National Conference Report “Very Much Alive” – Reps

house-of-reps2The House of Representatives on Sunday denied speculations that the report of the 2014 National Conference would no longer be considered by the National Assembly on the excuse that President Muhammadu Buhari is against implementing any of its recommendations.
The majority All Progressives Congress and minority party caucuses in the House led by the Peoples Democratic Party, also stated that the issue was in the realm of speculation until President Buhari writes the House to inform it of his position on the 2014 confab report.
The national conference was initiated by former President Goodluck Jonathan in the build up to the 2015 general election.
The conference had no no-go areas with the exception of the continued existence of Nigeria, hence it touched on many areas including electoral reforms, devolution of powers, security, economic reforms and governance structure.
The former president had received the report of the conference just in time before the March 28 presidential poll and forwarded it to the National Assembly.
The 7th House of Representatives acknowledged the receipt of the report and referred it to its ad hoc Committee on Constitution Review.
But speculations became rife that Buhari had reportedly dumped the report since his party – the APC and himself, before emerging president, had kicked against the convocation of the national conference.
Reacting to the development on Sunday, House Majority Leader, Femi Gbjabiamila, said the House would not agree that the president was not interested in the report until he writes to the lawmakers to say so.
He explained that until there was an official communication to that effect from the Executive, the House would not take any steps in a hurry.
“The President has not communicated this position to the House.
“However, if and when he does, we will sit with him to understand and if need be, appreciate his reasons.
“Remember, while the legislature is to serve as an independent arm of government, it should also work in tandem with the executive arm as best as possible, wherever and whenever necessary. It should be on the same page as long as such is for the greater good of Nigeria and Nigerians”, Gbajabiamila said.
House Minority Leader, Leo Ogor, also said that the “report remains very much alive”.
Ogor argued that assuming it was true Buhari was against the report, his position would still not stop the National Assembly from performing its duties.
The minority leader noted that any aspect of the report could be thrown up in the form of a bill “by any member” and be passed, using the constitutionally-recognised procedure for passing bills.
However, Ogor said up to “90 per cent” of the same issues raised in the report were similar to the amendments the National Assembly made to the 1999 Constitution last year.
“But, having said that, the report is not dead. You may say the bulky report will not be taken by the House, but if there are issues in some aspects that are brought up, they will be passed.
“For example, if the people still want to talk about state police and other issues, they can still be looked into by the House. So, the report is not dead yet”, Ogor declared.

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