The House of Representatives on Thursday called on the presidency to ensure that it forwards executive Bills on the amendment of the constitution to the National Assembly to allow a thorough work on the amendment process before the 2015 general election activities take centre stage.
Also, the Lower House Deputy Speaker, Emeka Ihedioha, who co-chairs the joint Committee on Constitution review, said the second quarter of 2013 is the target to conclude work on an amended constitution for the country.
The disclosures were made by the Deputy Speaker at the presidential retreat for civil society organizations and professional associations on the ongoing process of amending the 1999 constitution at the presidential villa.
According to Ihedioha, the Lower House will not wait indefinitely for the executive bills which may arise from the Justice Alpha Belgore presidential committee on constitution review.
The Deputy Speaker urged Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) to hasten the tidying up of the committee’s report and facilitate the transmission of the ensuing bills to the National Assembly in good time.
Ihedioha said an incremental rather than a wholesale approach has been adopted in amending the constitution. He said the Lower House is resolved to “secure the buy-in of the greater majority of Nigerians on any issue that would be brought up for possible amendment”.
He added, “As umpires in this process, it is our considered view that the House of Representatives at this stage should listen more to the Nigerian people rather than dictate to them”. So far, Ihedioha disclosed that over 124 memoranda have been received from the public bordering on various burning national issues.
Topping the list are proposals on security architecture, devolution of powers, structure of the federation, fiscal federalism, indigeneship/residency, justice sector reform, the legislature, and the fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy.