by Rachel Ogbu
On Wednesday, President of the Senate, David Mark admitted while receiving the Gender and Constitutional Reform Network in the Senate that religious sentiment played a role in the final outcome of the voting on the clause but that the public misunderstood the Senate.
He explained that the Senate in not recognising the fact that its members had actually proposed to delete the sub-section, without any prompting from the public.
“I want to appeal to all Nigerians that now that we know that this is not receiving the acceptance of majority of Nigerians and people are getting educated, that there is no religious connotation, there is no reason why we cannot revisit it. The important thing is that if we take a step, which is wrong, we can retrace it,” he said.
“I think the problem is not whether we can still revisit Section 29 (4b) or not, that is not the issue; it is whether we can get the number of votes to be able to delete it. With all due respect, the entire Senate is being castigated.
“There was and there is still a big misunderstanding of what the Senate is trying to do. We are on the side of the people. That was why we put it that we should delete it; that is what the people want. We, in fact, were the first to take the step in the direction of deleting it. It didn’t go through because of other tangential issues that were brought to the floor of the Senate that are totally inconsequential and unconnected.
“When we voted at first, we had 85 votes and we were 101 during plenary. Eighty five voted, and about six abstained. There was hardly any dissenting voice. But once it got mixed up with so many other issues, we couldn’t get the 85 anymore. But I think the castigation outside is done out of misunderstanding by the general public.
“But a religious connotation was brought into it, it became a very sensitive issue. You must agree with me that in this country, we try as much as possible not to bring in issues that involve faith to this chamber.
“I think the bottom line is when people get sufficiently educated, we can do a rethink and if the Senate agrees, we can then go back and see whether we can get the required number once more, because that is the solution.”
Devaan says: Very well spoken sir and thank you for listening to the voice of Nigerians. This IS my idea of a democracy. I salute the big masquerade himself!
Culled from ynaija.com