By Auwal Hassan – BAUCHI

Governor Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed of Bauchi State on Tuesday morning observed that, Nigeria need a constitution that will serve and protect the interest of its people.

According to the governor, the 1999 constitution that ushered in the current democratic dispensation has been widely criticized for not holistically meeting the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians.

The governor was speaking at the opening ceremony of a two day North East Zonal public hearing on the review of 1999 constitution organized by the House of Representatives sub committee held at Hazibal Hotel, Bauchi.

Governor Bala Mohammed said organizing the public hearing before amending the constitution is an indication that democratic norms and values are taking deep root in the country.

He said the participatory approach adopted by the National Assembly in the amendment of the Constitution is expected to produce a people’s constitution that would address the myriad of socio-economic and political problems facing the country.

“I welcome the review of the 1999 Constitution and the review of the constitution became necessary as the 1999 constitution did not holistically encapsulated the yearnings and aspirations of the citizens as an autocratic command structure was eventually adopted leading to the concentration of enormous power at the centre while whittling down the power of the constituent states of the federation.”

“Members of the National Assembly as elected representatives of the people and charged with the responsibility of making laws, have the responsibility of addressing the shortcomings that have manifested in the 1999 constitution with the overriding public interests of their constituents.”

The governor who declared the public hearing open, supported the review of the 1999 constitution in the areas of federal structure in governance and power devolution, establishment of state police, states and local governments creation, constitutional roles for traditional rulers among others.

“The Military has played dominant role in the political development of Nigeria since 1966 when the first democratically elected Government in the country was overthrown in a Military coup on 15th January, 1966.”

“The then four regions that made up the Federal Republic of Nigeria were semi-autonomous with their governments having powers to run their affairs without undue interference by the federal government while the regional governments were also in control of most of their resources.”

Governor Bala Mohammed enjoined Nigerians to believe in the Nigerian project by working for its success, and to eschew ethnic, religious and sectional sentiments for the unity, peace of progress of Nigeria.

The Chairman, House of Representatives sub committee for the review of the Constitution, Bauchi Center, Honorable Aminu Sulaiman said areas that needs attention in the review of the 1999 constitution include, defence and security, land use act, unity of Nigeria, devolution of power, derivation and revenue sharing, state police, local governments autonomy, role of traditional rulers among others.

Honorable Aminu Sulaiman appreciated the support of Governor Bala Mohammed to the committee which he said will go along way in ensuring the success of their assignment.