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Republican Constitution of 1963 will address all agitations in Nigeria -Sagay


1min read

SENIOR Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) Itse Sagay has said that going back to the 1963 Republican Constitution will address all the ongoing agitations in Nigeria.

Sagay, who is also Chairman of Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), stated this when he featured on Channels Television’s ‘Politics Today’ on Monday.

He said though the erstwhile Nigeran constitution recognised regions, a little amendment would make it accommodating for the yearnings of states.

“My own personal preference is that we should scrap this constitution and adopt the 1963 Republican Constitution,” he said.

“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.”

Sagay noted that the country was happy and peaceful when it was governed by the principles of the 1963 Constitution.

READ ALSOFayemi says constitutional limitations hindering governors from protecting citizens

While commending the ongoing constitutional amendment by the National Assembly, he lamented the crisis that the current constitution had created for the country,  noting that the 1999 Constitution focused more on a unitary system of government than federalism.

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Sagay also expressed his disappointment and faulted the unwillingness of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to adopt the recommendations of the Nasir El-Rufai-led committee on restructuring.

He stated that the committee came up with an excellent report, stressing the need to look at the content of the documents and implement them.

However, he said the recommendations of the report would be better implemented in a totally new constitution, rather than the existing one which would involve lots of amendments.

He explained that the move by the APC to set up such a committee in the first instance was indicative that President Muhammadu Buhari was in favour of federalism and devolution of powers.

“I am personally disappointed that that excellent document is being allowed to gather dust and I think the leaders of the party should now bring it out and go to the president and say, ‘we should now make a move to implement what we ourselves commissioned and have approved because that is what the whole country wants now,’” he said.

The  1963 Constitution recognised the parliamentary system with head of state and head of government or prime minister . It also acknowledged regions, rather  than states. Regions had autonomies and the Senate president would act as president in president’s absence.

On the other hand, the 1999 Constitution, mirrored after the 1979 Constitution, is a presidential constitution. It recognises states, but does not give them full autonomy. The president has enormous powers and can do so much.

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Vincent Ufuoma is a reporter with The ICIR. He is a lover of God, truth, knowledge and justice.

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