Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House of Representatives, has inaugurated the constitution Review Committee of the House today.
At the event, he said the only answer to Nigeria’s current challenges and development lies in a new constitution. Gbajabiamila explained that the House was determined to come up with a constitution that will address most of the current challenges facing the country.
The Committee is headed by Honourable Idris Wase, deputy speaker.
The Speaker tasked the committee not to only consider the expectations of different interest groups among Nigerians but listen to every voice in the course of the review.
“Mr Chairman, Honourable Members of this Committee, I do not envy the enormous amount of work you have in front of you. However, I know you have an abundant capacity to execute this important assignment and deliver on our joint commitments to the Nigerian people.
“I encourage you during this assignment to seek out and listen to as many voices as possible. Engage with as many interest groups as possible, reject misinformation, document the stories of our people, consider their expectations” he said
“Let the work you do demonstrate that this House of Representatives is fully capable of reflecting the most urgent concerns of the Nigerian people and acting in their best interests. I am confident that you will act judiciously and produce for the consideration of the House of Representatives, a quality report we can implement expeditiously,” the speaker further charged the committee
He explained that the constitution review process was coming at a critical time in the country’ s history of upheavals, insecurity and general discontent
“New challenges emerge daily from every corner. Some of these challenges are of our own making, and others, we could not have foreseen or been prepared for.
“Whichever may be the case, the Nigerian people look up to us as government to proffer solutions that work, to do the heavy lifting of writing a new constitution, one better suited to our current aspirations and reflecting our vision of the future.
“This 9th House of Representatives has since committed to the cause of reform. Our commitment must neither waver nor wane on the matter of thoughtful and fair overhaul of our nation’s constitution.
“The reality of our current circumstances and the now certain knowledge that only we can save ourselves imposes on us an obligation to act with greater determination and all the urgency this moment calls for.”
Noting that “the ongoing evolution of our nation’s democracy requires that we continually review and update the rules of our engagement,” Gbajabiamila said, “Every election season exposes significant gaps in the process that if left unaddressed, threaten our democracy.”
For this, the Speaker noted, the House would, through the constitution review process, ensure electoral reforms that would address the challenges in the electoral system.
“Electoral reforms are not a party-political issue, they are a matter of loyalty to an ideal that is greater than the party to which one belongs to, or the personal ambitions we may each hold.
“Electoral reforms are a matter of our nation’s future, and the process of setting out systems and protocols for managing how we choose our leaders and representatives begins with the Constitution. We must keep this in mind as we begin this process.”