Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State has declared his administration’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”.
Gov. Ugwuanyi made the declaration while declaring open the zonal public hearing of the Senate Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, holding in Enugu, for Enugu, Anambra and Ebonyi states.
The governor who harped on the importance of unity and prosperity in an atmosphere of justice, fairness and equity, therefore enjoined all relevant Institutions, Civil Society Organizations, Stakeholders and entire Enugu State citizenry to avail themselves the opportunity of the zonal public hearing to participate in the national conversation.
While welcoming and extending his greetings to the Senators present at the event, Gov. Ugwuanyi wished them “a very successful zonal public hearing on the proposed alteration of some of the provisions of 1999 Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.”
He further noted: “I particularly acknowledge the leader of the team and Senator representing Enugu West Senatorial District in the 9th Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Distinguished Senator Prof. Ike Ekweremadu, CFR. I also recognize in a special way, Distinguished Senator Chuka Utazi who represents me and the people of Enugu North Senatorial District in the Red Chamber of the National Assembly.
“I extend my reverential greetings to other Distinguished Senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria who are here on this important national assignment, to wit: His Excellency, Senator Dr. Sam Ominyi Egwu representing Ebonyi North Senatorial District, Iyom, Senator Dr. (Mrs.) Uche Lilian Ekwunife, representing Anambra Central Senatorial District and Senator Joseph Obinna Ogba, representing Ebonyi Central Senatorial District.”
Earlier in his welcome address, the Deputy Senator of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege disclosed the Senate decided to adopt a bottom-up approach by first listening to Nigerians at the geo-political level before the National Public Hearing because of “the critical importance the Constitution Review Committee places on the subnational levels of governance in Nigeria.”
Also in the address, presented on his behalf by Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Senator Ome-Agege revealed that topical issues like Judicial and Electoral Reforms, Local Government Autonomy and devolution of powers are prominent in the agenda to be addressed in the constitutional amendments.
The Deputy President of the Senate, who is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Constitutional Review, stressed that “If we get those items through constitutional processes of alteration successfully then our Constitutional Democracy will be set on the right pedestal, and ultimately, Nigeria will take its pride of place among the enviable constitutional democracies in the world”.
The lawmaker pointed out that “this ongoing review provides a platform for the good people of Nigeria to express their opinions on the fundamental law that governs our lives through proposals that will lead to the highest good for the greatest number of our people”.
Stressing that the focus of the Committee is how to manage the review exercise in a fair, inclusive, credible and transparent manner in view of “diverse and differing views on the different themes of the exercise”, Senator Omo-Agege noted that they have already received a lot of memoranda on a broad range of issues and proposals.
“Fellow Nigerians, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I wish to assure you most sincerely, that the memoranda you have already submitted and those that may come forward arising from this hearing and all the deliberations and engagements that will come forth from them will be the lodestar of our work as a Committee”, he said.
Speaking on behalf of his colleagues from Enugu, Anambra and Ebonyi states, the Speaker of the Enugu State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Edward Ubosi assured the people of South East geo-political zone that the state legislature will first seek their opinions before adopting the outcome of the constitutional review by the National Assembly.
The Speaker who maintained that constitution alteration is a continuous exercise, commended the 9th National Assembly for taking up the task again, and thanked Gov. Ugwuanyi for providing the enabling atmosphere for the event.
Hon. Ubosi urged the Senate Committee to fast-track the process so that the aim of the exercise will be achieved before the end of the present administration.
In his vote of thanks, Senator Ekweremadu, also applauded Gov. Ugwuanyi, who he described as “Insurance Guru”, for his immense contributions towards the hosting of the zonal public hearing in Enugu.
“I want to thank you (Ugwuanyi) especially for making this possible and in putting this arrangement together, in putting South East together. In fact as far as the other Senators are concerned, we are sure that this is one of the best across the nation”, he declared.
The Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Nkem Okeke, the Speaker of Ebonyi State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Francis Nwifuru, other Principal Officers and Members of the three State Houses of Assembly were among the dignitaries at the event.