Afenifere warns on new con­sti­tu­tion

Daily Trust - - NEWS - From Dele Ogun­yemi, Ibadan

The pan-Yoruba so­cio-po­lit­i­cal or­gan­i­sa­tion, Afenifere Re­newal Group (ARG), says while Nigeria needs a new con­sti­tu­tion, the Na­tional As­sem­bly must not put the pow­ers to ini­ti­ate it on the pres­i­dent with­out ex­plic­itly stat­ing when and how such pow­ers should be ex­er­cised.

A state­ment signed by its pub­lic­ity sec­re­tary Kunle Famor­iyo said: “ARG notes that the 1999 con­sti­tu­tion al­ready reeks of many un­de­sir­able la­cu­nae that are be­ing ex­ploited to the detri­ment of good gov­er­nance. While ARG will al­ways sup­port con­sti­tu­tional pro­vi­sions for ini­ti­at­ing a new con­sti­tu­tion, we do not wish for such to be left to the exclusive in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the of­fice of the pres­i­dent.”

“We wish to im­press it on our federal leg­is­la­tors that the quest for a new con­sti­tu­tion for Nigeria, of which the ARG is a no­table van­guard, is premised upon the over cen­tral­ity of power to the pres­i­dent in the 1999 Con­sti­tu­tion. There­fore, giv­ing the pres­i­dent the power to call for a new con­sti­tu­tion with­out stat­ing un­am­bigu­ously how and when such power could be ac­ti­vated will tie the coun­try to the Pres­i­dent’s apron strings.”

“Hence, the pro­posed pro­vi­sions must be ex­er­cised by the ac­ti­va­tion of a clearly de­fined and na­tion­ally ac­cept­able pro­ce­dure for con­vok­ing a Con­stituent As­sem­bly. There must also be con­sti­tu­tional pro­vi­sions for ref­er­en­dum. By do­ing this, any new con­sti­tu­tion that emerge will give pro­ce­dural val­i­da­tion to the most im­por­tant phrase in any con­sti­tu­tion, we the people. We sug­gest that the Se­nate also or­gan­ise a pub­lic hear­ing on this very im­por­tant is­sue.”

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