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July 29, 2017

Devolution of power: N/Assembly failed to make history – Nwuke

Devolution of power: N/Assembly failed to make history – Nwuke

*says it was huge mistake not passing bill
By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA-For voting against devolution of political powers from the center in the just concluded constitutional amendment, a former member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Ogbonna Nwuke has lashed out at the federal lawmakers, saying they made a huge mistake.

It will be recalled that devolution of power was one of the amended items in the 1999 constitution earmarked for voting in the two chambers of the National Assembly; Senate and the House.

But the senate in its voting exercise  on Wednesday jettisoned the Bill.

Also, members of the House followed suit in a similar exercise conducted on Thursday.

Reacting to the development in Abuja, Hon. Nwuke who was a member of the immediate past 7th Assembly where he represented Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency of Rivers State said that the lawmakers had failed to make history.

He said that the exercise was one timely opportunity the National Assembly needed to start the much yearned restructuring of Nigeria to give States more power.

“It is strange, very strange that members of the 8th Legislature apparently do not appear to appreciate the enormity of the growing frustration among Nigerians who very much want to renegotiate what they see as the unfavourable relationships that have more or less hampered the march to nationhood.

“As leaders, we have been inundated by calls for the restructuring of the country. Here we were with a unique opportunity to prove to doubting Thomases who do believe in the Nigerian project that we could truly as a nation commence the process with a carefully crafted move designed to make the devolution of power part of the amendments.

“Many Nigerians agree that shedding the weight of an overbearing Federal Government is necessary, at least to put development in the States and possibly the local government on the fast track. 

“There is no doubt that in restructuring the responsibility of the states for instance, the spate of agitation across the country would have been slowed down. 

“For reasons that are best known to lawmakers, they shut down a little window that could have given renewed vigour to those who pray daily for stimulating changes which would move the nation forward.
 
“For the National Assembly, a vote in favour of the devolution of powers could have shown clearly that the legislative institution has the capability to deal gradually with issues that Nigerians want their leaders to address, some of which may not be sustainable at this time.

“I think the vote against the devolution of power was a huge mistake, an exhibition of some narrow parochial calculation that can only create more problems.

“As a country we failed to make history but I think that the National Assembly lost the chance to be part of that history”, he said.