by crossriverwatch admin
Members of the federal house of representatives from cross river state are now set to join their colleagues across the country to hold town hall meetings in their constituencies on the proposed constitution review.
Crossriverwatch gathered that the one day meetings are billed to begin simultaneously tomorrow morning across the eight federal constituencies in Cross River State.
Some of the federal legislators who responded to crossriverwatch enquiries said that the long anticipated meetings will eventually hold tomorrow. They enjoined Crossriverians of all shades to come out to those meetings and present their opinions.
According Hon. Nkoyo Toyo (PDP, Calabar Municipality/Odukpani), who is also a member of the House of Representatives Committee on Constitution Reform, she said: “following the directives of the leadership of the House of Representatives Committee on Constitutional Review, I am using this opportunity to request the presence of my constituents across board, at the People’s Public Session on Review of the 1999 Constitution. The Constitution is your right to define your future, be part of its review. It does not matter whether you are from Cross River or not; as long as you live within the constituency, come out tomorrow and join the discussion because if you don’t come out, we will return empty handed and people from other parts of the country will make the constitution for you”. She said the public session in her constituency will begin by 10am at the Calabar Local Government Headquarters.
Hon. Daniel Asuquo (PDP, Akampa/Biase) told crossriverwatch that: “in my constituency, I insisted that we must see all shades of opinions. Expecially as its relates to local government autonomy and other such issues. Party members will maintain the party’s position on matters like that and i want to hear other opinions. I insisted on getting all shades of opinion so that whatever we take back will reflect the true feelings of the people. Because of that I even had to set up a steering committee. The meeting will be holding at the Akampa LGA Council Hall by 8am tomorrow.”
Hon. John Owan Enoh (PDP, Obubra/Etung) also confirmed that the meeting in his constituency will be starting by 9am at the Obubra Stadium. He denied allegations that the lawmakers have turned the town hall meetings that are supposed to be public events to a PDP affair. He said “I have invited Chiefs, Clan Heads and you will agree with me that they are not politicians. I want to encourage everyone that has an opinion on how we can improve on our constitution to come and present their positions. I look forward to receiving all shades of opinion”.
In his response to crossriverwatch inquiries, Member representing Ikom/Boki Constituency Hon. Chris Eta, simply replied that his meeting with his own constituents will hold in the morning at the Ikom Council Hall.
But the picture was not immediately clear about what shape the event will be taking in some of the constituencies. Attempts by crossriverwatch to reach representatives: (Hon. Essien Ayi – PDP, Calabar South/Akpabuyo/Bakassi, Hon. Frank Ada – PDP, Obudu/Obanlikwu/Bekwara, Hon. Bassey Ewa – PDP, Yakurr/Abi, Hon. Rose Oko – PDP, Yala/Ogoja), were not successful. Text messages sent to their phones inquiring about tomorrow’s meeting were not responded to.
Some Crossriverians who spoke to crossriverwatch had expressed worries about the lack of proper information about the shape, time and venue of the town hall meetings while others faulted the decision by the federal lawmakers to take most of the meetings to council headquarters as a ploy to deny non PDP members the opportunity to participate in the process.
The town hall meetings are general expected to afford constituents across the country the opportunity to present their positions to their elected representatives as part of their demands in the proposed constitution amendment.
Some of the issues to be addressed by the on-going Constitutional reform process include: devolution of powers, creation of more states and local governments, recognition of the six geo-political zones in the constitution, role of traditional rulers, local governments, Removal of land use Act, NYSC Act and code of conduct from the constitution, fiscal federalism, immunity clause, Nigeria police, judiciary, executive, rotation of executive offices, gender and special groups, mayoral status for the FCT, residency and indigene provisions, electoral reform etc.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
GUIDELINES/PROCEDURE FOR THE PEOPLES’ PUBLIC SESSIONS
ON THE REVIEW OF THE 1999 CONSTITUTION
Following the announcement by the House of Representatives on the holding of the Peoples’ Public Sessions on the Review of the 1999 Constitution simultaneously in all the 360 Federal Constituencies in Nigeria, on Saturday, November 10, 2012, at 10:00 am, the House hereby issues the following GUIDELINES to guide the process:
1. The Public Session shall be organized and implemented in every federal constituency by an independent Constituency Steering Committee of experts and stakeholders who may adapt the proceedings to suit local circumstances;
2. The Steering Committee shall choose a Secretary from amongst its members;
3. It shall be held on Saturday November 10, 2012, at 10:00 am in all the Federal Constituencies in Nigeria;
4. It shall be held in a public place where members of the public shall have unfettered access;
5. Every constituent is free to participate in the Session;
6. The Proceedings shall be uniform throughout the country as far as is practicable;
7. The Steering Committee shall make efforts to ensure wide publicity for the Sessions, in every part of a federal constituency, so as to guarantee the participation of all Nigerians at the grassroots;
8. Decisions at the Session shall, as much as possible, be taken by consensus but where that fails, then by voting, where the views of the majority shall prevail;
9. Voting shall be by show of hands or voice vote;
10. The Steering Committee shall ensure that every item to be voted on, are explained to the people in the language prevalent in the locality;
11. Each Federal Constituency may indicate other issues requiring amendment, other than those listed in the Template, for the attention of the House Constitution Review Committee.
12. There shall be a video recording and written reports of the proceedings of the Session across all of the Federal Constituencies by the Steering Committee, which shall be submitted to the Clerk of the Committee not later than seven days after the event.
B.The following items have been identified as some of the issues to be discussed and voted for at the Peoples’ Public Sessions:
Proposals for Constitution amendment with respect to: Recognition of the Six zonal structure; States creation; The Structure, Funding and Creation of Local Governments; Residency, Citizenship and the Indigeneship question; Justiciability of economic and social rights; Fiscal provisions; Separation of office of Accountant General of the Whole Federation and Accountant General of the Federal Government; Separation of office of Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice; Process of sending the Revenue Allocation Forrmula to National Assembly; Independence of State legislature; amendments to the Exclusive Legislative List to devolve more powers to States; Fiscal federalism; Abolition of State Electoral Commissions; Immunity clause review; State Police Question; Zoning and Power sharing; Term of office of Governors and President whether single term of 5, 6 or 7 years or a renewable term of 4 years; Independent candidacy; Voting age; Improved women representation; Disability rights; Diaspora voting; Single National chamber legislature; Presidential or Parliamentary system; Role for traditional rulers; Further electoral reforms; etc.
However, the House would welcome additional inputs on other issues of interest to Nigerians on the review of the Constitution.
Further details of the template on the issues to be voted on and other materials can be obtained from the website of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution: www.hcrc.org.ng
For more information, please feel free to contact the Clerk of the Committee on tel: 08057448202, e-mail: email@example.com, Office: Meeting Room 447, 4th Floor, New Building, House of Representatives, National Assembly, Three Arms Zone, Abuja.
Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, CON
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