Nigeria

National Assembly urged to amend constitution to reflect true federalism

Director of Information, National Assembly Abuja, Rawlings Agada, has said the sum of N37 billion, approved for the renovation of the National assembly complex may not be enough for the work.

A legal practitioner, Chidi Amamgbo, has called on the National Assembly to take the advantage of the ongoing constitution review to make Nigeria a true federal system.

Speaking with journalists in Abuja at the weekend, Amamgbo said states must be empowered to be independent economically.

Amamgbo, who is also admitted to California State Bar, said that the way the country is being run presently negates all principles of federalism.

According to him, the idea of the centre taking resources from the states and sharing it out to states is antithetical to federalism.

He said: “Why do we call it a federation when oil producing states cannot control their resources? The states should be allowed to control their resource level and then pay taxes to the federal government for defence and foreign affairs.”

He warned that any amendment that did not address this fundamental issue is a mockery and will not bring about the change Nigerians are yawning for.

He said: “Every state must be a mini nation able to thrive on its own without depending on the federal government. If this is done, there are states that have no business being a state.

“If we are truly serious about changing the constitution then we should address that. Why will you go to Rivers State, collect their oil, bring it to the centre and distribute it to all the states and tell them that their derivation is 13 percent?

He also suggested that the review should also aim at strengthening the independence of the judiciary saying that the judiciary as presently constituted is not independent.

“We must make the judiciary a co-equal arm of government to the executive and the executive. Until the judiciary can call the shots, impunity will remain pervasive”, he added.

Amamgbo, who said he returned to Nigeria from the US to seek election into the National Assembly, called on well meaning Nigerians to participate in politics saying that politics should not be left for those who do not have the interest of the people at heart.

He stated that many of those in political offices today had no business being there because they had nothing to offer other than to go and steal public funds.

He also advised political parties to stop giving tickets to the highest bidder but should, in the interest of the country, ensure that only those who have something to offer are allowed to lead the people.

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