By Ifeanyi Olannye
Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, Deputy President of the Senate, has cautioned the All Progressives Congress(APC) against past mistakes of the opposition, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Omo-Agege gave the charge in an address at the APC South-South Town Hall Meeting for Constitution Review in Asaba.
According to him, the move to review the APC constitution was to make it a people-oriented party that created equal opportunities for all members.
He noted that the decision of the national leadership of the party to review the party’s constitution was born out of the imperative of receiving contributions at the grassroots levels to make a working document that would provide equal opportunities for all.
“To this end, the Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), ably led by Gov. Mai Mala Buni has underlined the sacrosanct need for reviewing the party constitution to meet the current realities of nation’s political space and increase the need for intraparty relationship and efficiency.
“History beacons on our great party. It is the first-ever opposition party to unseat an incumbent party in the life of our nation, Nigeria.
“Fellow party men, remember that the PDP had confidently said that it would be in power for 60 years. It took the resolve and determination of a strong-willed nation and its people to upstage that confidence.
“Now there is a lesson that we must bear in our subconscious and which should give centrality to our thoughts and deeds,” he said.
” Nigeria has shown that it has come of age in terms of political maturity; politicians and political parties must deliver on their mandates and their promises or face removal, just as it happened in 2015.
“Yet, politicians must be given the enablement to so perform. This is why we must provide a working manual (Constitution) that is fully integrative not only of the obligation and responsibilities of party men and women but also of their rights and privileges.”
The senator added that the party should be guided at all times by a people-oriented constitution.
“Such that as we work, the APC would be so positioned to provide an irresistible appeal to all persons desirous of inclusive and purposeful political participation,” he said.
Thereafter, he charged the Constitution Review Committee, to consider all areas that had been contentious in the exiting party constitution.
“By no order of importance, the first is the need to strengthen the organs of the party with clear cut and non-overlapping duties amongst the organs.
“Another is that of power devolution down the grassroots. Our party today has 12 million Nigerians strong and growing, the review needs to give specific functions to the zonal structures of the party such that power trickles down to the ward levels,” he said.
Meanwhile, the South-South constitution review town hall meeting would be more valuable if deliberations would drive inclusiveness of all ethnic nationalities and all interest in line with the major burning issues that are of interest to the party.
“Beside engendering all-inclusiveness, the amended constitution should go a long way to stem the web of recurring legal tussles between party members that creates bad blood,” Omo-Agege said.
In his remark, Prof. Tahir Mamman, Committee Chairman, assured that the committee would deliver on its mandate of producing a working document for the party, adding that the gaps created by the existing party constitution would be addressed.
“The gaps created by the present constitution has caused a lot of conflicts, the review of the constitution should be a model.
“For us in APC, we are an open book, we want this party to be owned by Nigerians. We are here to involve the grassroots in the constitution amendment, a synergy with the grassroots on how they want the party structured,” he said.