Nigeria needs new constitution, not amendment – Ozekhome
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.”