Nigeria ripe for a new Constitution- Ndarani

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By Ebere Agozie

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) Mohammed Ndarani has called on the National Assembly to draft a new constitution instead of panel-beating the 1999 constitution made by the military regime.

Ndarani said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) while reacting to his submission of a memorandum on the review of the 1999 Constitution to the House of Representatives on Saturday in Abuja.

He said the National Assembly has the power to draft an entirely new constitution, urging it to invoke its power to make a people’s constitution for Nigeria.

“Developments in this country today justify the complete overhaul and comprehensive amendment to our 1999 constitution, which was only made as an annexure to a Military Decree.

“We have attempted to beat into shape and modify it through a myriad of amendments, but these efforts have still left much to be desired as they have not yielded the desired dividends.”

The SAN said they submitted the memorandum as an affirmation of their absolute faith and confidence in the National Assembly.

“We believe that they will, without bias, collate and harmonise our views and other public views in this regard to produce a formidable document that will effectively, and truly reflect the historical, cultural, and traditional values of all Nigerians.”

He said that in their submission, they proposed a constitutional amendment that would reintroduce the Parliamentary form of government.

“We contend that the present Presidential form of government has outlived its usefulness.

“Western liberal democracy has not worked for Africa and the historical and traditional antecedents in Nigeria favour parliamentary governance.”

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He disclosed that they also proposed the adoption of the six geopolitical zones to act in the capacity of regional governments.

He said they also recommendeded the independence and autonomy of the Local Government in tandem with the parliamentary system of government being proposed.

“We support and recommend the formation of State Police in all the states of the federation, which we consider long overdue.

“We recommended a comprehensive and all-embracing reform of the judiciary to make it capable of standing, performing optimally under the Parliamentary system of governance’’.

Ndarani said that they also recommended Electoral Reforms to strengthen INEC to deliver transparent, credible, free and fair elections.

“There is an overwhelming need to re-strategise, overhaul and amend or enact a new electoral act and regulations to make the process responsive to the will, yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians.

“We have submitted our own recommendations hoping that the new constitution, or such amendments, would make provision for a referendum as a condition for the passage of any law or amendments being anticipated thenceforth.

“This, in our opinion, is what will give the said constitution or act the touch of the people and imbue it with the much-needed legitimacy and bring the laws closer to the people and the people closer to the law and the lawmakers.’’(NAN)
EPA/IS
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Edited by Ismail Abdulaziz

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