REPS NEWS: Speakers speech at presentation of report of people public session
REMARKS BY RT. HON. AMINU WAZIRI TAMBUWAL, CFR, SPEAKER, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, AT THE SUBMISSION OF THE REPORT ON THE “PEOPLES PUBLIC SESSIONS” BY THE AD-HOC COMMITTEE ON CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, THURSDAY 18th APRIL 2013.
I would like to start by, once again, on behalf of the House of Representatives extending our apology to all Nigerians for the obvious inconveniences caused by the sudden postponement of the earlier scheduled date for the submission of this report. As the Deputy Speaker rightly noted in his welcome address the postponement became inevitable in order to allow Honourable Members who were yet to verify their reports in the compiled documents to do so. I am pleased to confirm that that has now been done and what we have today is the true representation of what transpired at the public session in the various constituencies.
2. As you would recall, on the 9th November 2012 I had the privilege of formally flagging off the “peoples Public Session” which took place in the 360 Federal Constituencies
pursuant to the process of constitutional amendment. I noted then that the programme was novel and with every novel idea comes teething challenges. My confidence was however rested on the zeal and determination of our honourable Colleagues and the House Ad-hoc Committee on Constitutional Amendment.
3. Today I am glad to receive the report of that endeavour from the Ad-Hoc Committee. Let me therefore express my sincere appreciation to all the Honourable members of the House of Representatives for the successful conduct of the exercise and to the Ad-Hoc Committee for diligently perusing, collating and producing the report before us. As a participant observer I am not in any doubt that the exercise was challenging but ultimately fulfilling.
4. Critical lessons were learnt in the process which, no doubt, will positively influence the perception and performance of this hallowed Chambers henceforth.
5. One of such challenges was the realization that the average Nigerian, irrespective of his level of formal education, is politically more sophisticated than we presume. The seamless manner in which stakeholders engaged the entirety of the template was a pointer to the fact that today’s
leadership will ignore the silent majority at its peril.
6. The other pleasant revelation was the palpable hunger for participation in governance by Nigerian from all walk of life and social strata. Discussion on several subject was heavily spiced with criticisms of existing policies and lamentation over the culture of monopoly of governance by the elite. There was massive turn out at most, if not all, of the sessions and enthusiastic participation from the beginning to the end of the session with participants demanding more time.
7. It was also clearly evident that on several issues we, as representatives of the people, must employ the opinion of the vocal majority with circumspection. Some items on the template, which from the preponderant opinion of the media, suggest general acceptance as desirable were completely rejected by the ordinary Nigerians and that with plausible arguments and justification.
8. Having said so, let me formally commend all Nigerians who participated in that exercise and also those who were unable for logistics reasons, for their zeal and enthusiasm without which our objectives would have failed. By their action they have clearly fortified their right to be consulted
more regularly and intimately on all critical matters of national interest and I promise on behalf of my colleagues that we shall continue to respect this right.
9. To all Nigerians, let me seize this opportunity to assure, on behalf of the House of Representatives that all views and opinions offered at these public Sessions as well as those forwarded through written memoranda, which constitute the substance of this report, will be carefully and fairly considered in fashioning the proposed amendments to the Constitution.
10. Our resolve to meet the yearnings of Nigerians for a more acceptable ad functional constitution remains firm and I assure once again that you can count on us.
11. Once again on behalf of the House of Representatives, I convey our deepest appreciation to everybody who was part of the process and implore that you remain on board until the ultimate objective is accomplished.
12. Thank you all and God bless.