From Fred Itua, Abuja
DEPUTY Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, has said Ni- geria will soon have a revised Constitution as the ongoing amendment will soon be over.
Ekweremadu also promised that a new constitution, ready to be signed into law, would soon be presented to the President.
The lawmaker said this when the Inter-Party Advisory Council of Nigeria (IPAC) visited him, at the weekend, on the ongoing constitution amendment.
He said the National Assembly is still holding consul- tations with some critical stakeholders, to ensure smooth sail of the amendment and an outcome that will be in tune with the aspirations of Nigerians.
“For instance, we have gone to the Judiciary. We have gone to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other stakeholders, asking them to express their views. We got a lot of responses. So, we are going ahead, and your visit will help to shape the final document we will present to the Senate.”
Ekweremadu, who is chairman of the Senate Commit- tee on Constitution Review, said current consultations would culminate in a joint retreat, in a few weeks, to en- able members of the Senate and House committees reach consensus on issues slated for amendment.
He said representatives of Houses of Assembly would be part of the retreat, “to arm them with firsthand knowl- edge of proposed amendments, ahead of transmission of the alteration bills to them for approval.”
He also explained that the current exercise drew sub- stantially from the failed Fourth Alteration Bill, and that proposed amendments would be drafted into several al- teration bills, to avoid a situation where rejection of one amendment could lead to the death of the entire amend- ments.
Meanwhile, Ekweremadu has blamed withdrawal of government subventions for political parties on abuse.
“We had to amend the constitution, to remove that; the reason being that it was thoroughly abused by some people. They register a political party and wait for elec- tion. Government gives them subvention, then, they put it in their pockets and make no efforts to win. To them, po- litical parties were platforms for making cool money from government.” Rather than wait for government’s funding, he urged political parties to agitate for the introduction of proportional representation, to widen political representa- tion in the Legislature, which would, in turn, help smaller political parties to thrive.
Earlier in his address, IPAC National Chairman, Mo- hammed Nalado, said they are making efforts, with the support of international agencies, among others, to fa- cilitate electoral reforms that would guarantee free, fair, credible and transparent electoral process in Nigeria.