President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday said his government is ready to play a critical role in the constitutional amendment process without usurping the powers of the National Assembly.
In his Democracy Day broadcast to the nation, the president acknowledged the ongoing agitation for constitutional amendments across the country.
He said that although, the National Assembly has the constitutional power to amend the constitution, the government will also be willing to play a critical role in that regard without prejudice to such power.
He said: “In responding to the challenges that this period imposes on us, Government also recognises the need to acknowledge notions of marginalisation and agitations for constitutional amendments among various segments of our population.
“While this government is not averse to constitutional reform as part of our nation building process, everyone must understand that the primary responsibility for constitutional amendments lies with the National Assembly.
“This body which, as I said, is the arm of government responsible for constitutional changes has concluded the preliminary stages of amending and improving our constitution in a way that the majority of Nigerians will be happy with.
“Government is, however, willing to play a critical role in the constitutional amendment process without usurping the powers of the National Assembly in this regard.”
Buhari said Nigeria is yet to achieve its potential as a nation, but said every effort is geared towards that direction.
The president urged Nigerians to cooperate with government in ensuring that the country overcome all her challenges.
“As a nation we have come very far from where we started and we are getting incrementally closer to where we ought to be.
“Overcoming the present challenges is but one of a necessary process that we have to undergo as a nation so that we can come out stronger. The day I joined the Nigerian Army I was prepared to lay down my life for Nigeria.
“As your President I remain ever committed to upholding and defending Nigeria’s corporate existence.
“As with all democracies we will always be going through improvement processes in our desire to reach the goal of a mature democracy, a strong, evolved and integrated nation state to be reckoned with globally.
In the last two years we have witnessed and overcome a good number of testy challenges that would have destroyed other nations, especially relating to our collective security.
“The indefatigable CAN DO Spirit of the Nigerian has sustained us and would keep pushing us to put these challenges behind us.
“Unfortunately some of these challenges came in the shape of violent outrages leading to the loss of lives of many of our dear compatriots and the destruction of some of our infrastructure, including those devoted to improving our democratic processes.
“I will be the first to admit that in spite of our efforts and achievements which are there for all to see, there is still much more to be done and we are doing our best in the face of scarce resources and galloping population growth rate that consistently outstrips our capacity to provide jobs for our populace.
“Our over-all economic target of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years is our goal notwithstanding COVID-19,” the president said.
Buhari noted that June 12 was chosen by his government as a mark of honour to those who died in the quest to have the present democracy in place.
He also said that his government is committed to free, fair and credible election to sustain the democratic dispensation.
He said: “When this administration decided to change our Democracy Day from 29th May to June 12th in my first tenure, it was not only to honour the sacrifices of the men and women of our country who fought for the return to democracy but also to demonstrate our commitment to satisfy the aspirations of the people and creating an environment for democracy to be an accepted way of life.
“As your President, I remain committed to providing an enabling environment for a free, fair and credible electoral system under my tenure.
“However, you need to play your part by getting involved at any level you can supporting a democratic system that works for all and not for a section or a select few and demand accountability from your elected leaders.
“My commitment to bequeathing a sustainable democratic culture remains resolute, my pursuit of a fair society remains unshaken and my desire to see that Nigeria remains a country for each and every one of us has never been stronger.”