THE Senate has condemned the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) for attempting to interfere in their constitutional duties, saying that they were prepared to engage them through proper legislative channel rather than news media.
The Senators encouraged the NEF to forward to the constitutional review committee it’s memorandum in the areas proposed for review.
The NEF had haken a position that instead of a constitutional review, the Senate should direct its energy towards convincing the President to bring an end to the insurgency in the North East.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Ajibola Basiru said that as elders, they were however entitled to their views.
The Senator said, “Even though they are entitled to their views, the question to ask is; does it mean that if former legislatures cum executive (administrations) have possibly or allegedly failed in this regard, then it can never be achieved.
“Their statement even implied an agreement by them that there is need for fundamental restructuring exercise which is the purpose of the present endeavor of the 9th National Assembly. Their views can be encapsulated in a memorandum to the Constitution Review Committee. The thematic areas advertised for constitutional reforms cut across some of the concerned they raised and therefore we shall be glad to engage them through proper legislative channel rather than news media.”
Former Senate Minority Leader, Senator Biodun Olujimi has hailed the Senate on its determinatio to review the constitution.
When asked to comment on the views of the NEF that the review will be a jamboree like the last time, Senator Olujimi said, “No. We made some impact the last time. That was where we got autonomy for the States Assembly and the judiciary. If we make small strides, you will find out that in no time these alterations will be almost done. And except we keep striving to do them, they will just linger and nothing will be done.
“I do not agree with them on that score. I believe that even the little, if we can a achieve gender equality alteration and 35 percent affirmative action in the alteration this time around, would we say we have not achieved anything? We would have achieved a lot because women, children and youths make up almost 60 per cent of our population and if you work for those people then you have worked for Nigeria.
“So, I believe we should keep striving to do these small things with the hope that we will be allowed to do them as legislators.”