The Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) yesterday rejected the review of the 1999 Constitution by the National Assembly, saying Nigeria needed a brand-new constitution and not amendment of the existing document, which they said represents the interest of one section of the country.
PFN, a voluntary fellowship of Pentecostal churches and organisations, canvassed the enactment of a new legal document that would be in agreement with the socio-political realities of the country and capable of enhancing national economic development on all fronts. These demands were contained in a statement jointly signed by PFN’s National President, Bishop Wale Oke; National Secretary, Dr. Cosmas Ilechukwu and National Legal Adviser, Funmi Quadri (SAN).
In the statement titled Nigeria’s Constitutional Review: PFN’s Stand, the fellowship lamented that the existing 1999 Constitution “is fraught with irregularities that are not helpful for the growth of the federation.” The statement said the PFN “is aware of the on-going constitutional review process being undertaken by the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the public hearing sessions scheduled by the Senate for May 26 and 27 across the six (6) geo-political zones of the country.”
Consequently, the fellowship said the current constitution, which serves as the conveyor belt for the administration of the country, was anti-people and faulty. “We declare that the present constitution is not a people’s constitution and does not, in any way, reflect the aspirations and yearnings of the PFN and the people of Nigeria at large. The PFN is firmly of the view that the review process by amending a segment of the constitution, might just be an exercise in futility that cannot meet the expectation of the people”, the statement further maintained.
To this end, the PFN said it was joining forces with other groups in the country in repudiating the 1999 Constitution, calling for the enactment of a new one that would be acceptable and more pliable to the yearnings of Nigerians.
It said: “We stand with the different groups and people across the length and breadth of Nigeria in rejecting the 1999 Constitution and maintain that it cannot deliver a framework for good governance.
“We do not see the ongoing process of proposed alteration to the provision of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999” achieving the objectives of restructuring Nigeria, as desired and canvassed by millions of Nigerians and the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN),” it added. The fellowship demanded a new constitution, which it said would guarantee a truly federalist structure for the good and prosperity of all Nigerians.
Meanwhile, the President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan announced the membership of a 56-man Steering and Constitution Review Committee in February 2920. The announcement was made moments after the start of Thursday’s plenary. The committee has all principal officers as members; one Senator from each State of the Federation, and two Senators selected to represent each geo-political zone in the country.
Principal officers on the membership of the Constitution Review Committee include: The Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege (Chairman); Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi; Deputy Leader, Ajayi Boroffice; Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe; Deputy Whip, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi; Deputy Minority Leader, Emmanuel Bwacha; Minority Whip, Philip Aduda; and Deputy Minority Whip, Sahabi Alhaji Ya’u.
Lawmakers selected to represent each State include: Theordore Orji, Abia; Aishat Ahmed, Adamawa; Bassey Akpan, Akwa-Ibom; Stella Oduah, Anambra; Haliru Jika Dauda, Bauchi; Biobarukuma Deji-Eremenyo, Bayelsa; Gabriel Suswam, Benue; Abubakar Kyari, Borno; Gershom Bassey, Cross River; James Manager, Delta; Samuel Egwu, Ebonyi; Matthew Urhoghide, Edo; Opeyemi Bamidele, Ekiti; Ike Ekweremadu, Enugu; and Mohammed Danjuma Goje, Gombe.
Others are: Rochas Okorocha, Imo; Sabo Mohammed, Jigawa; Uba Sani, Kaduna; Kabiru Gaya, Kano; Baba Ahmed Kaita, Katsina; Mohammed Adamu Aliero, Kebbi; Smart Adeyemi, Kogi; Suleiman Sadiq Umar, Kwara; Oluremi Tinubu, Lagos; Abdullahi Adamu, Nasarawa; Mohammed Sani Musa, Niger; Ibikunle Amosun, Ogun; Nicholas Olubukola, Ondo; Surajudeen Ajibola, Osun; Teslim Folarin, Oyo; Hezekiah Ayuba, Plateau; George Thompson Sekibo, Rivers; Aliyu Wamakko, Sokoto; Yusuf A. Yusuf, Taraba; Ibrahim Geidam, Yobe; and Mohammed Hassan, Zamfara.
Representatives of Geo-political zones are: Bala Ibn Na’Allah and Ibrahim Shekarau, North-West; Kashim Shettima and Lawal Yahaya, North-East; Tanko Al-Makura and Yakubu Oseni, North-Central; Abdulfatai Buhari and Biodun Olujimi, South-West; Lilian Uche Ekwunife and Chukwuka Utazi, South-East; Rose Oko and Akon Eyakenyi, South-South.
The Senate President, in his remarks, said, “I want to use this opportunity to advise the committee that you represent the Senate and the entire National Assembly, even though the House will also constitute its own Constitution Review Committee. “Of course, Distinguished Senators who are not members can still participate by giving any submission, and any advice they feel strongly about for this committee to succeed.”