This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria: Constitution Review - Senate Moves to Recommend Best Practices

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Constitution Review, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has said that the committee has concluded plans to recommend best practices in federalism and democracy across the world to Nigerians.

The recommendation according to him is sequel to a two-day study on "The American Federalism" by selected members of the committee at the weekend in Washington DC, United States of America.

In a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media, Mr. Uche Anichukwu, the Deputy Senate President, said that the study tours which had earlier taken some committee members to Canada and currently to USA and India, were being co-sponsored by development partners, namely, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID), Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), and the European Union (EU) to help Nigeria benefit from international best practices towards strengthening her federalism and democratic governance.

Ekweremadu observed that the committee needed further information from democracies and countries operating federalism such as those of the USA and Canada which he said were much older than Nigeria as well as those at relatively the same level of development with nations like India and Brazil.

He said: "This is a globalising world; no country can live in isolation, hence problems are easily handled these days because you can easily find examples from places on how they have been able to resolve their own problems.

"If you try to be too indigenous and ingenious the way you do your own, you may be wobbling in the dark; it is important for you to see how others are doing their things and getting better results. So that is why it is important for us to study those areas and ensure that we follow the best examples without also losing sight of our local peculiarities."

The Deputy Senate President explained that USA was a very complex society like Nigeria, saying the question to ask is, "How come that as complex and vast as it is, they are able to secure the territory of America while we are facing dire security challenges."

He regretted that Canada which remained a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic society were able to live together as one while Nigeria had not been able to manage her diversities.

"So, practical experiences on things that are happening there which are not happening in our own clime are the things we need to share with the rest of our colleagues and Nigerians to enable them to make an informed opinion when we start treating the issues," he emphasised.

Meanwhile, the study which has been described by Senator Ekweremadu as highly resourceful and incisive, was facilitated by the International Law Institute, Washington DC and covered critical areas as distribution of powers, fiscal federalism, local governments, citizenship rights, legislative drafting in constitution amendment and the immunity of chief executives, among others.

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