Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN Highlights Missing Areas In Constitutional Amendments

Legal expert, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa has praised the recent accent to sixteen bills that the National Assembly just sent to President Muhammadu Buhari.

But, Adegboruwa claimed that the most recent constitutional amendment fell short of Nigerians’ expectations in a statement headlined “The Tokenism of Devolution” on Friday.

This week, the President approved certain bills and vetoed nineteen others, particularly those that gave the National and State Assemblies the authority to call the president, governors, and other officials before them.

However, Ahmad Lawan, the president of the Senate, had stated that the National Assembly would intensify its efforts to ascertain the basis for the President’s denial.

The legal expert also slammed the opposition of the state governors to the autonomy of local governments, a development he described as retrogressive.

Adegboruwa, therefore, appealed to the state governments to reconsider their position in order to allow local governments discharge their duties effectively.

He said: “The centralization of education by the Constitution has no place in a federation, whereby the federal government will determine the mode of admission of students into a university established and funded by a State. There can be no basis under our present circumstance, for sustaining the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, which destroys merit as the basis of seeking and acquiring knowledge, by cooking up figures for admission into tertiary institutions in the name of cut off marks. This is one of the frustrating factors for our youths, who are daily exiting Nigeria to other climes for greener pastures.

“Then of course is the issue of resource control. The ninth Assembly should not have missed the opportunity to make a statement for the existence of true federalism, unity and equity. People should be allowed to take their destiny into their hands and to determine what to do with the resources that God has endowed them with.

“It is difficult to imagine that governors of the states still oppose autonomy for the local governments, which are the agents of development closest to the people. Money cannot be the root of this retrogression, given the monumental losses that our people have been subjected to over the years.

“Yes, it has been touted in the past that the issue of joint account between the states and local governments has been the bane of development and autonomy for the latter. Presently, the local governments only exist on paper, as no activity of any meaningful description is going on in those locations.

“The duties assigned to the local governments under the Constitution, such as the control of markets, cemeteries, billboards, radio and television licences, environmental sanitation, waste disposal, road construction, etc have all been taken over by the states. This has in turn crippled the local governments such that most of them cannot pay the salaries of their workers.

“I appeal to the governments to please review their position on the issue of local government autonomy in order to place this third tier of government in the best position to discharge their responsibilities under the Constitution.

“In all, what we have in the name of constitutional amendment falls short of our expectations and indeed the promises made by the ruling party in its own manifesto. There is still time to do the needful, before handing over.”