Gbajabiamila expresses doubts over conclusion of constitutional amendment

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Ahmad Lawan and Femi Gbajabiamila: Leaders of the 9th National Assembly.

Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House of Representatives on Monday expressed doubt over the conclusion of constitutional amendment before the expiration of the ninth assembly in June 2023.

He made this known at the second edition of the Distinguished Parliamentarians Lecture organized by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) in Abuja.

The speaker said the national assembly had passed a draft of amendment to the constitution and advanced it to the states as required, adding that the process now seemed to have stalled in the state assemblies.

“As it is today, it is doubtful that the current constitutional amendment effort will be concluded before the expiration of this legislative arms,” Gbajabiamila said.

He said despite broad national agreement on the need for reform, the potential for achievements could rise or fall based on differences in expectations of the context, peace, and direction of the specific proposal.

The speaker said the conclusion of the amendment was necessary to enable it to advance the course of the nation’s democracy and put it together for the good of the country.

Gbajabiamila said one of the effective tools the ninth assembly had adopted was the Public Policy Dialogue, adding that the dialogues were structured engagement between the stakeholders.

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This, he said, was designed to build a shared understanding of issues and advance policy recommendations that addressed issues in a manner the parties could agree with.

“These dialogues have helped us to advance national security legislation that may otherwise have proved difficult to scale.”

Prof. Abubakar Suleiman, the Director General of NILDS said: “Today’s occasion attests to the robust nature of symbiotic roles of the executive and legislative.”

He said this had brought to bear on democratic practices in Africa, where Nigeria had taken the lead.

Suleiman said if the symbiotic relationship between the two arms of government, was strengthened, it would portend a leeway for democracy and impactful good governance to thrive.

This according to him, does not, however, preclude the two arms having to occasionally diverge, even seriously on issues that have a direct bearing on the lives of constituents.

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