*… as NBA agrees on new Nigerian constitution
By Egufe Yafugborhi, PORT HARCOURT
SOKOTO State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal on Wednesday challenged legal luminaries, Femi Falana and Mike Ozekhome, both Senior Advocates of Nigeria, SAN, to vie for elective political leadership in order exercise more gainful influence at realising the dream of a constitutional for the country.
Tambuwal was speaking among panelists, including both SANs, Niger Delta rights defender, Ann-Kio Briggs on heated crossfire over “We The People”, A Debate On Constitutional Amendment at day 3 of ongoing Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Though Ozekhome strongly asserted with constitutional inferences on the possibility to write an entire new constitution with or without the National Assembly, NASS, consent, the dominant opinion among other panelist and contributions from the floor was that a peaceful, workable constitutional renewal can’t be achieved without the legislature keying a Referendum Commission or a process of referendum to lead the desired constitutional change.
Tambuwal harped on the reluctance or lack of political will on NASS and government of the day to concede to the new constitution the “We The People” so need.
He challenged members of the Bar to show more interest in occupying the political leadership space to be able to make the difference on the inside.
The formers House of Representatives Speaker said, “The fasted way (to change the constitution) is for the President to send an executive bill to the National Assembly, seeking establishment of either a Referendum Commission or that the process for or a referendum to be introduced into the constitution.
“People like Mike Ozekhome; you should vie for the House of Reps or be governor of your state.
“You can’t be shooting from outside. Go into the down field and challenge the status quo.
“You have the right, you have the privilege, you have the capacity, well known, respected.
“We should take the courage to go into politics, no matter how difficult it is.
“So collectively we can have special, committed people on the inside so that we work together to reform the system.
“As long as you remain outside it becomes difficult to achieve that reform we are looking for.
“The same goes for our sister Ann-Kio Briggs, and Femi Falana; they should consider running for the Senate.
“After all it is not rocket science. Then you meet the career politicians like me, on the field, bumper to bumper, and slug it out and see how best we can collectively work together to reform the system.”
On while as Speaker, Tambuwal failed to move for constitutional change, the Sokoto Governor admitted, “Truly, no such bill was introduced in my time.
“In the course of the 360 public hearings we carried out, we had no idea from any participant about a referendum introduced by way of bills presented to me.
“As at that time, that thought didn’t come to us as a parliament. There is nothing wrong as a need to move forward, having realised it as much needed, thinking out of the box.
“Nothing stops us from doing it now, and summoning the political will to do so.”
Ozekhome responded, “We cannot all be politicians. We have to leave some people who will police the police and that is what we call the civil society.
“Rosa Parks who started the civil rights movement at Montgomery, Alabama, USA, was not a politician.
“Martin Luther King Jnr, who took it to an higher altitude, was not playing politics.
“Fela Anikulakpo Kuti, who agitated for good governance was not in politics. It is not only in politics we can make our contributions.
“Some of us have to be there to watch over these people so that they don’t commit malfeasance or kill our hard-earned democracy.”