The need to review the existing definition of federal character in the Nigerian constitution has caught the attention of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.
The Speaker made the remark on Saturday while declaring open the Young Parliamentarians Forum (YPF), National Strategy Meeting and Retreat in Abuja.
Stating the obvious he said, ‘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.’
“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 informed participants.
The lawmaker said the federal character is not in tune with the current realities in the country as it limits national opportunities to geographical location alone without consideration for gender, persons living with disabilities, and age classification.
“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.
He challenged young legislators on charting a new course in preparation for the Nigerian youth to take over the mantle of leadership at all levels of government in the country.
He commended the YPF for the initiative of taking up youth matters and challenged the young lawmakers on proffering answers to some pertinent questions.
The Clerk to the National Assembly (CNA), Olatunde Ojo who was at the meeting said that there was no better time than now for the retreat considering the nationwide youth restiveness that followed the #EndSARS protests. He urged the group to chart a result-oriented course that would be of benefit to Nigerian youths.
In his address to welcome resource persons and attendees, the Chairman YPF, Kabir Tukura, stated that the forum had visited the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, and the Speaker where agreement was reached for the forum to generate a white paper for submition to President Muhammadu Buhari.
He submitted that the voice of Nigerian youths should matter in the country and the youth of Nigeria deserve to be heard and treated fairly.