By Mumini AbdulKareem
Senate President and Chairman of National Assembly, Dr. BukolaSaraki, weekend assured Nigerians that the defeated bill on devolution of powers still has chances of being passed again as part of the amendment to the 1999 Constitution after federal legislators resume from recess.
Saraki gave the assurance in Ilorin while speaking with newsmen shortly after receiving a delegation of the #NotTooYoungToRun group in the state.
The Senate President traced the defeat of the devolution of powers bill to the current wave of hate speeches across the country.
He added that the current mistrust among Nigerians also contributed to the defeat of the bill.
Saraki said some stakeholders had misunderstood the intent of the proposed amendments in the bill as a clever way of introducing restructuring and were not ready to back such without proper consultations with their constituents.
The #NotTooYoungToRun group, led by its state coordinator, OlasupoAbideen had visited the Senate President to express gratitude over the passage of the NotTooYoungToRun bill and solicited his support for the remaining part of the legislative process to make the bill a reality.
Olasupo appreciated Saraki and members of the 8th Senate for their interest in the future of the youth which made them to pass the bill.
He recalled that agitation for the passage of the bill started in 2012, adding that the Nigerian youths will forever remain grateful to Saraki for the support.
In his response, Saraki said the fact that the bill was defeated once was no reason to conclude the battle had been lost in the legislative process and tradition adding that more consultation will be made.
“We must be honest with ourselves, presently there is a lot of mistrust in the country, the air is very polluted and to be frank, the blame must go all round.
“I think what happened was that a lot of people misread or misunderstood or were suspicious of what the devolution was all about; whether it was the same thing as restructuring in another way. And they made a lot of appeal that we had not consulted with our constituencies and you can see what is happening; there was a meeting in Kaduna yesterday where it was clear that certain part of the country wanted more time to understand what restructuring is for discussion.
“So it’s clear that not all senators were on board and we cannot bully or stampede them, because at the end the day this country belong to all of us. What we must do is dialogue and I want to appeal for calmness and I’m sure that by the time we come back from recess, people generally would have a better understanding that devolution as regards some of the issues that were there, is not a threat to any part of the country and I’m hopeful.
You can see it was not just in the senate, it also didn’t scale through in the House of Reps. But I’m confident that it will happen. Nothing is foreclosed in this exercise; you don’t foreclose passage of bill. We must have a good understanding of how parliament works; The gender bill was defeated in not being brought into the constitution but what was not reported is that they got a victory in that they got an undertaking that what was defeated would be included in the gender bill.