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, announced extension of submission of memoranda to the committee by the general public till next week Friday.
The Omo-Agege committee had also advised agitators for additional state creation to be ready to lobby both federal and state legislators as well as other geo-political zones in the country.
But National Chairman Of All Grand Alliance Party (AGAP) Engr. Okey Chikwendu, in a statement on Thursday, urged President Muhammadu Buhari (APC) to cancel the senate constitution review process and adopt the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference Report.
He said that ignoring the Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi’s led Constitutional Review Report amounts to shortsightedness as it will be unhelpful to the cause of a better Nigeria.
The party said that its stance was taken after an extra ordinary meeting held online with 24 of its State chairmen in attendance.
“Please save Nigerians from spending any of it’s resources on another constitutional Review, at this time that many Nigerians are going through economic, health and social challenges. We in AGAP want Mr President as a matter of urgency to submit the 2014 confab report to the Senate for adoption, this is Our stand in AGAP”.
The Senate, according to the party, “should also rise up to its responsibility by re-emphasizing this request to Mr.President. It is regrettable, to say the least, I am certain Hon. Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi and all the respectable men and women who committed all, to develop the 2014 Conference Chairman, would lose hope and faith in our nation, learning of this development.
“We all know the efforts, resources and commitment deployed by government, institutions and distinguished leaders amongst us, to deliver and adopt the resolutions of the confab.
“Apart from some unscrupulous elements who canvassed uncharitable propaganda by claiming that the conference was convened by former President Goodluck Jonathan to achieve a hidden agenda, the outcome of the resourceful exercise the selected crop of serious minded and respectable members of our society was impressive.
“I have listened to our former President Jonathan inaugural speech to that Conference and dwelt extensively on the justification for the conference”.
He said it was ‘being convened to engage in intense introspection about the political and socio-economic challenges confronting our nation and to chart the best and most acceptable way for the resolution of such challenges in the collective interest of all the constituent parts of our fatherland.’
He noted that these challenges ‘range from form of government, structures of government, devolution of powers, revenue sharing, resource control, state and local government creation, boundary adjustment, state police and fiscal federalism, to local government elections, indigene-ship, gender equality and children’s rights, amongst others.’
“We make bold to say that the then president ‘Goodluck Jonathan has no Personal Agenda in convening [that conference].’ That this may be or may not be true is a matter of opinion and ‘motive hunters ‘that may not mean well for our country they may choose to cling to their position.
“But the point must be taken that the conference chairman and former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi said at the occasion of the submission of the conference report: ‘Let me state here categorically and with the fear of Almighty Allah in my heart that not once did [President Jonathan] interfere or dictate to us in the course of this Conference.’ And if you know Hon. Kutigi, you will know that he is one of the most respected citizens of Northern Nigeria extraction.
“The 2014 National Conference, of course, took off on a widespread note of suspicion as to the motive of the then government and scepticism about the purpose that another Conference could ever serve after several others that had been held at great monetary and other costs to the nation.
“The then opposition APC as a party refused to participate on the argument that it was ill- timed and opportunistic. But it was sensible that, it did not object to its members doing so on personal recognition.
“For four and a half months of hard thinking, hard bargaining, lengthy, and complex, often-times heated discussions, and immense paperwork by over 490 men and women, mostly of no mean stature, the Conference produced over 9,000 pages of 22 reports and annexure.
“They made over 500 recommendations for the improvement of the political, economic and social structures and the overall regeneration of the country.
Also, the Lagos State Chairman for AGAP, Prince Samson Adewale in his own words, said that no one can wish away 2014 confab reports as it is the voice of the people.
He said that rather than conducting another review, the Senate should, for at least two reasons, not shy away from borrowing and implementing ideas from it.
“The act of governance is a continuum and it stands to reason that a well-meaning government should continue from where its predecessor stopped those policies and programmes that further good governance.
“I is a constitutional declaration that the primary purpose of
government is the security and welfare of the people. Therefore, any and every government, irrespective of party coloration, is
constitutionally bound to implement ideas and sustain measures that benefit the country and its citizens.
In the same vein, the party’s national chairman, Okey reiterated that the National Confab Report recommends solutions to many nagging issues, including revenue sharing, two-tier police system, making Chapter II of the extant constitution justiciable, and a ban on state funding of pilgrimage and religious matters. A good idea is simply that, regardless of its origin! For the sake of Nigeria and its people, he said.
He also said because of the public resources expended, that APC government owe it to Nigerians to implement that report. Indeed, some of the recommendations like devolution of powers, decentralising the police are in line with promises in the APC manifesto. Some of the APC-controlled states have, as recommended by the conference, even stopped funding pilgrimages.
“The time has come for leaders to operate and adopt a pan-Nigeria approach on all National issues. There is absolutely good reason to rebuild the north-eastern part of Nigeria devastated by the Boko Haram insurgency and various other criminal groups in other regions.
‘Nigeria Project’ remains an unfinished business, that needs norturing and continuous re-engineering for us to emerge as a developed society. That is why we should ensure the implementation of the great ideas churned out in the 2014 Conference report”.