Why Buhari wants re­struc­tur­ing to be a mat­ter for the leg­is­la­ture

Leg­is­la­ture is in­sti­tute to deal with con­sti­tu­tional re­view

African Independent - - NEWS - EM­MANUEL OLONIRUHA

SE­NIOR spe­cial as­sis­tant to Nige­rian Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari on Na­tional Assem­bly Mat­ters (Se­nate) Ita Enang has said that the pres­i­dent has di­rected re­struc­tur­ing ag­i­ta­tions to the leg­is­la­ture be­cause of his be­lief in due process.

Ac­cord­ing to Enang, re­struc­tur­ing is a con­sti­tu­tional mat­ter. The leg­is­la­ture deals with re­view of the con­sti­tu­tion and should, there­fore, han­dle any is­sue that calls for change of law.

Buhari had, in his na­tional broad­cast on his re­turn from med­i­cal leave in Lon­don, said the Na­tional Assem­bly and Na­tional Coun­cil of State were the le­git­i­mate and ap­pro­pri­ate bod­ies to han­dle is­sues of re­struc­tur­ing.

The pres­i­dent di­rected all ag­i­ta­tions to both bod­ies, in line with statu­tory re­spon­si­bil­i­ties they had.

Enang said that be­cause re­struc­tur­ing meant dif­fer­ent things to dif­fer­ent peo­ple and groups, and may re­quire con­sti­tu­tional amend­ment, only the Na­tional Assem­bly could deal with it.

He said the leg­is­la­ture needed to re­ceive the de­mands on dif­fer­ent as­pects of re­struc­tur­ing, de­bate on them and come out with the best rec­om­men­da­tions.

“That is why the pres­i­dent said ‘Look, we are a gov­ern­ment sworn in un­der the con­sti­tu­tion, any­thing you want done must nec­es­sar­ily be as re­quired by the con­sti­tu­tion’.

“‘I can­not as chief ex­ec­u­tive, as head of gov­ern­ment, do a thing that is dif­fer­ent from what the con­sti­tu­tion says, and I have no power to amend the con­sti­tu­tion.

“’The per­son who has power to amend the con­sti­tu­tion is the leg­is­la­ture and it is han­dling the process’.

“‘Please what­ever you want done I will do it so long as it will be ap­proved by the leg­is­la­ture and it goes through the en­tire process that is needed by the Con­sti­tu­tion to amend it.’

“That is why the pres­i­dent said that all ag­i­ta­tions for re­struc­tur­ing should go to the leg­is­la­ture,’’ said Enang.

The aide said while some peo­ple saw re­struc­tur­ing as re­mov­ing con­trol over land from the gov­er­nors and vest­ing it in the fed­eral gov­ern­ment, some saw it de­mand for state po­lice. “Some will want to have state po­lice, and an­other will not.

“His thought is that if you have state po­lice, you will use it against your cit­i­zens and the in­ter­ests of the fed­eral gov­ern­ment.”

Enang said that some peo­ple also viewed re­struc­tur­ing as al­low­ing states to ex­ploit their re­sources and pay tax to the fed­eral gov­ern­ment.

Ac­cord­ing to him, those in the south-south will say that the re­struc­tur­ing they want is re­source con­trol, es­pe­cially over petroleum re­sources.

“The man in the north will say no, you can­not con­trol it be­cause it is fed­eral re­sources taken from the ocean, which be­long to all of us.

“Some will say they can con­trol it be­cause we have solid min­er­als in the north that they can also con­trol.

“But, some will say no, don’t con­trol be­cause if you do, I will con­trol the food I pro­duced and I will use it to deal and bar­gain.”

Enang, how­ever, ad­vised peo­ple with a spe­cific de­mand to for­ward it to the na­tional assem­bly.

On why the leg­is­la­ture dropped re­struc­tur­ing in spite of the se­ri­ous ag­i­ta­tions, he said that no­body knew the type of re­struc­tur­ing de­mand re­quested.

“To my knowl­edge, most of the peo­ple who are quar­relling that the leg­is­la­ture did not ap­prove re­struc­tur­ing may not know the level of re­struc­tur­ing that was pre­sented to it. How­ever, any bill that was re­jected can be re-pre­sented. So let any per­son who wants re­struc­tur­ing present what as­pect of re­struc­tur­ing they want to the na­tional assem­bly.” – NAN

PIC­TURE: OLAMIKAN GBEMIGA/AP

BACK HOME: Sup­port­ers of Nige­rian Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari watch as his mo­tor­cade passes by on his ar­rival in Abuja last month. Buhari re­turned to the coun­try af­ter more than three months in Lon­don for med­i­cal treat­ment.

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