Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, yesterday said the recent view against the nation’s restructuring expressed by the President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, will not influence the report of the Senate Constitution Review Committee.
He, however, disclosed that a new version of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will be ready for the President’s assent by July, this year.
Omo-Agege, who is the Chairman of the 58-man Senate Ad-hoc committee on Constitution Review, also said similar view against restructuring espoused by Senator Abdullahi Adamu, will not in anyway affect the report of the Ad – hoc committee on Constitution Review.
The committee Chairman who made this known while briefing journalists on Zonal Public Hearings slated for Wednesday (tomorrow) and Thursday this week across the six geo – political zones and National Public Hearing slated for next week in Abuja, emphasised that the views of the two Senators were personal and not that of the Senate.
When asked whether such views against restructuring would not influence the Committee to come up with cosmetic constitution review report as against very substantial ones expected from them by Nigerians, Omo – Agege stressed that the aggregate of opinions gathered from Nigerians at the hearings and from memoranda already received, will shape the report of the committee.
He said: “One thing I want everybody to know is that whatever report the committee comes up with on various alterations being sought for in the 1999 Constitution (as amended), each of the 109 Senators has a vote to see to the passage of any recommendations made. The President of the Senate like every other Senator, has only one vote. “So, it is wrong for anybody to think or say whatever views any Senator has expressed will influence the report of the committee.
“Besides, from the clip of Lawan’s interview in the State House that I listened to, I can assure you that he is not against restructuring which is just one aspect of this constitution review exercise.
“I can assure you that the Senate President has not taken any position; he is entitled to his views like any of us; he is in support of what I am doing and you can take this to the bank that we will have an exercise that the Nigerian people will be glad of”.
He also assured Nigerians that the exercise will not end in a jamboree, saying it will be incremental.
“By the time we succeed in this exercise, God willing, it will be the 5th alteration and will largely meet the yearnings of Nigerians as far as constitution review is concerned”.
Asked if President Muhamnadu Buhari will sign the Constitution review bill or not after transmitting it to him, he gave an assurance that the President will sign.
His words: “It depends on the bills. The President, as the head of the Executive has constitutional power to decide what to support or not, while we also exercise our Section 4 rights to put together the bills for him. He could decide to sign or decline assent. But he has given assent in the past. It is my hope and expectation that most of these bills will get presidential approval”.
Omo-Agege emphasized that paucity of funds is affecting the workings of the committee at both Chambers but admitted that the committee has not received any appropriation from the 2021 budget.