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Call for Change: Advocating for a New Democratic Constitution in Nigeria

Call for Change: Advocating for a New Democratic Constitution in Nigeria

Why We Advocate for a New Constitution Instead of Amendment

Prominent figures, including The Patriots and esteemed individuals, have voiced opposition to the current constitution amendment process undertaken by the National Assembly, advocating instead for the creation of a “new people’s constitution.”

This stance emerged from the National Constitutional Dialogue on Nigeria’s future, convened by The Patriots under the leadership of Chief Emeka Anyaoku in Lagos. The gathering, held in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the 2014 National Conference in honor of the late Professor Ben Nwabueze, SAN, past chairman of The Patriots and a key figure in the 2014 conference, emphasized the need for a constitutional overhaul.

In a communique issued by Comrade Olawale Okunniyi, the general secretary of The Patriots, the dialogue underscored the imperative of charting a path towards a prosperous future for Nigeria. The focus was on crafting a new democratic constitution that would provide tangible hope and prosperity amidst prevailing socio-economic challenges, political instability, and escalating insecurity.

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The dialogue convened a diverse array of participants, including elder statesmen, Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, former governors, senators, ministers, traditional rulers, lawyers, and delegates from previous constitutional conferences.

Moving forward, following deliberations spurred by a keynote address from Professor Mike Ozekhome SAN and inputs from discussants and participants, the colloquium recommended submitting proposals for a new constitution to the Presidency and the National Assembly for swift consideration and action.

Key recommendations highlighted the necessity of ending the culture of political impunity, reevaluating the security landscape, instituting reforms in security infrastructure such as the establishment of state police, restructuring the governance system to address federalism imbalances, and strengthening democratic institutions to ensure accountability and responsiveness to citizens.

Participants observed that the current 1999 Constitution and its presidential system perpetuate political alienation and elite capture, necessitating a departure towards a more representative and legitimate constitutional framework. They cited the 2014 National Conference Draft Constitution and the 1963 Republican Constitution as viable templates for inclusive deliberations towards a new democratic constitution, to be achieved through an elective Constituent Assembly or national referendum.

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To advance this agenda, it was agreed that The Patriots would spearhead engagements with Nigerian citizens, the Presidency, and the National Assembly to garner support and consensus for the realization of a new constitution conducive to Nigeria’s stability, effective governance, and prosperity.

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