By Christiana Ekpa
The Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu has said that for any constitution to have legitimacy and acceptance as democratic, it must be a product of the peoples will, through citizens participation.
Elumelu who commended the state governor, Sen. Ifeanyi Okowa, for hosting the zonal hearing, assured people of the zone that pertinent issues such as; resource control, citizenship registration, fiscal federalism, improved derivation formula, devolution of power, as well as democratization of electoral processes would be looked into by the committee, as well as the 9th Assembly in general.
The lawmaker, whom is fondly referred to as the “pride of Delta” and who chairs the subcommittee stated these while delivering his welcome address at the opening of the ongoing South-South Zonal public hearing on the review of the 1999 constitution in Asaba, Delta State.
He said: “Indeed, the convergence of our leaders and citizens from the three states that make up this cluster, underscores the urgency and significance the people of the states; the people of the Niger Delta region and indeed Nigerians at large, attach to this exercise.”
“As we go into this exercise, we must bear in mind that every democratic constitution is made by the people for the fulfilment of their collective aspirations and objective as a society.
“Consequently, any constitution that does not guarantee the fulfilment of such aspirations, is to the extent of such shortcomings, defective, frustrating and cannot deliver benefits to the people. Instead, such constitutions breed discontentment dissonances, agitations, violence, restiveness, economic retardation and political frictions.
“Your Excellencies, our leaders, ladies and gentlemen, the current 1999 (as amended) has been adjudged by many as being replete with grave defects which are inimical to and frustrating the practice of a federal system that most Nigerians desire.
“There are also agitations for creation of additional states as well as the inclusion of the traditional institution as a special tier with statutory roles for our traditional rulers.
“Across the Niger Delta region, there has been demands that the Federal Government should completely relinquish ownership, control, and management of oil and gas resources situated in the various states of the region” he said.