Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, has renewed the call for Special Economic Status for the State in view of its important role in the nation’s development and the burden it bears.
Speaking today at the South-West Zonal Public Hearing of the Federal House of Representatives Special Committee on the Review of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, held at Marriott Hotel, Ikeja Lagos, Sanwo-Olu noted that the continuous request for special status for the State is by no means selfish but in the interest of every Nigerian and the nation, adding that the progress and prosperity of the country is intricately interwoven with that of Lagos State.
His words: “It suffices for me at this point to restate that this request is by no means a selfish one but one that is actually in the interest of every Nigerian and Nigeria as a nation. The progress and prosperity of Nigeria are inextricably linked to the progress and prosperity of Lagos State”.
While stating that issues of State Police and Fiscal Federalism are priorities for the State in the ongoing review process, the Governor, who was represented by his Deputy, Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat, emphasised that a special status for Lagos State must be a concern for all Nigerians.
He stressed that true democracy is all about the exercise of the sovereign will of the people and that “voices and wishes of the people must always be heard loud and clear, regarding how they are being governed and how they wish to be governed”.
Sanwo-Olu was also of the view that the constitutional amendment process will provide Nigerians with the opportunity to express their minds on issues they reflected in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria either by amendments to existing provisions or entirely new provisions.
Earlier in his remarks, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, while urging Nigerians to take the ongoing constitutional amendment serious, envisaged that the process of review and amendment will lead to the evolution of a near-perfect constitution that will resolve issues of “identity, political structure, human rights, administration of government, resource control, national security and so much more that are affecting and hindering our progress and prosperity in the nation.
“The 1999 constitution is as a result of a hurried national compromise that Nigeria entered into two decades ago, just to allow the military vacate the political scene and return back to the barracks. It has always been our intention that one day as one people we will return to amend this document to give voice to the yearning of the Nigerian people”, he stated.
Similarly, the Deputy Chief Whip and Honourable Member, House of Representatives Ad-Hoc Committee on the review of the 1999 Constitution, Mr. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, pointed out that the review is part of efforts by the House of Representatives to ensure a participatory and inclusive approach in the 9th National Assembly’s Constitution review process.
The Deputy Chief Whip added that the Committee issued a call for memoranda and received submissions covering a wide range of issues such as local government autonomy, devolution of powers, indigeneship and citizenship rights, amongst others.
He said, “The Review is currently considering over 30 constitutional alteration bills which border on the following: electoral matters, local government, judiciary, fundamental human rights, gender equity, increased participation of women, vulnerable groups in governance, immunity, indigeneship and residency, devolution of power, strengthening the independence of institutions, traditional institutions, State and local governments creation and legislature and legislative bureaucracy”.