Constitution Review Hearing ends in Uproar in Ondo as Senators clash
There was uproar on Thursday at the South West Zonal Public Hearing of the review of the 1999 Constitution in Akure, the Ondo State Capital as Senator Opeyemi Bamidele described comments by his colleague, Senator Nicholas Tofowomo as ‘views of a member of the opposition party’.
It was gathered that Senator Tofowomo had lamented the high level of inequality in the allocation of funds to various uses in Nigeria between the North and the South.
Tofowomo had alleged that any money added to any budget presented by the President usually went to the Northern part of the country while the Southern part grapples for funds, adding however that the southerners are like slaves to their counterparts.
“We are all slaves. You need to wake up and shine your eyes. If N3trn is added to the budget, that money goes to the North”.
“You go to the Senate, you see three, fourth term Senators from the North but here once a person is elected, the people are already looking for a replacement. Unfortunately, the influence of a one-term Senator is always limited; Tofowomo added.
But reacting to Tofowomo’s comment, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele said, “this is not the views of the Senate. But the views of a member of the opposition party’.
This led to an uproar at the venue with Stakeholders at the sitting shouted ‘No’, ‘No’ to reject Senator Bamidele’s comment on Tofowomo.
Senator Opeyemi later appealed to participants at the venue to calm down; he assured them that the Senate Committee would submit a non-partisan report.
He also said the amended 1999 constitution would be ready by December this year.
Senator Ajayi Boroffice who led Akure Centre of the public hearing, simply said, “what Senator Tofowomo said is his personal opinion, not that of this committee or the senate.”
Meanwhile, 28 memoranda were presented to the committee from Ekiti, Ondo and Osun States.
The Deputy Speaker of the Osun State House of Assembly, Hon Olufemi Gbogbola, who presented the position of the state called for amendment o section 91, 112 and 114.
He called for an increased number of seats in the State House of Assemblies and a return to the regional government.
The NDD called for the amendment of Section 275 to allow for the establishment of Shariah Court and Shariah Court of Appeal in every State of the Federation.
Meanwhile, reactions have trailed what happened at the venue with many of the participants demanding sincerity of the exercise.
“APC and PDP should come together to fix the mess in this country. Party interests must not override the truth. If not, this exercise will just become another political jamboree, said Mr Alo Martins, one of the participants at the event.
Another participant, Mr Adeyehun Joshua, said that he doubted the sincerity of the Senate Committee on the review of the 1999 Constitution under the ruling APC.
According to him, “The majority of the APC Lawmakers are just playing politics with serious issues threatening the unity of the country. It’s obvious some of our Senators are not ready to say the truth, and as such, the call for the corrections of our defective relationships where necessary might be an exercise in futility”.