By Ignatius Okorocha
Deputy President of Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege on Tuesday declared that the much-awaited zonal public hearing on the review of the 1999 Constitution would hold from May 26 to 27.
According Omo-Agege, ” The event which would simultaneously hold across 12 state capitals in Nigeria, would witness two public hearings per geopolitical zone.
“Also, a national public hearing is expected to hold in Abuja, the nation’s capital.”
Speaking while hosting members of the Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEPAD) in his office on Tuesday, led by its National Coordinator, Chino Obiagwu (SAN), Chairman, Senate Committee on Constitution Review, Omo-Agege called on those who have already submitted memoranda to speak to the documents at the events.
The Deputy President of the Senate pointed out that while Jos and Minna would host the public hearings in the North Central Geopolitical Zone, that of North East and North West would hold in Bauchi and Gombe as well as Kaduna and Sokoto respectively.
Similarly, that of South East would hold in Owerri and Enugu, even as South-South and South West would be hosted in Port Harcourt and Asaba as well as Akure and Lagos respectively.
Represented by his Chief of Staff, Dr. Otive Igbuzor, the Delta Central lawmaker assured that women’s interests in the new Constitution Review would be protected.
On the inclusion of Affirmative Action in the constitution, he called on the group to reach out to elected representatives and groups from other geopolitical zones in the country, noting that they they were key in determining if such demands could scale through in the ongoing constitution amendment exercise.
“You will have also observed that on each of the Constitution Review that has been done in the past, Affirmative Action and increased women representation have always been on the agenda. But in the past we have not been able to muster the numbers required to effect constitutional change.
“However, in every exercise, we have seen increasing numbers of legislators’ support the process. So, the challenge is how to reach the critical threshold during this process.
“Your work is quite cut out for you. But rest assured that we are partners in this business,” he said.
Earlier, the National Coordinator, Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEPAD), Chino Obiagwu (SAN), called for increased women participation in politics.
According to him, the group has already submitted six proposals to the panel, explaining that if passed, women would occupy their rightful place in both elective and appointive positions in the country.
“We solicit your support and leverage on your influence in advocating for constitutional amendment and other legal reforms geared towards increasing women’s political participation in Nigeria,” he said.