7 January 2013

Nigeria: Constitution Amendment - Opinion Poll Would Check Hijack By Elites - Ekweremadu

The Deputy President of the Senate and Chairman, Senate Committee on Constitution Review, (CRC) Senator Ike Ekweremadu yesterday said the Committee opted to adopt the online opinion polls to ensure transparency and also stop the hijack of the constitution amendment process by the elites.

He therefore called on Nigerians to take advantage of the ongoing Short Message Service(SMS) and online opinion poll in the ongoing constitution review project to air their views on critical matters on the Nigerian state.

According to a release signed by his media aide, Uche Anichukwu, Ekweremadu made the call when he debriefed the media and publicity team of the Committee in Abuja on Saturday.

Ekweremadu stated that the opinion poll was in keeping with the promise and commitment of the Committee to promote popular participation, inclusivity, and transparency in the ongoing constitution amendment process.

He emphasised that the major aims of the poll were to "demystify constitution-making, get more Nigerians involved, and correct the wrong perception of constitution-making as an elite's affair."

He said, "We want to discourage the usual situation where a vocal and privileged few expropriate the voices of the rest of the people, foist their personal opinions and narrow interests on the polity, claiming same to be the views of their people.

"We took cognisance of the appreciable teledensity in the country that makes the GSM service available to an average citizen and thought that we should seize the platform to give the Nigerian masses yet another novel opportunity beyond the public hearings we conducted at national, zonal and constituency levels to make inputs into matters that concern both them and their posterity."

Noting satisfaction with the responses from Nigerians so far, he said the SMS voting was "free as the Committee had already prepaid for every text to the short code."

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