*** Urges them to Send their Memorandum
By Henry Umoru
THE Senate has taken a swipe at the Northern Elders Forum, NEF, saying that as lawmakers, they were prepared to engage them through proper legislative channel rather than news media.
The Senators said that members of the Northern Elders Forum should themselves abreast with the thematic areas as advertised for constitutional reforms cut across some of the concerned they raised.
The Elders were however challenged to forward to the Constitution Review Committee its memorandum for the Committee to work on rather than fault move to look at the 1999 Constitution ( as Amended).
Speaking with Journalists Monday on the position of NEF that the Senate should direct its energy and mandate towards convincing President Muhammadu Buhari to bring an end to the insurgency in the North East instead of the Constitution Review process, Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Ajibola Basiru, All Progressives Congress, APC, Osun Central said that as elders, they were however entitled to their views.
Senator Basiru said, “Even though they are entitled to their views, the question to ask is; does it mean that if former legislatures cum executive (administrations) have possibly or allegedly failed in this regard, then it can never be achieved.
“Their statement even implied an agreement by them that there is need for fundamental restructuring exercise which is the purpose of the present endeavor of the 9th National Assembly. Their views can be encapsulated in a memorandum to the Constitution Review Committee. The thematic areas advertised for constitutional reforms cut across some of the concerned they raised and therefore we shall be glad to engage them through proper legislative channel rather than news media.”
Meanwhile, former Senate Minority Leader, Senator Biodun Olujimi, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Ekiti South has hailed the Senate on its efforts so far on the review of the 1999 Constitution.
When asked whether NEF was right by saying the ongoing constitution review efforts will end up as a jamboree because what happened in past had nothing to write home about, Senator Olujimi said, “No. We made some impact the last time. That was where we got autonomy for the States Assembly and the judiciary. If we make small strides, you will find out that in no time these alterations will be almost done. And except we keep striving to do them, they will just linger and nothing will be done.
“I do not agree with them on that score. I believe that even the little, if we can a achieve gender equality alteration and 35 percent affirmative action in the alteration this time around, would we say we have not achieved anything? We would have achieved a lot because women, children and youths make up almost 60 per cent of our population and if you work for those people then you have worked for Nigeria.
“So, I believe we should keep striving to do these small things with the hope that we will be allowed to do them as legislators.”