The Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has described the legislative act that killed the devolution of powers bill as a mistake that would be corrected when the house resumes from recess in September.
The house leader in a press statement explained that there are mechanisms which allow for backtracking on a decision when appropriate or when ‘new unknown facts emerge.’
“For me, it was a mistake or oversight to have lumped all items for devolution under one umbrella or subhead titled devolution of powers.
“There were about 9 items including Railways, Pensions, Arbitration, Stamp Duties, Parks and others under the subhead and members should have voted on each rather than vote in one fell swoop,” he said.
The bill which sought to alter the Second Schedule, Part I & II to move certain items to the Concurrent Legislative List to give more legislative powers to states suffered a major setback at the both chambers of the house as it didn’t get 2/3 of the votes in both chambers.
Many Nigerians have condemned the killing of the bill which was seen as an easy way to achieve the prevailing clamour for the restructuring of the country.
Notable is the former Vice President and All Progressives Congress, APC, chieftain, Atiku Abubakar, who accused members of the party in the Senate of betrayal following the decision.
He described the decision of his party’s senators as a lost opportunity to honour one of the party’s election promises to bring about change by shifting power closer to the people in the remotest regions of our country.
“This blockage of the Bill by an APC-led Senate majority is a betrayal of our Party’s pre-election promises.
“It was an important vote and I’m shocked by some so-called progressives’ visceral and cynical opposition to restructuring,” he said.
The Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, had also at a press conference addressed by its National Leader and Convener, Chief Edwin Clerk, condemned the killing of the bill, saying it was ‘hostile to the interest of the Niger Delta.’