ABUJA, Nigeria – Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has called for a review of extant federal character laws.
He spoke on Saturday in Abuja at the Young Parliamentarians Forum (YPF) National Strategy Meeting and Retreat.
Gbajabiamila said as presently defined in the constitution, the federal character is at variance with the nation’s realities as it limits opportunities to geographical location.
The lawmaker said the existing provisions did not consider gender, persons living with disabilities and age classification.
He urged young legislators to chart a course that would push the youths to take the mantle of leadership at all levels of government.
“I think we should consider an amendment in the constitution to the definition of federal character. Federal Character within the context of appointments, infrastructure and the rest of it in the constitution, as it is, is limited to where you are from, like your ethnicity.
“The constitution says that appointment and all those other things shall be based on Federal Character. Federal Character as we know it now, we have the Igbos, we have the Hausas, the Yorubas. There should be a geographical spread.
“It’s time we expand the definition of Federal Character, the character of a nation is not just based on your tribe. It’s based on religion, where you are from, sex, age. So when you are talking about Federal Character, you look at all those things and they are what make up the Federal Character.
“You talk about so and so percentage of women, so and so percentage of youth. That is the true meaning of Federal character and I think that is what should be reflected in the constitution”, the Surulere representative added.