Why we rejected devolution of power in constitutional amendment - Saraki
- The Senate recently rejected giving governors in the country more powers at the ongoing constitutional amendment
- Bukola Saraki, the president of the Senate, said hate speeches and distrusts were two reasons devolution of power was thrown out
Nigeria’s Senate president, Bukola Saraki, has revealed that the rejection of devolution of powers to states by his colleagues was actually because of the hate speeches that have overtaken the country.
Legit.ng learnt that Saraki stated this in Ilorin, the Kwara state as he speaking with newsmen after receiving a delegation of the #NotTooYoungToRun# group.
He also said there was serious mutual distrust among the citizens of the country.
The Senate president also promised that the issue could be revisited and passed as the amendment to the 1999 constitution continues.
READ ALSO: FG begins 2017 YouWiN programme for young entrepreneurs
According to him, some stakeholders think the proposed amendment in the bill is a smart way of introducing restructuring. As a result, they kicked against it.
“As you know, we have three senators representing each state and one from the FCT and they all represent their constituencies and whatever they do there, they must engage with and get feedback from their constituencies.
“I believe that if this constitutional amendment had come maybe eight months ago, the devolution of powers bill would have passed easily.
“But I think we must be honest with ourselves that presently there is a lot of mistrust in the country at the moment; the air is very polluted and let us be very frank, that blame must go all round; whether it be the politicians, or opinion leaders, socio-cultural group leaders and some others who are running commentaries and even some of you in the media who sometimes write stories that amplify hate speeches and points of view that are inaccurate.
“And I think what happened was that a lot of our colleagues misread or misunderstood or were suspicious of what the devolution of powers to states was all about; whether it was the same thing as restructuring in another way or attempt to foist confederation on the country or to prepare the ground for other campaigns now going on in the country.
“And they made a lot of appeal that they had not consulted with their constituencies and you can see what is happening; there was a meeting in Kaduna yesterday where it was clear that certain parts of the country wanted more time to understand what restructuring is all about before joining the discussion.
“So it is clear that not all Senators were on board. My own advise; we have spoken a lot with the Senators because we cannot bully them or stampede them, because at the end of the day, this country belongs to all of us. You cannot hassle me out of the country.
“Neither can I hassle you out. What we must do is dialogue; reassure each other and let people understand that this concept is for the purpose of making a modern Nigeria; that it is not going to in any way undermine any part of the country.
“Nothing is foreclosed in this exercise; you dont foreclose passage of bill. We must have a good understanding of how parliament works. It is not foreclosed.
“It has been defeated as at today but it does not mean that it would be defeated when it comes tomorrow.
PAY ATTENTION: Read the news on Nigeria’s #1 new app
“The gender bill was defeated in the bid to include it in the constitution but what was not reported in the media is that the sponsors got a victory in that they got an undertaking from members that what was defeated would be included in the Gender Opportunity bill.
“That was something that would not have happened before.
“So the fact that devolution of powers to state lost that day does not mean that after the recess, if a lot of consultations are done again it will not scale through,” a statement by Saraki’s office quoted him as saying.
Legit.ng earlier reported how the Nigerian Senate voted against giving more powers to states in what can be termed a set back to the agitation for restructuring in the country.
The Senate on Wednesday July 26 rejected the proposal to amend the 1999 Constitution in other to devolve more powers to the states.
Nigerians recently gave their opinions on whether the Senate should be scrapped. Watch the video here: