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‘To address gaps in 2023 polls’ — Abbas says constitution review will include electoral reforms

‘To address gaps in 2023 polls’ — Abbas says constitution review will include electoral reforms
February 26
16:44 2024

Tajudeen Abbas, speaker of the house of representatives, says the current constitutional amendment will include electoral reforms to address “gaps” identified in the 2023 elections.

Abbas spoke on Monday at the inauguration of the house of representatives committee on constitutional amendment.

“Critical areas for your (constitutional review committee) consideration include implementing comprehensive electoral reforms to address the gaps identified in the aftermath of the 2023 general elections, strengthening the enforceability of legislative instruments, and institutional strengthening for greater accountability, among others,” the speaker said.

“These areas are crucial for reinforcing our democracy and ensuring that the governance structure meets the needs and aspirations of all Nigerians.”

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Abbas said the constitutional review under “this 10th national assembly will be the most comprehensive compared to the previous assemblies”.

He said the some of amendments that will be considered include devolution of powers, state police, enhancement of fiscal federalism through local government autonomy, recognising and assigning constitutional roles for traditional institutions, and promoting inclusivity.

The speaker said the gender bills rejected in the 8th assembly will be reconsidered to “give greater gender equity and women representation into appointive and elective positions”.

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“I urge you to revisit the issue of additional or reserved seats for women across legislative bodies, twinning in joint tickets and conferring citizenship on foreigners married to Nigerian women,” he said.

“I encourage members of the committee and all Nigerians not to shy away from the complexities and the debates that will arise during this process.

“Instead, let us embrace them as vital components of a vibrant democracy. The discussions and disagreements are not signs of weakness but rather indications of our strength and diversity.

“They remind us that we are a nation of many voices, each with something valuable to contribute to our collective future.

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“However, in making recommendations and proposals that potentially have far-reaching impacts, such as state police, I strongly recommend that we adopt a scientific approach grounded in empirical evidence rather than ideology, personal beliefs, or political expediency.

“I also challenge us to go beyond traditional and generic prescriptions and explore gradualism in lawmaking with the understanding that social change can be achieved in small, discrete increments rather than in abrupt strokes or grand solutions.

“This gradual process will allow us to pilot innovative solutions, engage in meaningful experimentation, and gather concrete data and facts to inform our decisions.”

Abbas said this will ensure that reforms are not only effective but also adapted to the unique needs and challenges of the nation.

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