Revert To 1963 Constitution, PDP South South Caucus Urges FG


ABUJA, May 14, (THEWILL) – The South-South Caucus of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), weekend, called on the Federal Government to revert to the 1963 Republic Constitution as it also called for a full fiscal federalism in the country.

Specifically, the zone asked for further devolution of functions and transfer of fiscal powers from the centre to the federating units "as it was in the 1963 Republic Constitution."

The caucus maintained that such would make the states more effective and transform then into engines of growth and development.

Besides, the Caucus also called for an urgent review Of the Federal Revenue Allocation Formula to enable the federating units in the country drive development and achieve horizontal and vertical equity.

The Caucus which made the call Sunday night at the end of a closed-door meeting at the Government House, Asaba, however commended the commitment of President Goodluck Jonathan Administration to the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and urged all stakeholders especially the National Assembly to support the Bill.

“When passed into law, it would launch Nigeria into the next level of sustainable development of our hydrocarbon resources in a manner that takes into account the needs of the present generation of Nigerians without mortgaging our future,” the Caucus said.

The Chairman of the South-South Governors' Forum and Cross River State, Senator Liyel Imoke, who read the 12-point communiqué, issued at the end of the meeting, to the media, said the Caucus called on the Federal and State Governments to work with the National and state Assemblies to strengthen the Local Government system as prescribed in the 1999 Constitution without compromising the place of the Local Government councils in the federation as being under the State Government.

The caucus also cautioned against unbridled constitutional amendment exercises capable of undermining the unity and stability of the country and its socio-economic and political development.

”Since Nigeria’s Federal Constitution provides a solid framework for the sustenance of unity and diversity in an ethnically and religiously plural society, Caucus holds the view that whilst observable lapses in the 1999 Constitution [as amended] need to be addressed, constitution amendment should not become so routine an exercise as to impair the stability for our political and socio-economic development,” it added.

While acknowledging the internal wrangling within the PDP family as an inevitable consequence of democracy, the caucus urged all party faithful, especially the leadership of the party at all levels, to rally round President Goodluck Jonathan as National Leader of the party and work assiduously to put their house in order, stressing that the stability, progress and development of Nigeria was largely dependent on the continuing stability, cohesion and unity of the party.

The Caucus also condemned the spate of terrorist activities, their sponsors and collaborators in parts of the country and commiserated with the president, governments, victims and their families and indeed peace loving Nigerians.

The caucus however commended President Goodluck Jonathan for the initiative and pursuit of the amnesty policy for Boko Haram and called for the “fundamental views and interests of the victims” to be taken into account along with the rule of law in resolving it and other violence in any part of the country.

The caucus advised that the amnesty should not be allowed to become an instrument of blackmail, coercion or dictatorship for political and/or other ends.

The Caucus reiterated its support for President Goodluck Jonathan’s Administration and urged it to “forge ahead with the task of transforming Nigeria and provide good governance, growth and development to all and sundry.”

It stated that “Nigerians who gave him an overwhelming mandate are solidly behind him and his programmes.”

Apart from Imoke, other governors present were the host, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom, Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa, the deputy governor of Rivers state, Tlele Ikuru and the deputy governor of Delta State, Prof Amos Utuama (SAN).

The meeting was also attended by the Chairman, PDP Board of Trustees , Chief Tony Anenih, Elder Statesman, Chief Edwin Clark, various State Governors in the zone, members of the National and state Assemblies including the Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma Egba, House Of Representative Minority leader, Chief Leo Ogor and a cross section of state party chairmen and stakeholders.