From David Hassan, Gombe
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Speakers’ Forum has called on the National Assembly to as a matter of urgency and necessity revisit the issue of devolution of powers in the current Constitutional amendment process.
The Forum’s position is contained in a document issued after its maiden meeting held in Gombe at the weekend as signed by the Chairman of its communiqué committee, Hon. John Gaul Lebo, Speaker, Cross Rivers State House of Assembly.
The Forum also insists on a Constitution amendment process that must be holistic in order to strengthen democracy and to create true federalism.
The presiding officers also said these positions were necessitated by the economic, political and socia development coupled with the agitations arising from the different quarters of the country.
Lebo explained that devolution of powers had unanimously considered as a priority during one of the Constitutional review meetings, but were surprised that the National assembly later kicked against it.
“The Constitutional review process has been on since the last two years. In these two ears, we’ve had not less than four meetings and the last one was in Lagos.
“It was resolved unanimously that one of the most prominent issues in the Constitutional review process was the issue of devolution of power.
“Devolution of powers was priority to all of us and we resolved on the basic items that must form the devolution of powers. So we were surprised when members of the National Assembly voted differently and rejected devolution of powers.
“Certain other items like the autonomy of the state legislature, autonomy of local governments were there. We don’t want to be selfish by protecting our interests against the interests of the country; that is why we said this devolution of powers must be part of the process,” he explained.
The PDP Speakers’ Forum also resolved to fully support the party during its December 9, 2017 National Convention holding in Lagos.
Among other resolutions reached by the Forum was the adoption of the Speaker of Cross Rivers State House of Assembly Right Honourable John Gaul Lebo as Head of its caretaker committee, with the Speaker of Taraba State House of Assembly as Secretary.
In attendance were Speakers of Abia, Akwa Ibom, Cross Rivers, Delta, Ebonyi, Enugu, Gombe, Rivers and Taraba states.