Lagos lawyer and a delegate to the just concluded National Conference, Femi Falana (SAN), has kicked against President Goodluck Jonathan’s decision to refer the recommendations of the conference to the Council of State and National Assembly.
According to the rights lawyer, the Council of State had nothing to do with the conference’s recommendations as it was merely an advisory body to the president.
The council consists of governors, former presidents or heads of state, former Chief Justices of Nigeria, Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Jonathan had while declaring the conference closed yesterday and receiving the report of the conference by its chairman, Justice Idris Kutigi (retd), said: “The discourse reflected our latest challenges. We shall send the relevant aspects of your recommendations to the Council of State and the National Assembly for incorporation into the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. On our part, we shall act on those aspects required of us in the Executive”.
In his reaction, Falana explained that the recommendations of the conference were in three stages – policy implementation, amendment of some laws and rewriting of the 1999 Constitution.
He said the first stage was meant for the President and his cabinet members to effect while the second and the third stages are bills to be forwarded by the Executive to the National Assembly for incorporation into the Constitution.
After the incorporation, he added, a referendum would be held.
He said, “The first stage has to do with policy implementation and that is for the Executive; the second one involves amending certain laws while the third one pertains to rewriting the Constitution. For the second and the third stages, the President has to present bills to the National Assembly for them to pass them into law after which the Constitution would be presented to Nigerians for a referendum.
“The Council of State has nothing to do with the recommendations of the conference. It is just an advisory body”.