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Jonathan lauds NASS over constitution amendment

19 November 2012, 09:05

Abuja -  President Goodluck Jonathan on Sunday dismissed the idea of a sovereign national conference or referendum as a basis for determining the political stability of Nigeria.

He, however, commended the ongoing efforts of the National Assembly toward fashioning out an acceptable people’s constitution.

Jonathan made the statement while answering questions on the present Nigerian Constitution and the ongoing efforts to amend it by the National Assembly.

He said Nigerians perceived the 1999 Constitution as that of the military and hence their clamour for a people’s constitution.

“Regarding the question you asked on constitution amendment, it is a good development because from 1999 that we started implementing this constitution, the feelings of Nigerians was that the constitution was written by the military, it is not peoples' constitution and they are clamouring for Nigerians to write constitution for themselves.

“But, there are two issues because when a constitution has already been promulgated into law, the constitution itself sets guidelines on how the constitution could be amended and anything outside that becomes an issue.

“So, what the National Assembly is doing, going round the country, both the House of Representatives and the Senate, is the ideal thing to do, no matter the name called, whether it is public hearing or not, of course, the process of law making (is) under public hearing.”

The president expressed the hope that the ongoing public hearing would give the people the opportunity to Nigerians to contribute to the amendment of the constitution.

On the performance of the ruling party, the PDP, in recent elections across the country, Jonathan said the party was doing well.

“PDP is doing wonderfully well, ``it Is dangerous for PDP to win all the states in this country,” Jonathan said.

He said it was too early for him to start contemplating on whether to contest the 2015 presidential election or not.

“I plead with journalists that it is too early to ask a sitting president if he is contesting or not. If I say I am not contesting some of my ministers will resign and go because some of them are eminently qualified to contest.

“Give me till 2014 to decide, I don't want to distract members of my cabinet,” the president said.

Commenting on poverty eradication and job creation, he said he never promised to reduce poverty but ``I did promise to create wealth by making people self reliant. ‘’

He said the Federal Government was doing all it could to create additional jobs for unemployed youths in the country.

“We are working very hard on it. You cannot create jobs over night, we have to make the environment conducive for private sector to play key role.

“We have the YOUWIN programme and SURE-P to generate 260,000 employment annually,” Jonathan said.

 He said government would continue to stabilise power to boost economic activities in the country.

Jonathan described the presidential media chat as a positive development.

“This media chat will help us re-assess what we are doing well, change where necessary,” he said.

NAN

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