Ex-Govs, lawmakers, others demand new Constitution, to send team to engage Presidency, National Assembly

Adebisi Aikulola
Adebisi Aikulola
Anyaoku, Sanwo-Olu and other at the 10th Anniversary of the 2014 National Confab

Some prominent Nigerians, including former governors, legislators and other leaders of thought, have called for the reconfiguration of the country’s governance system and structure to address the imbalance in the existing federalism.

This was part of the resolution reached at a dialogue organised by the Patriots, a group of prominent Nigerian leaders of thought led by Chief Emeka Anyaoku, former Commonwealth Secretary-General.

The Patriots General Secretary for National Constitutional Dialogue, 2024 In Lagos, Olawale Okunniyi, in a statement on Sunday, said the group hosted the national dialogue (Colloquium) to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the 2014 National Confab in honour of the late Prof. Ben Nwabueze SAN, the immediate past chairman of the Patriots.

The focus of the dialogue was on a prosperous future for Nigeria through the prospects of a new democratic people’s constitution that will offer assured hope and prosperity to the diverse peoples and citizens of Nigeria in the face of the current socio-economic miseries, political instability and worsening insecurity in the country.

Participants at the well-attended national dialogue included elder statesmen, Lagos Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, former governors, serving and ex-Senators, former ministers, traditional rulers, constitutional lawyers, delegates to previous constitutional confabs of Nigeria, leaders of thought, scholars, other members of the Nigerian public, and the organisers.

1999 Constitution
1999 Constitution

After a long and robust deliberation that followed the keynote address by Prof. Mike Ozekhome SAN, and contributions from invited discussants and participants, the colloquium requested that some consensual conclusions and recommendations be submitted to the Presidency and the National Assembly for their expeditious consideration and appropriate action:

The conclusions are as follows: “The challenge of governance has become profound and should necessitate circumspection from political leadership in their decision-making process as overwhelming majority of Nigerians are genuinely yearning for an end to the prevailing challenging situation in the country.

“There is a need for a. Genuine commitment to ending the culture of political impunity which engenders corruption, promotes monetization of politics and undermines competence and commitment to patriotism.

“B.  Urgent holistic appraisal of the security situation in Nigeria to engender decisive and robust intervention in the pervasive insecurity ravaging the country.

“C. Reform of existing security infrastructure through the creation of state police and localisation of Police command structure to enhance inclusive participation in community and neighbourhood security across Nigeria.

“D.  Reconfiguration of the country’s governance system and structure to address the imbalance in the existing federalism in order to guarantee fiscal responsibility and accountability in governance as well as enhance accelerated development across Nigeria.

“E. Strengthening of existing democratic institutions to safeguard democracy, guarantee pro-people governance and make political actors accountable to the people.

“F. Deepening of democracy and governance at the grassroots to give a sense of belonging to the mass of Nigerian stakeholders.”

They resolved that the “prevailing 1999 Constitution and its brand of presidential system foster politics of alienation and increasing appetite for state capture amongst the ruling elite to the exclusion of a large section of Nigerian citizens; leading to disenchantment across the country, while also asserting that the constitution, by its flawed origin, lacks legitimacy, which it cannot acquire from any number of amendments.

“The dialogue also affirmed that the Draft Constitution  of the 2014 National Conference and the 1963 Republican Constitution of Nigeria, by their representative and popular character, are generally acceptable national documents as platforms for popular deliberations and consensual recommendations towards birthing a new democratic people’s constitution for Nigeria through an elective Constituents Assembly or national referendum to be initiated by the federal government through relevant provisions of the extant laws of Nigeria

“Finally, the dialogue resolved that, to move forward the renewed advocacy for the actualisation of a new democratic constitution for Nigeria, an inclusive Team be set up by The Patriots to embark on strategic and constructive engagements with the Nigerian peoples and citizens, the Presidency and National Assembly of Nigeria for their full buy-in and support towards achieving the dialogue agenda for the cohesion, stability, good governance and prosperity of Nigeria under a new democratic people’s constitution of Nigeria.”

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