Saturday, November 28, 2020

Nigerians advised to sustain Clamour for a new and people-centered constitution



As the debate over the acceptability of the 1999 continues, one clear issue is that many people are worried about several portions of the document which they say cannot protect the interest of the ordinary citizen.

Orange FM’s Olumide Adeluwoye reports that there are several agitations seeking amendment to the Constitution.

There have been various alterations to the 1999 constitution ranging from the efforts of the Sixth Assembly (2007-2011) to the Seventh Assembly (2011-2015) which undertook a constitution review process, but which ran into a logjam despite the huge amount of state resources deployed into the process.


Eighth Assembly (2015-2019) also commenced the review process with the establishment of two separate ad hoc committees in the House of Representatives and the Senate in January 2016.

The Assembly decided to adopt a piecemeal approach to the constitution review process, with each proposed amendment presented in separate bills to avert the fate of the last amendment proposals that were rejected.

A total of 46 bills, covering a wide range of issues were eventually considered.

Some of the amendments include the reduction of eligibility ages to run for office, the introduction of independent candidacy, timelines for the appointment of commissioners and ministers, enhanced autonomy for local governments and state legislatures and the allocation of funds to the state judiciary as a first line charge from the consolidated account.

However other proposals including quotas for the representation of women in the national and state cabinets, the devolution of powers to states, and the separation of the office of the attorney general from the ministry of justice failed to scale through

Legal practitioners, Sola Ajisafe and Patrick Fasuan said there is need for sustained political will on the part of all stakeholders to achieve the desired goal.

According to them, until nigeria’s constitution is fundamentally restructured the country might not attain the desired height.

They clamoured for renegotiation of our existence as a nation as the way forward.

An ex-lawmaker in the state, Isaacs Kekemeke believes that since the constitution was made for the citizens it can be amended to serve their purpose, and emphasised that various areas need to be amended in the constitution.

A Public Affairs Commentator, Mr Lekan Olajobi said there is need for a new document through a referendum where traditional rulers, governmental institutions among others would come together to redifine the country.

As the quest for restructuring of the country continues with citizens calling for return to the 1963 document, it is hoped that once and for all critical stakeholders will find the courage to comprehensively deal with the issue.