The Chairman Senate Committee on Media and Information, Sen. Eyinnaya Abaribe, has debunked insinuations that the Senate is calling for the postponement of elections, insisting that members of the upper legislative chamber were only contributing to a motion raised on the security situation of the country.
He added that “after a debate, what usually comes next is the outcome of the resolution and in the resolution there was no mention of the postponement of the election.
“What the resolution stated was that we support the total declaration against the insurgents within the north east and the rest of Nigeria”.
Sen Abaribe further said the Senate has mandated its leadership to meet with the President “and work out whatever is needed for the prosecution of the total war against insurgents”.
He also noted that the request by President Jonathan to obtain a $1 billion loan to prosecute the war against terror “is receiving attention” explaining that “the process is that the request is sent to a committee; and in this case, two committees were requested to look into it and were given one week to come back with their report.
“The committees are the Committee of Finance and Committee of Foreign and Local Debt, because it is going to be a debt that the country will have to pay”, he said, adding that the Senate will debate on the resolution of the committees before deciding whether to approve the request.
He urged Nigerians to exercise patience as the Senate is trying to make sure the request goes through the proper channel to avoid approving the request illegally.
The Senate Spokesman also noted that “the position of the Senate is that we can no longer continue to feel that this is confined to a part of Nigeria” adding that “this affects each and every one of us within the country called Nigeria and there must be a national effort to deal with this”.
He however noted that “once you have given the President full war power, that will include both military and economic sanctions against anybody aiding and abetting the insurgents” insisting that “nothing is off the table”.
On the outcome of the National Conference, Senator Abaribe said the Senate is waiting for “presidential communication on what what has come from the conference; that is the process, and when we have an official communication from the president, in terms of either a bill or an amendment on the existing constitution, we will surely consider it”, he maintained, while speaking via phone on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.
A legal practitioner, Chukwuma Ezeala, however argued that some of the resolutions reached by the delegates at the conference are issues of policy which the executive arm of government can implement “because they do not infringe on the present constitution as we have it.
“These are things that will have to go into the amendment of the constitution”, he said, also on Sunrise Daily on Thursday.
He noted that there are two schools of thought debating over what should be done with the outcome of the National Conference, noting that, while some are of the opinion that the resolutions of the conference should be sent to the National Assembly for proper legislative action in accordance with our present constitution, others want it to be put to a referendum.
He stressed the importance of Sections 8 and 9 of the 1999 Constitution on the amendment of the same constitution, “which says that most parts of the Constitution can be amended by two third majority of the National Assembly but upon concurrence of two third states”.
He said states creation will be a serious aspect of the resolutions “for us to go into” because four-fifth will amend upon concurrence of two third of the states.
“The fact that most of the resolutions of the National Conference will also border on how the National Assembly works, how the State Assemblies work, how the governors work, touches the system”, Ezeala said, adding that, “I don’t see us making progress before the end of this (legislative) year because of elections”.
He said most of them will be trying to regain their seats in the assemblies and “that is why they left, during the recess, and are not thinking of anything because they want to be part of that election”.