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A Townhall Meeting on the 21 Constitutional Amendment Bills

A Townhall Meeting on the 21 Constitutional Amendment Bills
Saturday, October 28, 2017
Communiqué

Introduction

The members of National Assembly had cast their votes in favour of altering sections of the constitution as proposed by 21 out of 33 amendment bills in respect of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as debated. It is in realization of this, that the Aminu Kano Centre for Democratic Research and Training, Mambayya House, Bayero University, Kano in collaboration with the Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL), Kano which is a five-year DFID funded Public Sector Accountability and Governance Program, working in three States of Jigawa, Kaduna, and Kano and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) supported Organization for Community Civic Engagement (OCCEN), a Kano-based Civil Society Organization (CSO) dedicated to the promotion of youth awareness on democracy, human rights, participation and engagement in the political process and governance at the grassroots, organized a One-Day Townhall Meeting to discuss the 21 constitutional amendment bills proposed by the National Assembly that would, any moment from now be transmitted downward to the Houses of Assembly of the 36 states of the federation for deliberation.

The main objective of the Meeting was to sensitize stakeholders regarding the 21 Constitutional Amendment Bills as well as generate the views and positions on the bills from a broad spectrum of Kano citizens for onward dissemination to the Kano State House of Assembly for consideration.

The key issues discussed during the meeting included composition of members of the Council of State, authorization of expenditure before budget passage, financial autonomy of state legislatures, local government funding and administration, distributable pool account, immunity for legislatures, independent candidacy, presidential assent on bills, restriction of the tenure of the president and governors among others. A political scientist, Prof. Kamilu Sani Fage and a legal practitioner, Barr. Audu Bulama Bukarti both from Bayero University, Kano made presentations that provoked well-informed comments, contributions and suggestions from various participants which they also responded to at the end of the meeting.

The meeting was well attended by members of academia; representatives of government agencies; members of CSOs; the media; traditional rulers; religious leaders; and other relevant stakeholders. The meeting was chaired by Prof. Haruna Wakili, Director Mambayya House and Convener of the Townhall meeting.

Resolutions

Arising from the discussions, the following resolutions were reached:

  1. On the composition of the Council of State, it was resolved that the amendment should be made because it is good to have more experienced people on the Council, who will add value to its advisory role.
  2. It was unanimously agreed that the amendment on the Authorization of Expenditure before Budget passage is good and should be supported by the Kano State House of Assembly.
  3. It was resolved that Financial Autonomy of State Legislatures will enhance the timely execution of activities of States Houses of Assemblies especially in carrying out oversight functions.
  4. The Amendment of the section which captures Distributable Pool Account should be made, but adequate mechanisms for monitoring of expenditure should be provided to minimise embezzlement of public funds.
  5. It was also resolved that the bill to amend Local government funding and administration should be passed by the Kano State House of Assembly as it will enhance local governance and service delivery.
  6. The meeting resolved that the bill to amend issues around Immunity of Legislators for acts in the course of duty is not welcomed due to the fear that it can be abused especially where there are conflicts of interest or the public good will not be served.
  7. It was also resolved that the bill seeking for the amendments on the Conduct of bye-elections and power to de-register political parties should be made, so as to facilitate INEC’s execution of its statutory functions in good time and also to sanitize political party conduct.
  8. The meeting resolved that the amendment on Presidential Assent on Bills should also be made so as to ensure that not only Executive but other Bills too are assented to.
  9. It was also unanimously resolved that the bill seeking for Timeframe for submission of names of Ministerial and Commissioner nominees with their portfolios within 30 days from inception of the government should also be made because it is in the public good.
  10. It was unanimously agreed that the bill for Independent Candidacy should be passed by the Kano State House of Assembly so as to give citizens more opportunities to contest elective posts as guaranteed by the Constitution.
  11. It was resolved that the change of name of the Nigeria Police Force be rejected because what the NPF needs is change of attitude as well as improved welfare package not change of name.
  12. The bill to amend the section that captures the tenure of the President and Governor is embraced so as to remove the present state of ambiguity and also ensure clarity.
  13. The Separation of the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation and that of the Accountant-General of the Federal Government was rejected.
  14. The bill seeking to make First line charges for the office of the Auditor-General of the Federation and States was accepted because it will enhance the activities of the office, transparency and fight corruption.
  15. The judiciary bill seeking to further strengthen the speedy dispensation of justice was unanimously accepted.
  16. Determination of pre-election matters bill was unanimously accepted.
  17. Consequential amendment on civil defense was accepted.
  18. Procedure of overriding presidential veto in constitutional amendment bill was accepted.
  19. Investment and securities tribunal bill was accepted.
  20. Reduction in age for election was accepted.
  21. Authorization of expenditure time frame for laying appropriation bill was accepted.

Signed

  1. Prof. Haruna Wakili Director, Mambayya House …………………..
  2. Abdulrazaq Alkali Executive Director, OCCEN …………………..
  3. Prof. Kamilu Sani Fage Facilitator ………………….
  4. Barr. Audu Bulama Bukarki Facilitator ………………….
  5. Dr. Abdulhadi Zubairu Chula SA, NGOs to Governor, Kano ………………….
  6. Hadiza Bala Fagge Chairperson, WPSN, Kano ………………….
  7. Sa’adatu Hashim Ameerah, FOMWAN ………………….
  8. Ado Sa’idu Warawa Freedom Radio, Kano ………………….
  9. Comrade A. A Haruna Ayagi Voice of NGOs ………………….
  10. Abba Bello Ahmed OBSTEC, Kano ………………….

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