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Published On: Wed, Jul 9th, 2014

Confab: Referendum is unconstitutional, says ex PDP Chairman

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pdp logoBy Kingsley Chijioke

The quest to subject the final report of the ongoing National Conference to a plebiscite yesterday suffered a set back with a delegate representing Kebbi state and former chairman of the ruling

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bello Haliru Mohammed declaring it as unconstitutional.

The former minister of defence, while contributing on a debate on the modalities for implementation of the conference’s final report, said that plans to subject the outcome of the conference to referendum is uncalled for as the 1999 constitution has no provision for such. He further warned against going contrary to the 1999 constitution as the conference was convened on its instance.

He chided those who said that the constitution was a military made and lacks the necessary legitimacy, informing that the political office holders including Mr. President were product of the 1999 constitution. He therefore, suggested that the conference should urge the president

to liaise with National Assembly to do the needful. His words, “We are here to deliberate on how best to move the country forward and not to produce a brand new constitution. Some said that

1999 constitution is a military enactment which was backed by decree 24 of 1999. They should know that it was the section 5 of the same constitution that gave the president the power to assembly us here for this task. Those who are calling for referendum should know that it is not in the constitution. We are to give Mr. President our report and he can do whatever he wishes with it. If there is need for referendum the president will liaise with national assembly to do it as there is no such provision in the constitution. Our own is just to come out with good report” he said. Yinka Odumakin representing South West zone, who opposed Mohammed’s position said that subjecting the report of the conference to referendum will give it the much desired legitimacy.

Odumakin noted that subjecting the report to National Assembly that has not been able to amend the 1999 constitution since its inception will not yield the desired result.

“Since 1999 the National Assembly has failed to amend the constitution, because something is wrong with it. While referring the constitution as an old rag, said that “No sane man will go to market and buy new cloth and ask his Taylor to join it with his old rag”.

Continuing, the South West born activist stressed the need to subject the report to referendum that will bring a new brand constitution. “we need referendum to get a brand new constitution. May God bless our collective effort and give us a new Nigeria of our dream”.

 

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