Senate Committee rejects calls for Sovereign National Conference

The Senate Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution has said that the calls for a Sovereign National Conference is untenable because there can only be one sovereignty in a nation.

This is contained in a summary of issues at the end of the committee’s retreat in Asaba as read by the Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba on Saturday.
The committee said it could not come up with a communiqué until it had concluded with the review exercise, adding that the summary contained the burning issues that the public wanted to be addressed in the constitution.
The committee said it would conduct intensive and extensive public hearing in the different zones of the country.
It said that the senate recognized the right of Nigerians to hold opinions and to freely associate and would encourage the people to discuss the future of the country.
It called on all proponents of a conference by whatever name, to feel free to submit their views to the committee.
“The committee reiterates the fact that there can be no other sovereignty that can be derived from the constitution and that sovereignty is derived from the 1999 constitution; no nation can have two sovereignties at the same time.
“The insistence in certain quarters for a sovereign national conference is untenable as there can only be one sovereignty in a nation.’’
The committee said that the key issues raised during the retreat were the demand for one term of five years for the president, vice president, governor and deputy governor.
It noted the need to tackle the issues of devolution of power in order to have true federalism, indigeneship and section 42 of the constitution as well as financial autonomy and the necessity for the creation of state police.
Also suggested for review were judicial reforms, the immunity clause and the creation of one state for the South East zone for equity.
To advance the constitutional review process, the committee said it would engage stakeholders, governors, State Houses of assembly, civil society, the Nigeria Bar Association and the media.
It said that such engagement would generate sufficient national conversation around the identified issues and other issues of interest to Nigeria and build a national consensus.


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