Abuja, Kano — The Senate, on Thursday, dominated out the potential for giving Nigerians a brand new structure regardless of agitations for a brand new legislation.
Stakeholders, together with Afenifere, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, amongst others, are calling for a brand new structure that may seize the agitations of many Nigerians, as a substitute of amending the 1999 Structure which, they mentioned, has outlived its usefulness.
They mentioned the 1999 Structure can’t sufficiently handle the socio-economic challenges at present pummeling the nation.
However talking at a nationwide public listening to on the alteration to the provisions of the 1999 Structure in Abuja, Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege mentioned it will be unconstitutional to embark on any course of to offer a completely new legislation with out prior alteration to Part 9 of the 1999 Structure.
Omo-Agege mentioned: “Now, a few of our compatriots have urged that quite than amending the structure, we should always make a brand new structure altogether. We respect this opinion, and we imagine it’s the most fascinating proposition.
“Nonetheless, we’re conducting this train in accordance with the extant authorized order, which is the 1999 Structure.
“Particularly, Part 9 of the structure empowers the Nationwide Meeting to change the provisions of the structure and prescribes how it’s to be accomplished.
“Sadly, it doesn’t make related provisions or present the mechanism for changing or re-writing a completely new structure.
“To embark on any course of with out prior alteration of Part 9 of the structure to offer the mode via which a completely new structure may very well be made would quantity to gross violation of our oath of allegiance to the structure.”
However a former Minister of Schooling, Obi Ezekwesili, insisted on the listening to that the manufacturing of a model new structure remained the one solution to handle the nation’s social, political and financial crises.
She urged the structure evaluation panel to contemplate only one modification to the legislation which might solely present for a referendum to provide a model new structure.
Referendum not recognised as means to vary our structure — Yadudu
A foremost structure lawyer, Professor Auwalu Yadudu, has mentioned opposite to the present clamouring, referendum isn’t recognised as a method to vary Nigeria’s structure.
He mentioned this on Thursday in his presentation earlier than the Particular Committee of the Home of Representatives on the evaluation of the 1999 Structure sitting in Kano for the North-west zone consisting of Kano, Kaduna, Katsina and Jigawa states.
Yadudu, who served because the authorized adviser to the late Head of State, Basic Sani Abacha, opined that Part 9 of the structure has spelt out specific guidelines to manipulate particular steps to observe to change its provisions.
“I’m happy that the process for any alteration doesn’t envisage or acknowledge “referendum” as a mechanism for bringing about any change to the present structure or the adoption of a brand new one,” he mentioned.
Yadudu, who’s the Deputy Chairman of the 2014 Confab Committee on Legislation, Judiciary, Human Rights and Legislation Reform, burdened that suggestion for the adoption of the Report and Draft Amendments to the 1999 Structure as proposed by the 2014 Confab for a restructured Nigeria through referendum is defective.
“Since a referendum is designed to current two clear decisions of ‘Sure’ or ‘No’, What challenge or points can be canvassed for adoption or rejection through the referendum? Are we going to place Nigerians to a selection between the much-touted 1963 Republican structure, with its Westminster parliamentary system and 4 areas, towards the 1999 Structure?
“It must also be identified that there doesn’t exist any Act of Parliament or Guidelines of Process in Nigeria that might allow any organ or below which to conduct a referendum and no company of presidency is empowered by legislation to hold out identical,” he said.
CAN desires return to 1963 Structure
In the meantime, the Christian Affiliation of Nigeria (CAN) has mentioned that the nation ought to return to the 1963 Republican Structure, with a Confederation of Unbiased areas or Federation of states or areas.
The President of the affiliation, Dr. Samson Ayokunle, whereas talking in Abuja at a information convention, mentioned the continued constitutional modification ought to undertake the 1963 Republican structure as a panacea to the multifaceted challenges confronting the nation.