Senate may revisit restructuring – Saraki

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Nigerian Senate

The Senate may revisit its rejection, last week, of the devolution of powers bill to the states under the ongoing Constitutional Review, Senate President Bukola Saraki said yesterday.

The Senate has come under attacks from many Nigerians for its decision to reject more powers to the states.

But speaking to reporters in Ilorin shortly after receiving a delegation of the ‘I Support Not So Young to Run’ group, Saraki said all hope is not lost on the matter as the Senate might review its stand on resumption from recess.

He blamed the situation on what he called misunderstanding of the concept of devolution of power.

“The fact that devolution lost that day does not mean that after the recess, after a lot of consultations, it will not scale through,” he said.

Saraki added, “As you know that in the Senate we have three senators representing each state of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Whatever we do there we must engage and have a feedback from our constituencies.

“I believe that if this constitutional amendment had come about eight months ago, devolution would have passed easily. But, I think we must be honest with ourselves that presently, there is a lot of mistrust in the country.

“The air is highly polluted. Let us be very frank and that blame must be all round. What happened was that a lot of people misread or misunderstood or were suspicious of what devolution of power was all about.

“Whether it was restructuring in one way or another kind of restructuring. And Senators made a lot of appeals that they were yet to consult with their constituencies. And you can see with what is happening, I think there was a meeting in Kaduna where it was clear that certain parts of the country wanted more time to understand what devolution is all about.

“It is clear that not all senators were on board. My advice is that we cannot bully those senators that were not on board as this country belongs to all of us.

“Nobody can rattle another person out of the country. What we must do is dialogue, and let all understand that it is for the making of a modern Nigeria and that it is not in any way going to undermine any part of the country.”

He appealed for calm from those who feel disappointed by the development, saying: “the majority of Nigerians must be on the same page. Even if half of the country wants it, it will not scale through. What we can do is to lobby and cajole the other percentage that is required.

“What I am saying in essence is that we have not foreclosed the devolution of powers bill. Nothing is foreclosed in this exercise. It was defeated as at that day but it does not mean it will be defeated tomorrow.”

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