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Proposed 1999 Constitution amendment is a futile exercise – Afe Babalola

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A Senior Advocate of Nigeria Afe Babalola has said that the proposed amendment of the 1999 Constitution of the country is a futile exercise.

Babalola said this on Wednesday in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State capital, in a statement titled, ‘Proposed Amendment to the 1999 constitution by the National Assembly: a futile exercise.’

Babalola, who is also the founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, said the constitution was an impediment to the nation’s progress.

The National Assembly is currently holding zonal public hearings on constitutional review across Nigeria, but Babalola argued that there was no way the legislative arm could fix the ‘inherent defects 1999 Constitution in Nigeria.’

“First, you cannot cure fraud. Second, it is impossible, by way of amendment, to take away the military system of government under the 1999 constitution or the power and control of public funds by the President. Or can we, by way of amendment, change the Judicial powers of the President under the 1999 constitution,” Babalola asked.

He further said that the 1999 Constitution had brought Nigeria to the brinks of extinction, adding that it was the root cause of the problems in the country.

The senior lawyer argued that instead of reviewing the 1999 Constitution, the National Assembly should rather call for a National Constitutional Conference to fashion out a new ‘true federal constitution and come up with a parliamentary system of government like’ the 1963 Constitution, which recognised regions and not states, with a central government headed by a prime minister or head of state.

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“Alternatively, since the amendment in law includes substitution for an existing document, why is it that the National Assembly cannot call for a Public Hearing on the substitution of the 1999 constitution for the 1963 constitution which was made with the consent of the people,” Babalola said.

Similarly, Chairman of Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) Itse Sagay had also called for the adoption of the 1963 constitution.

Sagay said the 1963 Constitution would address the various agitations by Nigerians concerning true federalism.

“If we had that, with amendments here and there to make it accommodate states rather than regions, which we used to have, I think all these agitations will die down and everybody will be happy, ” he had said.

Lukman Abolade is an Investigative reporter with The ICIR. Reach out to him via [email protected], on twitter @AboladeLAA and FB @Correction94

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