Restructuring NASS to revisit devolution of power in constitution amendment

Lasun said this at St. Petersburg, Russia, while speaking to newsmen on the sidelines of the 137 Inter-Parliamentary Union(IPU) Assembly.

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Deputy Speaker of House of Representatives, Yusuf  Lasun, has assured that the National Assembly will re-visit the issue of devolution of power in the Constitution Amendment process.

He gave the assurance on Sunday at St. Petersburg, Russia, while speaking to newsmen on  the sidelines of the 137 Inter-Parliamentary Union(IPU) Assembly.

The deputy speaker, who is part of the Nigerian delegation to the assembly, said the reactions that followed the failure of devolution of power to scale through during voting  on constitution amendment was an indication of how critical it is.

He said the resolve to re-visit the issue was in line with the 137 IPU theme — “Promoting Cultural Pluralism and Peace through Inter-faith and Inter-ethnic Dialogue”.

According to him, devolution of power has been part of the call for restructuring of the country to ensure adequate distribution of resources, which will in turn ensure peaceful co-existence.

He said “the Nigerian parliament has been mindful of the things agitating the minds of the people. If you recall, about two months ago, we tried to amend some sections of the Constitution.

“It was consequent upon that event that we now know that what is left in Nigeria today is to try to see how we can devolve power to different tiers of government.

“We voted on so many items and people were able to screen through and said though we passed some items, the most important one, which  is devolution of power did not scale through.

“And to show that parliament in Nigeria has been up to the task,  we promised that in the next few months, we are going to re-visit the issue so that we can have peace in our country.”

On increasing conflicts in the world, the deputy speaker said all hands must be on deck to find lasting solutions to the problems that caused conflicts across the globe.

He added that “in the last few years,  we have been feeling the intense heat of extremism, Xenophobic attacks, the issue of racism has started rearing its head again and we also have the issue of intolerance.

“These are the issues that the whole world is facing today and everybody is trying to find a way to
settle conflicts.

“This  is because it is in the  midst of peace that we can have democracy and without democracy, it is very difficult to have development.

“So,  we have to first of all find a way of achieving peace, then from achieving peace we can begin to have development.”

Lasun said that the 8 National Assembly was poised to making laws that would promote peace and unity, as well as take advantage of its oversight powers to  dialogue with different sections of the country.

He further said that the national assembly would continue to engage the executive toward ensuring that it improved on its policies and programmes to enable the public to feel the positive impact  of government.

On relationship between the executive and the legislature, Lasun said Nigerians had yet to come to the understanding that the parliament played an important role in governance.

He said the parliament that defined democracy ought to be recognised as integral part of governance, adding that Nigerians often criticised  the parliament and assumed that it was by doing so that there would be good governance.

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He added that “by supporting the parliament to grow, you actually grow the democracy too because if you don’t support parliament, you are not likely to be able to grow your democracy.

“So, a lot of the people in executive do not understand the fact that it is parliament that defines democracy and whatever you want to do.

“People must understand the fact that parliament is the most important part of democracy.”

The 137th IPU, which has 173 parliaments in attendance, is scheduled to take place between Oct. 14 and 18.

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