The agitation for the new constitution is on the increase, with every new day. Many Nigerians consider the 1999 Constitution as military-driven, and truly not representative of the people. Various actors have therefore been advocating for constitution amendment that borders on fiscal federalism, state police, amid other demands. BARBARA NEGBEJIE engages some Nigerians
‘The reform process was conducted within the confines of the legislative chambers, with no meaningful opportunity for popular and civil society consultation’
The National Assembly, NASS has approved a number of constitutional reforms, and rejected some crucial amendments, proposing devolution of power and quotas, for the representation of women in the highest echelons of power. While the proposed changes could limit executive discretion, enhance the autonomy of local governments and state legislative assemblies, vis-à-vis state governors, the reform process was conducted within the confines of the legislative chambers, with no meaningful opportunity for popular and civil society consultation. These deficiencies have triggered suggestions for a national conference, to engage in a comprehensive and participatory reforms process of our constitution that has been in existence since 1999
‘The current NASS is embarking on what has become a recurring decimal’
In line with section 9(1) of the 1999 Constition of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, The current NASS is embarking on what has become a recurring decimal, by all sessions of the NASS. Unlike the previous exercises, this coming at a point when the whole component of the society is on a nosedive, no thanks to perceived ineptitude of the managers of the Republic, who have allowed nepotism, primordial non- material identity, surge in questionable borrowing, lopsided war against insecurities and corruption, and the rise and firming up of secessionist and centrifugal forces.
‘The issue of review is synonymous with restructuring and power devolution’
There has been several attempts in the past to review the 1999 Constitution. The constitution when declared was filled with lies. The issue of review is synonymous with restructuring and power devolution. The strength of democracy is predicated on leaders listening and implementing the yearnings of the people.
‘The current structure on resource control is still not adequately addressed’
The current agitation for the 1999 constitution is the right step, in the right direction, despite that it’s long overdue. The present constitution has grey areas that need to be addressed. The current structure on resource control is still not adequately addressed. It is time for the leaders in power to move for or set up a constitutional conference, before the country loses its unity.
‘The 1999 constitution is a means to favour one ethnic group’
1 know a time like this would come, when reality would stare us in the face .The current agitation is coming late because there has been a lot of us who see the 1999 constitution as a means to favour one ethnic group, while others are left at their mercy. it’s bad enough that natural resources are being controlled by the central government. The quota system is not totally practiced; one tribe is favoured over others.