A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Wole Olanipekun, has described the nation's 1999 constitution as amended as a lie, and an unrealistic document that needs a replacement and not an amendment.
Olanipekun on Wednesday, November 3, said that Nigeria's highest legal document is deceptive and unrealistic.
Vanguard reports that the constitutional lawyer while delivering a paper at the 13th convocation lecture of the Redeemer’s University titled, “Beyond the Pandemic: Creating a new normal”, said the constitution aggregated all the security agencies in the federal government against any known constitution globally at the detriment of the safety of the peoples’ safety.
Olanipekun warned that amending the constitution as it is currently would complicate issues because the document lacks legitimacy or genuineness.
1. The Nigeria Police Force
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Highlighting some of the problems associated with the document, the senior lawyer said the provisions of section 224(1) of the constitution stipulating an arrangement for only one police force for the country controlled by the government at the centre is unrealistic and pretentious.
According to Olanipekun, the constitution in its whole essence does not represent any honest, genuine sincerity.
With reference to Nigeria's total landmass, Olanipekun warned that Nigeria cannot be properly policed or secured with the present centralised Police system.
He called for a need to decentralise the security architecture of Nigeria to be able to effectively curb the activities of criminals.
2. The National Assembly and the projected constitution amendment
Another instance according to the senior lawyer is, the arrogance showcased by the National Assembly which claims to plan on amending a constitution without a known author or by extension, no bona fide origin.
Quoting the words of Peter Drucker, a leader of thought, Olanipekun said in the present normal, there is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done.
"With much respect to the National Assembly members, what Nigeria needs is not a constitutional amendment but a constitutional replacement; for the present constitution cannot be amended it is unamendable."
“For us to evolve a new normal, our Constitution or organic law must also evolve a new normal or, put in another way, our Constitution also has to wear a ‘normal normal’".
3. Dismantling the present federal structure
The senior lawyer while decrying the concentration of power at the centre said what Nigeria needs right now is an unbundling of the federal structure.
Olanipekun said that such a move should be done while taking cognisance of Nigeria's multi-faceted diversities and peculiarities.
He said the country in doing so must learn from other nations, how to manage, control and work in collaboration with these diversities with the framework of the new constitution.
4. Federating states enslaved by the 'almighty centre'
Olanipekun while speaking about the performance of government at the state level said the federating states have been enslaved by the 'almighty centre'.
He said that in Nigeria's attempt to practice a presidential system of government similar to that of the United States of America, federalism in Nigeria has become a master-servant relationship.
He said that governors across the states have been cajoled into parading themselves as the chief security officers of their states while in actual fact, they do not have control of/over any security outfit or agency.
The senior lawyer said:
“The States which are supposed to be the federating units have become the conquered and subjugated territories under the emerging fiefdom of the Federal Government."
Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, had said that the 1999 constitution was written in a hurry.
The speaker who tried to highlight some of the challenges of the constitution said the document lacked what it takes to actualise the common aspiration of the citizens.
He also called on Nigerians to fully participate in the planned constitutional review process by the National Assembly.
Also, the Kano state governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso, said Nigeria must remain united for the country to function effectively.
Ganduje urged all Nigerians across the breadth of the nation to place love, unity, and patriotism above all other considerations.