Constitution: Nigerians reject rotational presidency, immunity, state police……Punch

Nigerians have rejected the inclusion of rotational presidency, immunity for the President and governors as well as state police in the ongoing amendments to the 1999 Constitution.

They also kicked against the clamour for resource control by oil producing communities and the call to raise the derivation principle from the current 13 per cent to 20 per cent.

These views were in the collated results of their views on the amendment, made public by the House of Representatives in Abuja on Thursday.

The results came from the People’s Public Sessions conducted in the 360 Federal Constituencies on November 10, 2012 by its Ad-Hoc Committee on Constitution Review.

The committee, headed by the Deputy Speaker of the House, Mr. Emeka Ihedioha, produced a 43-item template for the public sessions, drawn from the memoranda submitted to it by many individuals and interest groups in the country.

According to the results, Nigerians neither want the presidency to rotate between the North and the South nor between the six geopolitical zones.

On a question, “Should a provision be inserted in the constitution for the rotation of the Office of the President between the Northern and Southern parts of the country”, 80  constituencies voted ‘Yes’, while 275 voted ‘No’. Five were undecided, making 360.

Similarly, 147 constituencies supported the rotation of the office between the six geopolitical zones, while the majority of 210 opposed it. Three constituencies were undecided on the issue.

At the state level, the results indicated that Nigerians did not want the office of governor to rotate between the three senatorial districts either. One hundred and eight-one constituencies voted against the proposal, while 175 supported it. Four constituencies were undecided.

However, they supported retaining the present two-term tenure of four years for president and governors in the constitution.

They also rejected immunity for the President, Vice-President and Governors when it relates to criminal offences.

However, they backed immunity for the affected political office-holders on matters relating to “civil proceedings while in office”.

Two hundred and twenty-five constituencies supported amending Section 308 of the constitution to allow immunity to cover “only civil proceedings”, while 132 opposed it.

Nigerians also rejected the contentious issue of state police, according to the results.

The majority of 307 constituencies kicked against amending Section 214 (1) of the constitution to establish state police. Fifty-three constituencies supported state police.

On resource control, voters rejected a proposal to “implement the practice of federalism that allows states to control up to 50 per cent of their resources and pay the remainder to the Federation”.

While 123 constituencies supported resource control, the majority of 236 constituencies opposed it. Five others were undecided.

Other contentious issues voted on included financial autonomy for local government councils, independent candidature, voting rights for Nigerians in the Diaspora and parliamentary versus presidential system of government.

At the presentation ceremonies on Thursday, the Speaker of the House, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal, promised Nigerians that they would respect their views while considering the results.

He stated that the review process would continue to be “transparent”, adding that the House was open to criticisms and further suggestions.

JD:I don’t know which Nigerians this report refers to.This definitely is not the way to get the feelings of the public.the best way to approach this is to have a referendum in which the majority participate,anything short of this will be political masturbation.the constitutional reforms we need in this country are very strategic to the future of the country and we definitely cannot be left to just a few to decide,especially politicians who will as usual put their self interest in the front burner.Anything short of this will always bring us back to the drawing board where we started