The Deputy President of Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege, has stated that the National Assembly does not have the power to replace the constitution.
The Senator said this at a meeting with the Alliance of Nigerian Patriots led by Amb. Umunna Orjiako on Wednesday. He was represented by his media aide, Mr Yomi Odunuga.
Omo-Agege said what could be achieved was an amendment of the constitution by the National Assembly. He urged stakeholders to channel the demands of a new constitution towards constitutional amendment.
“I am not so sure that we as a Parliament have the power to replace the Constitution. We can only make amendments and it is explicit in sections 8 and 9 of the constitution on how we can do that and the requisite number of votes required.
“I say that because there are some top attorneys in this country, who for some reasons, keep saying that we don’t even need any of this, that we should just bring a new constitution. We can’t do that.
“What we are mandated to do by law is to look at those provisions and bring them up-to-date with global best practices, especially to the extent that it tallies with the views of the majority of Nigerians. So we are not in a position to replace this constitution, but we can only amend.”
The senator also said that the Senate would look into issues like restructuring if there is a major demand for it from Nigerians and also the exclusive legislative list.
“But, as I said, most of the issues you have raised here, like zones replacing states, that’s another euphemism for going back to the regions. We will look into that if that is what the majority of our people want.
“You talked about the devolution of powers. The preponderance of views we have received so far is that those 68 items are very wide and need to shed some weight and move them to the Concurrent Legislative List.”