Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House of Representatives, on Saturday proposed that the extant definition of Federal Character in the Nigerian constitution be reviewed.
Gbajabiamila who made the remark while declaring open the Young Parliamentarians Forum (YPF) National Strategy Meeting and Retreat in Abuja, said the need has become more pertinent.
“In thinking outside the box, 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 in the constitution, Federal Character as it is, is limited to where you are from, like your ethnicity,” he told the gathering.
He added, “In other words, the Constitution says that appointment and all those other things shall be based on Federal Character and Federal Character as we know it now, we have the Igbos, we have the Hausas, the Yorubas; there should be a geographical spread.”
According to the lawmaker, the Federal Character is at variance with the nation’s realities as it limits national opportunities to geographical location alone without consideration for gender, persons living with disabilities, and age classification.
He challenged young legislators on charting a course in preparation for the Nigerian youth taking the mantle of leadership at all levels of government in the country.
The speaker believes it is time to expand the definition of Federal Character because the character of a nation is not just based on tribe but on religion, ethnic background, gender, and age. “So, when you are talking about Federal Character, you look at all those things and they are what make up the Federal Character,” he said.
Gbajabiamila commended the YPF for the initiative of taking up youth matters and challenged the young lawmakers on proffering answers to some pertinent questions.
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