New con­sti­tu­tion: CNPP warns against in­stalling despotic pres­i­dent

Daily Trust - - NEWS - By Ab­bas Ji­moh

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.

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