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Why Nigeria Must Dump 1999 Constitution – Anyaoku



Why Nigeria Must Dump 1999 Constitution - Anyaoku

Former Commonwealth Secretary-General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, says Nigeria should jettison the 1999 constitution as it lacks legitimacy.

He said the Federal Government should rather adopt the report of the 2014 national conference convoked by ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.

The eminent diplomat said this on Monday during a national constitutional dialogue held in honour of one-time Secretary General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Prof Ben Nwabueze, at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Victoria Island, Lagos.

According to him, Nigeria needs a better constitution given its multicultural nature. H said: “Nigeria is a pluralistic country that is still struggling to become a nation. The second incontrovertible fact that I would like to state is that our present 1999 constitution as amended not only lacks the legitimacy that flows from a democratically made constitution”.

“But also has proved to be unsuitable for tackling many of the serious challenges currently confronting our country.

“And thirdly, it is a widely recognised fact that the crucial areas of the country have significantly deteriorated and continue to deteriorate. To mention just a few of those areas; security of the citizens’ life and properties, economic wellbeing of the citizens, infrastructure including roads.

“There has been no shortage of opinions and prescriptions of the nature and content of what should be a suitable constitution for a pluralistic country.”

Anyaoku said only two options are available to Nigerians. He said it is either the country settles for the recommendations of the 2014 national conference or go for setting up an inexpensive constituent assembly to draft a new constitution.

He stated: “I believe that in this respect, we have only two options; either we accept the 2014 national conference as an acceptable platform, or we go for a relatively inexpensive directly elected constituent assembly on all parties basis, for producing such a widely desired constitution”.

Present at the event were eminent personalities like Afenifere leader, Pa Ayo Adebanjo; Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mike Ozekhome; chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Bode George; Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, former governors; Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto, Donald Duke of Cross River, Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, James Ibori of Delta, Gbenga Daniel of Ogun, Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers, Rauf Aregbesola of Osun, and Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun.

Professor Nwabueze, in whose honour the event was held, was the pioneer Secretary-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo . He was also a Senor Advocate of Nigeria and a leading thought leader. Nwabueze, aged 92, died on October 28, 2023.