Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, has appealed to the National Assembly to rebuild the confidence of Nigerians in it and demonstrate its sincerity with the constitutional review by first passing the pass the pending Electoral Bill.
He made the call on Wednesday when he received members of the Special House of Representatives Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution for the South-South states after the second day of the public hearing for Rivers, Cross River, and Akwa Ibom States in Uyo, the state capital.
Governor Emmanuel stated that the Electoral Bill was a yearning of the people that must be prioritised and called on the Legislative and Executive arms of the Federal Government to expedite actions to bring the bill alive.
He opined that this would remedy the seeming apathy of Nigerians towards the Constitution review process.
“As we are working on the Constitution review, Nigerians will want to see the sincerity of the National Assembly.
“If you want us to believe this exercise, give us the Electoral Bill as soon as possible and let the Executive sign it into law, then we will believe that this one will also see the light of day,” the governor said.
He commended the Speaker of the ninth Assembly for the relative harmony in the House of Representatives and the selection of members to pilot the review process in the South-South.
According to Governor Emmanuel, as important as the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) is, the most important and urgent at the moment is the Electoral Bill.
He called on the Red and Green chambers of the National Assembly to consider the plea as the yearning of over 200 million Nigerians.
The governor said the agitation by people in the South-South region would be unnecessary if the Federal Government could avoid some outright violations of the laws governing the running of its institutions in the region.
“We cannot enjoy peace as a country if we cannot even obey the simple rule of law we put in place; we need to build back hope and confidence in our people, we need to let people know that we do listen to them,” he stated.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the Special Committee and House Minority Whip, Gideon Gwani, thanked Governor Emmanuel for the hospitality accorded the lawmakers.
He explained that setting up the committee became necessary to address the challenges confronting the nation and to chart a course towards a new Constitution that would guarantee the fundamental freedom of Nigerians.
“Nigeria is a great country but currently, we are going through challenging times; we are battling insecurity, dwindling economy, and the resurgence of fear of ethnic domination which led our country to civil war several years ago, which have continued to plague every aspect of our national life.
“As a nation, we need to take a pause and also appraise our terms of social contract, our mode and system of government, and the only way to legally respond to those calls is via constitutional amendment,” said Gwani who represents Kaura Federal Constituency of Kaduna State.