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Constitution review: Akeredolu wants Nigerian Senate scrapped

Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State has recommended the scrapping of the Senate in the ongoing 1999 constitution review public hearing in the country.

Governor Akeredolu, who made the recommendation on Tuesday at the public hearing held by the House of Representatives committee of constitution review in Akure, the state capital, said the ongoing constitution review was a very important assignment which must be undertaken with all seriousness.

According to him, nobody must be shut out, all must be treated equally.

Akeredolu, who was represented by his deputy, Lucky Aiyedatiwa said, “The position of the Ondo State government has been made public that, we advocate for a Federal Government largely reduced in size and scope of engagement. We want to see a constitution that will enhance the performance of public office holders at all levels.

“Devolution of powers must be far-reaching and immediate to reverse the slide into anarchy and economic doldrums. Revenue generation and allocation must reflect the extent to which a state participates in the economy. It is anomalous to have a situation in which the Federal Government issues proclamations on the running of local governments.

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“The states should control the mineral resources within their territories and pay taxes to the Federal Government. Each region must be allowed to explore its potentials for the maximum benefits of its inhabitants. No state should be a parasite on the rest.

“The country may consider dropping the current bicameral structure of the National Assembly and adopt a unicameral legislature. The membership of the National Assembly should be part-time.

“A state should be left to decide on the number and size of its local governments. The Senate should be scrapped. The House of Representatives too should not be unwieldy. A maximum of four representatives should come from each zone.

“The Supreme Court should be decentralised to ease the current burden of the appellate court. In a true Federal state, there should be a Supreme Court whose decisions are final in residual matters.”

In his earlier welcome address, Peter Akpatason, the deputy house leader of the House of Representatives and chairman Southwest (Akure Centre), of the committee on constitution review public hearing, to cover Osun, Ondo and Ekiti States, said the only way out of the current situation facing the country was to review the 1999 constitution and implement it without any delay.

To achieve this, Akpatason, however, said there must be cooperation and contributions of all Nigerians. According to him, the House of Representatives special committee on constitution review was currently considering over 30 constitutional alteration bills which fall under the following broad thematic areas; electoral matters, local government, judiciary, fundamental human rights, gender equity and increased participation of women and vulnerable groups in governance, immunity, indigene ship and residency, devolution of powers, strengthening the independence of institutions, traditions institutions, states and local government creation and legislature and legislative bureaucracy.

“The mandate given to us will be adequately carried out and implemented after the conclusion of this great exercise,” he said.