Nige­ria needs new con­sti­tu­tion, not amend­ment – Ozekhome

Daily Trust - - LAW - By John Chuks Azu

Con­sti­tu­tional lawyer, Mike Ozekhome has said Nige­ria needs a brand new con­sti­tu­tion not an amend­ment of the ex­ist­ing one.

Ozekhome, whose po­si­tion is con­tained in his ar­ti­cle made avail­able to Daily Trust over the week­end, said the present con­sti­tu­tion was im­posed by the mil­i­tary.

He there­fore called for a “Con­sti­tu­tion that is home grown, made by the peo­ple, sub­jected to pop­u­lar ref­er­en­dum or plebiscite of the peo­ple as was done to the Mid­west Con­sti­tu­tion of Au­gust 9, 1963, when Mid­west se­ceded con­sti­tu­tion­ally and legally from the West­ern Re­gion.”

He said the virus af­flict­ing the ex­ist­ing con­sti­tu­tion can­not be reme­died by amend­ment but by pro­duc­ing a brand new one.

“So, for us to have a Con­sti­tu­tion that de­rives its le­git­i­macy from the Nige­rian peo­ple, we have to go back to the 2014 Na­tional Con­fer­ence, where I was a mem­ber and headed the sub­com­mit­tee on Con­sti­tu­tion draft­ing, hu­man rights and le­gal re­forms and that com­mit­tee made rec­om­men­da­tions, which were sub­jected to the ple­nary ses­sion and were con­sen­su­ally adopted,” he said.

On the amend­ment by the both the Se­nate and House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives by which the Se­nate amended 33 pro­vi­sions of the 1999 Con­sti­tu­tion, while mem­bers of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives dis­agreed on nine items, he said the process will still seek the con­sent of the 36 states’ assem­bly.

“Pro­ce­du­rally, each of the amend­ments that both the House and Se­nate agreed to will then be for­warded to the 36 states for rat­i­fi­ca­tion. Two-thirds of the state Houses of Assem­bly (i.e.: 24 State As­sem­blies) will have to agree on the amend­ments be­fore be­ing re­turned to the NASS, where the Clerk of the Na­tional Assem­bly will then send them to the Pres­i­dent for as­sent.

Any amend­ment that fails to muster two-thirds of Houses of Assem­bly au­to­mat­i­cally fails and will be dropped from the list of bills to be trans­mit­ted to the Pres­i­dent.”

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