Saturday, 5 June 2021

THE NIGERIAN SENATE AND "IMPOSSIBILITY OF NEW BRAND CONSTITUTION FOR NIGERIA".



THE NIGERIAN SENATE AND "IMPOSSIBILITY OF NEW BRAND CONSTITUTION FOR NIGERIA".

 

A few days ago, it was reported in the news (barristerng.com) that the Nigerian Senate declared that "there would be no new brand Constitution for Nigeria"! Let me make abundantly clear once more and the Senate should understand this irreducible truth: it does not lie in the mouth of the Nigerian Senate to declare or determine that "There would be no new brand constitution for Nigeria"! That is a reckless and uncalled for political declaration designed obviously to massage the hidden program and current political trajectory of the Executive Branch. It will not work! This is because drafting, debating or writing "a new brand constitution for Nigeria" is NOT part of its constitutional function or duty as Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

 

The 1999 Constitution under which this National Assembly, including the current Senate, was elected, does NOT give the Senate the powers or authority to either write "a brand new constitution for Nigeria" or make any public or even private declaration in that regard.  At best, the 1999 Constitution gives the Senate the powers to "amend" certain provisions of the military constitution foisted on this country by the General Abdusalami Abubakar military interregnum in the run up to the Obasanjo Presidency of 1999-2007.

 

There is no provision of the Nigerian Constitution, 1999, that allows this Senate or the National Assembly generally to deal with constitution-making for Nigeria. Constitution-making in any part of the world is a very serious business. In this country and under the extant military constitution, that onerous, very fundamental undertaking falls the NIGERIAN PEOPLE to deal with. The job of this Senate, like any other Senate all over the world, is to propose REGULAR LEGISLATION and send a fair draft to the House of Representatives for reconciliation before same is passed on to the the President's desk for accent or veto. For the umpteenth time, let me reiterate that the job of drafting, debating and approving or rejecting "a brand new constitution for Nigeria" is "EXCLUSIVELY THE JOB OF A CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY " specifically elected by ALL the 513 ethnocultural groups in Nigeria in a no-holds-barred atmosphere, to determine their future.

 

It is therefore ONLY a SOVEREIGN NATIONAL CONFERENCE, however much and however long we try to dodge or delay or wish it away by entrenched interests, that can legitimately draft and debate a NEW PEOPLES' CONSTITUTION FOR NIGERIA in a properly constituted (elected) Constituent Assembly and not the propaganda the current Senate is peddling before the Nigerian people. It will not work; IT WILL FAIL!!!                                     

Godwin A. Onuoha, Ph.D, Law (UNN)

 

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