HomeOpinionNigeria needs new constitution not amendment — The Patriots

Nigeria needs new constitution not amendment — The Patriots

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The Patriots, a pan -Nigerian group of eminent national leaders of thought, says what the nation needs now is a brand new people’s constitution, not amendment of the existing.

The General Secretary of The Patriots, Mr Olawale Okunniyi, disclosed this in a communique on Monday in Lagos, released after the group’s National Constitutional Dialogue, 2024, on the future of Nigeria.

According to the communique, Nigerians, governors, legislators, leaders to thought, traditional rulers and others have demanded a new democratic people’s constitution for Nigeria instead of amendments.

It said that the group, led by Chief Emeka Anyaoku, a former Commonwealth Secretary-General, hosted a national dialogue (Colloquium) to commemorate 10 years anniversary of the 2014 National Confab organised by former President Goodluck Jonathan.

It said that this was organised in honour of the late Prof. Ben Nwabueze (SAN), the immediate past Chairman of the Patriots, at the Nigerian Institute for International Affairs (NIIA) Lagos on March 18.

According to it, the focus of the dialogue was on a prosperous future for Nigeria through the prospects of a new democratic people’s constitution.

The communique said that such constitution would 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.

It said that the national dialogue concluded that the prevailing 1999 Constitution and its brand of presidential system fostered politics of alienation.

The communique said that this had increased appetite for state capture amongst the ruling elite to the exclusion of a large section of Nigerian citizens, while also leading to disenchantment across the country.

According to it, 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.

“This is a 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.’’

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.

“The team is to embark on strategic and constructive engagements with the Nigerian peoples and citizens, the Presidency and National Assembly of Nigeria.

“It is to get 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,” the communique said.

It said that the colloquium requested that some recommendations be submitted to the Presidency and the National Assembly for their expeditious consideration and appropriate action.

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The communique highlighted the submissions as including that: “The challenge of governance has become profound and should necessitate circumspection from political leadership in their decision-making process.

“Overwhelming majority of Nigerians are genuinely yearning for an end to the prevailing challenging situation in the country.

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

“There is the need for urgent holistic appraisal of the security situation in Nigeria to engender decisive and robust intervention in the pervasive insecurity ravaging the country.

“There is the need for a 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.”

It added that there was the need for a reconfiguration of the country’s governance system and structure to address the imbalance in the existing federalism.

The communique said that this had become necessary to guarantee fiscal responsibility and accountability in governance as well as enhance accelerated development across Nigeria.

It called for strengthening of existing democratic institutions to safeguard democracy, guarantee pro-people governance and make political actors accountable to the people.

The communique also advocated deepening of democracy and governance at the grassroots to give a sense of belonging to the mass of Nigerian stakeholders.

It said that participants at the national dialogue included elder statemen, Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, former Governors, serving and ex-Senators, former ministers, traditional rulers and constitutional lawyers.

The communique added that a number of delegates to previous Constitutional Confabs of Nigeria, Leaders of thought, scholars, other members of the Nigerian public attended the event.

NAN

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