Constitution: Nigerians Endorse State Creation, LG Autonomy, Independent Candidacy
....Reject State Police, Tenure Elongation, Immunity, SEICs
...Tambuwal Assures on Transparent Process
ABUJA, April 18, (THEWILL) - A total of 205 out of the 360 federal constituencies in the country have voted for the creation of additional states in the country even as 292 voted against the establishment of State Police.
There is however no agreement on the particular number of States as different constituencies had proposed different number of states.
All these were contained in the collated results of the Peoples' Public Session presented to Nigerians by the House of Representatives ad hoc committee on the review of the 1999 Constitution in Abuja Thursday.
Highlights of the report presented by the committee show that 245 constituencies voted against amending section 135 and 180 (2) of the 1999 Constitution to create a single tenure of five, six and seven years for presidents and governors.
On independent candidacy, 292 constituencies voted in support, while 66 were against and two were undecided.
Other contentious issue contained in the report was the abolition of the State Independent Electoral Commissions (SIECs) which 261 constituencies voted for and 95 voted against.
Also, 291 constituencies voted against autonomy for local councils as well as a defined tenure for the councils while 66 voted in support of it.
On the issue of immunity for the President, his vice and state governors and their deputies, 225 voted for the amendment of section 308 for immunity to cover only civil proceedings while they are in office.
The report also shows that 311 constituencies voted against the proposal to allow Nigerians in Diaspora to vote during elections.
Curiously, majority of the constituencies voted against rotational presidency between the North and South as 275 voted against with 80 in favour and 22 undecided on the issue. The report indicates that 224 against 135 constituencies supported merit instead of zoning.
However, the people voted in favour of creating constitutional roles for tradititional rulers as 202 voted in favour of it while 155 voted against it.
Other issues voted for include the separation of the office of the Accountant General of the Federation by the creation of the office of the Accountant General of the states; separation of the office of the Attorney General of the Federation from the position of Minister of Justice of the federation.
Similarly, 257 constituencies voted in favour of amending the Constitution to enable Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission report directly to the National Assembly in order to avoid undue delays in preparation of the revenue allocation formula.
The various constituencies also rejected the inclusion of the six geopolitical zones in the Constitution for administrative purposes as 212 voted against while 134 voted in favour of it.
Majority of the constituencies also voted for the retention of the bi-cameral legislature but rejected the introduction of a parliamentary system of government.
Meanwhile, Speaker of the House, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, has assured that the views of all Nigerians would not be tampered with in the ongoing constitution review.
Tambuwal gave the assurance while receiving the collated results.
"To all Nigerians, let me seize this opportunity to assure, on behalf of the House of Representatives that all views and opinions offered at these public sessions as well as those forwarded through written memoranda, which constitute the substance of this report, will be carefully and fairly considered.
"Our resolve to meet the yearnings of Nigerians for a more acceptable and functional Constitution remains firm and I assure once again that you can count on us," he said.
According to him, it would be counter-productive to underrate the views of Nigerians as they have become more educated on national issues.
Earlier, the deputy speaker and chairman of the House constitution review committee, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, said the views of all Nigerians on various issues outlined in the ongoing review of the constitution have been fully reflected in the report.
Ihedioha noted that the reports from the public sessions have been painstakingly collated, verified and its integrity can be fully assured.
"This process may not be perfect, but I dare say, that it is the first time in the history of this country that Nigerians at the grassroots have been made part of the Constitution review process.
"We promised Nigerians that we shall be transparent and accountable, Indeed we made a commitment to do things differently in our legislative agenda unveiled at the beginning of the 7th House of Representatives,"he said.
The deputy speaker urged Nigerians to be vigilant and follow through the rest of the Constitution amendment to ensure that their views and positions remain respected