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Constitution Review: We’ll rework our law until it addresses problems – Okechukwu

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The minority leader of the House of Representatives, Hon Toby Okechukwu on Tuesday outlined the need to keep amending the constitution until it addressed the country’s present problem. 

He expressed optimism that the success of the constitutional review will solve the security challenges and socioeconomic problem in Nigeria.

Okechukwu, who is also member representing Aninri/Awgu/Oji River Federal Constituency, stated this in Enugu on Tuesday during the opening ceremony of two-day Zonal Public Hearing of the House of Representatives Committee on Constitution Review for Enugu, Anambra and Ebonyi states.

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He said “while the nation has continued to reap the dividends of the successful amendments, which are majority in the areas of electoral reforms and institutions building, with the benefit of hindsight, there is no doubt that the nation and the stakeholders now see more reason why previously proposed amendments should have been supported to succeed. Had the proposed amendment succeeded, Nigeria would most likely not be in the security quagmire and socio-economic quandary she is in today.

“With the quest for a constitution review by Nigerians, the National Assembly has equally continued to respond to these demands, we will continue to do our best until we succeed.

“In our quest for a constitution that advances a more perfect union, good governance, and prosperity, it is not surprising that the people of Nigeria have continued to push for various amendment of the 1999 constitution

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“The National Assembly has equally continued to respond to these demands with varying degrees of success. Since 2010 when the jinx of amending the 1999 constitution was broken by the 6th National Assembly, the constitution has undergone several successful alterations while some proposed alterations could not scale through. 

“Today is still early for us to think Nigeria above our narrow personal and group interest to put the nation on the path of recovery and prosperity through constitutional re-engineering and that is why we are here today. Today the key factor to the success of this present exercise is that those who placed roadblocks to the various proposed amendments to the 1999 constitution would have seen by now that we meant well.

“We are in the south East for serious business of ensuring that views and aspirations of the people of south East region are captured and reflected in the ongoing exercise. We believe that the ongoing exercise. If well harnessed, presents the Nigerian goverment and people with ample opportunity to find answered to the myriads of pressing challenges facing our nation today. 

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“On our own part, we assure you that your view will count. Whatever views and memos you submit here today and Tomorow will form part of the working documents and views of the constitution review exercise by the 9th Assembly,” he said 

In his address, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu state reiterated  his administration’s support, “unequivocal and unwavering commitment to an egalitarian Nigeria where justice, fairness, equity and inclusiveness shall be functional directive principles of state policy”.

Ugwuanyi had, during the Zonal Public Hearing of the Senate Committee on Constitution Review, held in Enugu, last week, declared the state government’s support for amendments in the constitution of Nigeria that will enhance the nation’s unity and prosperity “in an environment where justice, fairness and equity shall prevail.”

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Declaring open the House of Representatives Committee’s Zonal Public Hearing in Enugu, on Tuesday, the governor further enjoined all relevant institutions, civil society organizations, stakeholders and the entire Enugu State citizenry “to stand up and be counted in this important national discussion.”  

While welcoming members of the House of Representatives Committee to Enugu State, Gov. Ugwuanyi extended his administration’s fraternal compliments to the leader of the team, Toby Okechukwu and “other illustrious representatives from Enugu state, wishing them a successful public hearing.”

In his remarks, the Speaker of Enugu State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Edward Ubosi, on behalf of his colleagues from Enugu, Anambra and Ebonyi states, reaffirmed that the exercise was timely in view of various challenges confronting the nation. 

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He reassured the people of the three states that they will convoke similar public hearing, when the amendment draft is sent to the State Houses of Assembly from the National Assembly, for them (people) to make their input “before we send it back to Abuja.” 

The speaker also stressed the need for job creation for the teeming youth which according to him is a panacea to security challenges that bedevilled the nation.

By Uzoh Ugwueze and Millicent Onaga

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