By Auwal Hassan – BAUCHI

Governor Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed of Bauchi state on Wednesday morning welcomed the review of the 1999 constitution which will go along way in capturing the yearnings and aspirations of nigerians.

The governor disclosed this at the opening ceremony of a two day North East Zonal public hearing on the review of 1999 constitution held at Command Guest House, Bauchi.

Governor Bala Mohammed said 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.

He said 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.

“It is therefore, gratifying that the Senate has set machinery in motion for amendment of the Constitution. I commend the Senate for this foresight and initiative.”

“As we all know, 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. The regional governments were also in control of most of their resources.”

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.

Governor Bala Mohammed therefore supported the creation of additional states and local governments especially in Bauchi state considering the population and land mass of the state.

On his part, team leader, Senator Abubakar Kyari 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.

Senator Abubakar Kyari said the Bauchi centre will host prominent personalities from Bauchi, Borno and Yobe states on a mission to get the views and opinions of the citizens in order to fill the gaps in the existing constitution.