By Segun Awofadeji in 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 constitution amendment process.
The forum’s position was contained in a document issued after its maiden meeting held in Gombe at the weekend signed by the Chairman of its communiqué committee, Hon. John Gaul Lebo, Speaker, Cross Rivers State House of Assembly.
The forum also insisted on a constitution amendment process that must be holistic in order to strengthen the country’s democracy to create true federalism.
They said these positions were necessitated by the economic, political and social development coupled with the agitations arising from the different quarters of the country.
Lebo explained that devolution of powers was unanimously considered as a priority during one of the constitutional review meetings, but they 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 years, 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 a 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.
“Other items like the autonomy of the state legislature, autonomy of local government 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, Lebo, as head of its caretaker committee, with the Speaker of Taraba State House of Assembly as the Secretary.
Also in attendance were the Speakers of Abia, Akwa Ibom, Cross Rivers, Delta, Ebonyi, Enugu, Gombe, Rivers and Taraba States.