By Ifeanyi Nwoko
The President of the Senate Dr. Bukola Saraki has said that the senate has laid the foundation for a new and better Nigeria by approving 29 bills in the ongoing Constitution amendment process.
Saraki who spoke at the closing of electronic voting on the proposed amendments to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria commended his colleagues for passing the recommended amendments.
“I want to thank all our colleagues. I want to really commend and appreciate the efforts of our Deputy Senate President and all members of the Constitution Review Committee.
“By these 29 Bills, Distinguished Senators, I will say that we have laid a new foundation for a new Nigeria that will be more committed, create opportunities for our young people and place us firmly among the nations of the world that are really prepared for the years ahead.
“What we have done today definitely is to lay the foundation for a far-reaching reform of our political, economic and social development.
“To be part of that history is a great honour for all of us and I want to thank you, my colleagues. May God Almighty bless Nigeria,” he said.
He said that the Senate will be remembered by posterity for having kept its promise to amend the Constitution and by concluding is own process in record time.
Itemising some of the amendments that had been approved by the upper legislative chamber, Saraki said that t was worthy of naote that the Senate by its actions has opened up the road for younger people to contest elective positions.
“We have addressed the issue of saving money earned by the Federation which has always been an issue in this country for many years.
“The fact is that as a nation we now have a constitution that makes it paramount for the country to save for the rainy days.
“We have also by the amendments shown our commitment to the fight against corruption by providing for separation and financial autonomy for the offices of the Accountant General, Auditor-General and particularly, the Attorney General.
“Also, by the work we have done today, we have helped to improve administration at the local government level which will strengthen our democracy by and large, ensure more credible elections by some of the provisions that we have passed.
“More importantly, we have introduced constitutional provisions that would help our judiciary in timely dispensation of Justice,” he said.
Part of the amendments which the Senate approved are: granting financial autonomy to State assemblies, Judiciary and Local Governments, abolishing local government care taker committees and reducing the age requirements to contest elections.
Other amendments which the Senate approved include: inclusion of former Presidents of the Senate and House Speakers who were not impeached to the Council of State and changing the name of the Nigerian Police Force to the Nigerian Police.