June 25, 2021

NEWS AGENCY OF NIGERIA

Africa's Media Giant

Nigeria needs new constitution not constitutional amendment – Ex-lawmaker

1999 constitution

1999 constitution

By Douglas Okoro

Mr Peter Ede, former member of the House of Representatives, has called for a brand new constitution written by the people themselves.

Ede argued that the ongoing constitutional amendment would not address Nigeria’s many problems saying that the present constitution was foisted on the people by the military and contained many flaws.

Ede made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Abakaliki at the wedding of Dr Lillian Mbam, daughter of Chief Elias Mbam, Chairman of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC).

Former Miss Mbam got wedded to Mr Paulicarp Ori, a Fight Lieutanant in the Nigerian Air Force at St Theresa’s Catholic Cathedral Church, Ogoja Road, Abakaliki.

The former lawmaker, who represented Ishielu /Ezza North Federal Constituency between 1999 and 2007, said amending sections of the constitution would not solve Nigeria’s socio-political and economic challenges.

Ede explained that the 1999 constitution which had undergone some amendments had yet to address some burning issues affecting the unity, oneness and indivisibility of Nigeria.

“Many have called for a stop of the ongoing review process.

“I remember that we amended the constitution eight years ago and some of the amended sections were later signed into law while some were not.

“A lot of issues have arisen over time since the last amendment and majority of the people are saying stop the review process and I am beginning to see that they are actually correct.

“The 1999 constitution (as amended), no matter how we beat it up, no matter how we amend it can never assume the sovereignity that is supposed to be its nature.

“A constitution is supposed to be an ‘organic’ document that evolved from the people.

“Hence, I am a proponent of a brand new constitution because what we have seen so far is a military document foisted on us.

“The more you try to amend the document, the more contentious it becomes, the more problematic it becomes.

“There are more fundamental things that are supposed to be built into it that the present arrangement will not allow,” Ede said.

He opined that a new constitution would address festering insecurity bedevilling parts of the country including armed agitations as well as create a socio-political order where equity, justice and fairness would prevail.

“If we write a new constitution, it will be handled by a select few called ‘constitutent assembly’ and contentions will be less because the number of members are less.

“The partisanship involved in saying that I am trying to protect certain interests will be less.

“So, a brand new constitution will capture the mood of the people and address many social and political challenges we are facing as a nation,” added.

Ede, one time Commissioner for Education in Ebonyi, noted that a new constitution would also address the new realities that had dawned on the country including separatists agitations, fiscal federalism, devolution of powers among others.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the wedding attracted dignitories across political divides including Gov. Dave Umahi represented by Mr Francis Nwifuru, Speaker of the Ebonyi House of Assembly. (NAN)

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