Constitution review: Adamawa Unity Forum advocates community-based federal system

A group, Adamawa Unity Forum for Good Governance, has advocated a community-based federal system and a clear constitutional clause for an unquestionable integrity for public office holders.

The group made the demand at the North East Zonal public hearing on the review of the 1999 Constitution by the House of Representatives Committee in Yola, Adamawa state recently.

The copy of the group’s submission, which was made available to Blueprint in Abuja on Wednesday,  was signed by  Dr. Umar Ardo,  Dr. Abubakar Alkali Fari; Hon. Sadiq Ibrahim Dasin; Mr. Shem D. Banjiram; Alh. Usman Ibrahim; Dr. Ahmadu Shehu;  Alh. Ibrahim Njidda; and Hon. Lawan Abubakar.

According to the group, with the system, communities will run their own affairs, while participatory democracy would thereby be engendered.

 It said: “Since it is now obvious that our political and administrative systems at all levels do not provide the desired results of good governance for which they were created as current constitution gives almost all powers at the centre to the detriment of the periphery, restructuring, readjusting or repositioning the system is necessary.

“This means supporting the following:- Devolution of powers, responsibilities and resources down to the community level, beyond States and LGs, as a defined and organized level of governmental system emanating from communities in a bottom-up progression.

“ To establish a general framework of a community-based federal system, with the community serving as a chief unit of local administration. This way, federating units and territorial divisions will be localized according to peculiar circumstances of our people.

“This way, communities will become organized, engaged, active, cohesive and good. Because communities will be running their own affairs participatory democracy would thereby be engendered.

“In essence, governance should be made to start from the community level where each community will be entrusted with certain responsibilities, powers, authorities and resources for the purpose of securing, developing and maintaining itself’’.

The group also proposed a constitutional clause for qualification to hold public offices be amended, stating that no person shall qualify to hold and exercise powers and duties of any public office in Nigeria except such a person is of unquestionable integrity.

“In order to ensure that capable people with the right skill sets and character are placed in position of public service, we propose a constitutional clause for qualification to hold public offices be amended requiring that: “no person shall qualify to hold and exercise powers and duties of any public office (whether elective, appointive or bureaucratic) in Nigeria except such a person is of unquestionable integrity”.

“No doubt, having such a clear constitutional clause will help in ensuring that only persons of good character, integrity and competence are put in charge of public institutions at all levels and organizations’’, the group said.