Despite the good intention behind the convocation of the National Conference, decisions reached by it may amount to nothing if thereâ€™s no law for a referendum for Nigerians to endorse them, Senate Leader, Chief Victor Ndoma-Egba has said.
In an interview in Calabar, the Cross River Central Senatorial District representative said if the National Conference report were submitted to the National Assembly, it would be subjected to the normal in-depth study â€œbecause there is no provision in the 1999 constitution for a referendum.â€
He explained that the conference decisions may suffer a further devastating blow which may confine them to the shelves for want of amendment of the constitution to provide for a referendum, stressing that it has not been easy amending the document hence the fate of the outcome of the conference was hanging in the balance.
He disclosed that so many sections of the constitution were being considered for amendment given its shortcomings, but that the process was not easy considering the many consultations that have to be made and the need not to repeat the mistakes, which the military made when it fashioned out the statute book on its twilight.
Commenting on the alleged use of chemical weapons by terrorists in the country, Ndoma-Egba described the development as a frightening dimension and a big challenge to security operatives, noting that it was a good thing that the matter was being investigated to ascertain the veracity of the allegation.
â€œUse of chemical weapons in terrorism in Nigeria is a new development, which is frightening and should be checked. This is one allegation that should be thoroughly investigated. We should not encourage it. Security personnel should rise to the occasion,â€ he said.
He maintained that the bill sponsored by one of his colleagues seeking to shift the burden of proof of election malpractices/offences to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), could not see the light of the day because in law, he who asserts must prove, thus a lot of senators opposed it.
Reacting to the outcome of the Ekiti State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship primary election in which he was chairman of the screening committee, the lawmaker described the misgivings over its outcome as unfortunate, but urged the aspirants who lost to close ranks and work for the victory of Ayo Fayose in the interest of the party.
â€œDuring the screening exercise, it was obvious that we were going to have challenges. Out of the 18 governorship aspirants screened, only Fayose asked for the conduct of primary election. We asked the other aspirants, they each demanded for consensus candidate. But Fayose demanded that whoever emerges as consensus candidate, such a person should meet him at the primary election,â€ he said.
According to him, it was a good development that Adeyeye who was with the aggrieved party crossed over and was now working with Fayose to bring victory to the PDP, adding that Ekiti State was originally a PDP state except for the Court of Appeal judgment which set aside the victory to the advantage of the then ACN.
On calls for the extension of state of emergency in the affected states in the North-east by the National Assembly, the senator said the security realities on ground will determine their action and commended the Nigerian military for checking terrorism from assuming a national coverage.
Reacting to the famished political terrain of Cross River State despite the release of election timetable by the INEC, the Senate Leader explained that political power was not donated like that of attorney hence those who want power should work for it.
But he made it clear that historically, the establishment has not succeeded in installing its successor as only the candidate that the powers that be does not want to be governor that do win election. He does not see this trend changing in 2015.
Commenting on the inroad being made by the APC into Cross River State, he said the PDP was not moved but described the opposition as the fuel that drives democracy and enhances the performance of the incumbent government for the good of the society.
â€œBut let me say this: political inroad is when you have won election. The APC has a state secretariat in Calabar but thatâ€™s the level that they can go,â€ he said.