Human rights activist, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN, says the ongoing process by the National Assembly to review the 1999 Constitution is a deception that won’t take the country anywhere.
The lawyer, who called for a referendum to determine Nigeria’s continued existence, insisted that Nigeria needs a new constitution.
The PUNCH had earlier reported that the Deputy President of the Senate and Chairman of the Senate’s Ad Hoc Committee on Constitution Review, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, said it will be difficult to repeal the 1999 Constitution and enact a new law for Nigeria, noting that there are stringent conditions for achieving it.
He also said while several socio-political and cultural groups, as well as prominent Nigerians, were clamouring for a new constitution, the parliament had yet to receive a memorandum seeking to amend Section 9 of the Constitution.
But speaking on Friday, Adegboruwa said a new constitution is possible. The senior advocate spoke while featuring on Channels Television’s ‘Sunrise Daily’ programme monitored by The PUNCH.
He said, “In Section 9 of the constitution for which the National Assembly is hiding, there is a provision there that states that if you want to amend a constitution, if you want to do things that require fundamental operations of the existence of this nation, all you need do is to ensure there is a referendum, there is a particular process that will go around all the states of Nigeria.
“In other words, it is possible for the National Assembly in the efforts they are making, if at all they are sincere, with all due respect to them, to use this particular process to convene a National Conference for the purpose of agreeing on what will be the terms of the existence of this nation.”
Continuing, Adegboruwa said, “The present process that is ongoing, if it is not meant to douse tension and deceive people just like the confab report, just like the APC (All Progressives Congress) report which was headed by the governor of Kaduna State, and that report has been gathering dust, just like the manifesto of the APC where in 2015 they said they will amend the constitution to achieve devolution of powers and six years down the line, we are still rounding the same cycle by the same politicians who deceived us to give them vote.
“We can use the process to amend the constitution by gathering the views of the people and the views are known already: people say we want to control our destiny…Some people are even saying we should go back to the 1963 Constitution.
“Is this the country we all clamoured for whereby everything has broken down; there is no electricity, there is no education, there is no security, there is no prosperity. People are suffering and some people are sitting in Abuja and wearing Agbada (flowing gowns) and speaking grammar on the television.
“The National Assembly effort at amending the constitution is a deception, it will not get us anywhere. Let Nigerians take their destinies in their hands and demand for a process that will birth a new nation as demanded by the Northern Elders’ Forum, the Middle Belt Forum, the Southern governors, everybody is aggrieved that we should have a new constitution and that is possible.”