Following widespread outcry and stringent criticism directed at the National Assembly over the rejection of the devolution of powers bill, the House of Representatives has joined to Senate to hint at the possibility of revisiting the bill.
The both chambers of the National Assembly had during votes on items to be amended in the 1999 Constitution, voted out devolution of powers to states, despite its huge demand by the different sections of the country.
But apparently feeling the heat that the rejection is already generating, Reps majority leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, has said that the move was a mistake and would be likely reviewed upon the house’ resumption from summer vacation in September.
Gbajabiamila blamed the rejection in the first place on the mistake of lumping many of the powers to be devolved into one single bill.
According to him, the lumping created confusion among many members.
“Many of us will be asking for the issue of devolution of powers to be revisited upon resumption in September. It’s either an oversight or mistake for several items to have been lumped under the devolution of powers bill, a situation that led to the defeat of the bill.
“There were about nine items, including railways, pensions, arbitration, stamp duties, parks and others under the subhead and members should have voted on each rather than vote in one fell swoop.
“A member may have agreed to certain items for devolution to states and not to others. The way we voted one would never know how to pass judgment on each item.
“I believe each item should stand or fall on its own merit. It is important to note that devolution of powers is baby steps and the simplest form of reconstruction not a surgical dismemberment of our country. We must feel the pulse of the nation in moments like this,” he said.
Earlier, Senate President Bukola Saraki had also hinted at the review of the senate’s decision on the bill when they return from their annual vacation.
The bill, titled, Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (Fourth Alteration) Bill, No. 3, 2017 (Devolution of Powers), had sought to alter the Second Schedule, Part I & II, to move certain items to the Concurrent Legislative List in order to give more legislative powers to states.
The rejection of the bill heavily criticized by longstanding staunch advocates for restructuring, while agitators for secession have viewed its rejection alongside other restructuring-associated bills, as justification for their continued quest to abandon the Nigeria project.
Some have gone as far as suggesting that the renewed threats by the Niger Delta militants to pull out of peace talks and subsequently resume attacks on oil installations, is one likely fallout from the rejection of the bill.
RipplesNigeria ….without borders, without fears