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1999 Constitution Has No Legitimacy, Needs Replacement – Group | Citizen NewsNG

ByCitizen NewsNG

Mar 25, 2024


By Alexandra Dominic-Chukwu

A group of Nigerians under the auspices of, The Patriots, has said that the 1999 Constitution lacks legitimacy and needs to be replaced.

The Patriots is a group of eminent Nigerian leaders of thought led by Chief Emeka Anyaoku, GCON, CFR (former Commonwealth Secretary-General).

The group said this in the communique released after its conference on a suitable mode of governance for Nigeria.

The communique was made available to the journalists on Sunday by the General Secretary of The Patriots and National Constitutional Dialogue, 2024, Olawale Okunniyi.

The group hosted a national dialogue (Colloquium) to commemorate 10 years Anniversary of the 2014 National Confab in honour of the late Professor Ben Nwabueze SAN, CON, NNOM (immediate past chairman of the Patriots), who was the chief protagonist of the 2014 Confab, at the Nigerian Institute for International Affairs (NIIA) Lagos on Monday, March 18 2024.

The dialogue was focused 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 national dialogue included Elder Statemen, Governor of Lagos State, HE Babajide Sanwo-Olu, former Governors, serving and ex-Senators, Former Ministers, Traditional Rulers, Constitutional Lawyers, a number of Delegates to previous Constitutional Confabs of Nigeria, Leaders of thought, scholars, other members of the Nigerian public and the organisers.

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

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

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

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

“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.

“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.

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

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

However, the group resolved that:” The national dialogue concluded that: the prevailing 1999 Constitution and its brand of presidential system fosters 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.

“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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