The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has stressed the need to consider an amendment to the definition of Federal Character in the nation’s Constitution.
Gbajabiamila stated this yesterday, in Abuja, while declaring open the national Strategy Meeting of The Young Parliamentarian Forum (YPF).
He said: “I have tried to think outside the box on how to accommodate the young and the women without offending the very provision of the Constitution that says there shall be no discrimination based on sex.
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“In doing this, I think we should consider an amendment in the Constitution to the definition of Federal Character, because when we talk about Federal Character within the context of appointments, infrastructure and the rest of it, Federal Character as it is, is limited to ethnicity. In other words, the Constitution says appointment and all those other things shall be based on Federal Character, which as we know it now, we have the Igbos, the Hausas and the Yorubas.
“There should be a geographical spread. I think it’s time we expand the definition of Federal Character because the character of a nation is not just based on the tribe. It is also based on religion, sex and age. So, when you talk about Federal Character, you look at all those things and they are what make up the Federal Character…
On the issue of Constitutional Review, he said: “To have a youth representative in parliament, I find that very interesting, very smart on the part of Hon Tukura, who asked for representation on the constitutional review committee. I told him that the composition of the constitutional review committee, as it is today, is probably 80 per cent young men and women. But having said that, we can’t ask for too much for the youth, and we will be putting in a representative specifically to represent youths.
“The House suspended plenary to consider the Budget, which we do yearly to give time to pass the budget to maintain our January to December budget cycle. But yes, I intend to reconvene the House to consider a couple of very important things that will affect Nigerians, such as the Electoral Law, the PIB and more importantly, the Bills that are already in the system concerning youths…”