New constitution: CNPP warns against installing despotic president
The Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) yesterday raised alarm over what says is a hidden agenda for 2015 election contained in the Bill introduced in the Senate by the Deputy Senate President and Chairman Constitution Review Committee, Senator Ike Ekweremadu.
Spokesman of CNPP, Osita Okechukwu, said yesterday in a statement that a controversial clause in the Bill giving President Goodluck Jonathan powers to suggest a new constitution has exposed the hidden agenda.
“President Jonathan during the inauguration of the National Conference hinted on the possibility of the use of referendum in ratifying the outcome of the conference. Whereas, the CNPP has nothing against amendment or new constitution; we frown at any move to insert a provision for the president to initiate the process for a new constitution,” it said.
Okechukwu said “This can be done by the National and State Assemblies with the present constitution. It is our considered view that it is fundamentally against the doctrine of separation of powers and checks and balances which stabilise liberal democracies.”
The group also said that the proposal to include the president in the initiation process and not ratification process of constitutional amendment or new constitution are unwittingly constructing an imperial president.”
It further warned that President Jonathan was not going to be the last president of the country and that Nigerians must guide against the entry of a despot and “the future misuse of what may have been mischievously inserted into the law of the country.”
History is replete with how despots play on the gullibility of the people to scuttle democracy,” it also advised.
“We are at a loss why Senator Ekweremadu and his cohorts did not initiate this proposal in July last year when they came up with the view that Section 9 did not make provision for how a new constitution come into being, therefore placing the cart before the horse. The insertion proposal could have been on the table before the Jonathan Conference.”
The CNPP urged the National Assembly to stop President Jonathan’s hidden agenda to avoid swallowing the bait from those he said are gripped by 2015 general election phobia.
Work progressing on Mile 12 Ikorodu road in Lagos yesterday.