Take a fresh look at your lifestyle.

Ikpeazu calls for new constitution for Nigeria

0 17

Yolamchi UkagaAba 

Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia state has called for a new Nigerian constitution which will evolve from the will of the people and not foisted on Nigerians like the present 1999 constitution.

According to the governor, the new constitution will restructure the country, devolve more powers to the federating units, entrench resource control by the states, establish federal, state, and local government police formations, be more responsive to the protection of the rights of all citizens, as well as provide a level-playing field where all Nigerians will be treated equally.

Ikpeazu made these calls Monday, in his keynote address at the 5th Osasu Show Symposium with the theme – “State of the nation, the people’s constitution, held at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.

The governor stated that the major fundamental flaw of the present constitution was its lack of the ownership by the people, which is a key ingredient that clothes constitutions with the requisite legitimacy.

He noted that the road to a proper constitution involved processes through which the voice and views of the people could be found.

These, according to him, could be through constitutional conferences, referenda, acts of parliament, judicial precedents, customs of the people, conventions, among others.

Drawing inference from constitutions of other countries, like the USA, Argentina, South Africa and Tanzania, Ikpeazu added that Nigeria currently has a constitution handed down by military fiat complete with all the nuances of totalitarianism with a very powerful president, governors and even local government chairmen, across the country.

He stated that the military mindset was the reason for unduly concentrating powers in the federal government in areas where it ordinarily has no business with.

“This needless concentration of powers in the federal government, especially in the areas of security, revenue generation and allocation, resource control has stifled growth in the states and local governments, making them parasitic appendages of a powerful federal government.

“A situation where states look forward to monthly receipts from Abuja has killed hard work and initiative, recalling the first republic, when the regions thrived well when they were quasi-independent.

On security, the governor decried a situation where a state governor in Nigeria cannot take actions to manage an urgent security issue because, by virtue of the provision of Section 215 (4) of the constitution, the commissioner of police in a state may request that a matter be referred to the president or minister.

According to the governor, the existence of a single national police outfit is at variance with federal system of government, saying that this had led to the establishment by different states in the country, of vigilante outfits and other forms of security and traffic management teams.

On resource control, the governor decried a situation where some offices of the federal government in Abuja hand out licenses to people to exploit mineral resources in states without any recourse to the states and even the local communities where these sites are located, and, after these activities, these communities are abandoned with grave environmental problems. 

Governor Ikpeazu also faulted the provisions of the present constitution for failing to provide proper qualification for leadership in Nigeria.

He wondered why a modern constitution in a modern time like this when science and technology is the order of the day, would prescribe School Certificate, as the qualification for the office of the president of Nigeria.

Our present constitution, the governor noted, is not autochthonous and, as such, is incapable of commanding the requisite quantum of social mobilisation required to move forward, a multi ethnic, multi religious, multi lingual and multi-cultural country like Nigeria.

The governor suggested that young Nigerians of between the ages of 20 and 35, be invited from both the diaspora and locally, drawn across different professions – engineering, law, security, arts, education, architecture, economics, artisanship, among others, to sit down and craft a new vision for the country.

He noted that their inputs could be inculcated into new efforts towards a people’s constitution.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More