The people of Imo State have spoken with one voice by expressing dismay over the non-inclusion of state creation in the proposed amendment of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, describing the effort of the National Assembly as flawed.
This feeling was made known at the public hearing organised by Imo State House of Assembly, Owerri at the Sam Mbakwe Hall of the Imo Concorde Hotel, yesterday. Although the event recorded low turnout, every speaker pointed at the omission of the state creation, an issue that was described as very sensitive by the South East legislators.
Addressing the audience, Speaker of Imo State House of Assembly, Chief Goodluck Opiah, noted that history was being made as the people were called upon to make input into the Nigerian Constitution.
He recalled that the Nigerian Constitution had ab initio been the product of the colonial masters and the military, and enjoined the people to feel free and make their own contributions.
Also speaking, the Assembly Committee Chairman on Judiciary, Hon. Ikenna Emeh, said that the Constitution amendment by the National Assembly had undergone the necessary processes, adding that the public hearing was borne out of the oversight function of the state Assembly to make people participate in the amendment.
However, the bill for an act to alter the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 and for other matters connected thereto, 2010 as the harmonised document was titled contained 50 sections of the amendments of the constitution.
Prominent amongst the issues raised in the amendment include: indictment of public office holders which had been abused by some chief executives of some states in the country, independent candidacy, freedom of association in terms of cross carpeting into different parties and the foreclosure of 1991 census.
Chairman of Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Imo State chapter, Chief Fidel Onyeneke, lamented that the National Assembly ignored NUJ and NLC in the amendment. He faulted the process through which the constitution got to the present stage without considering the position of the two unions which he described as disadvantaged in the 1999 Constitution.