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Let’s go back to the 1963 Constitution – Ezike

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Ibuchukwu Ezike is the Executive Director, Civil Liberties Organisation, CLO. He, along with three others was nominated by the South-East Coalition of Civil Society Groups, made up of over 70 civil society organisations that met in Enugu to nominate four delegates to the confab.

His position on the exercise:

My expectations from the National Conference are not different from those of the majority of the Nigerian people. I expect that after this conference we would have a brand new constitution that would establish clear relationships between the various ethnic groups that make up Nigeria. I also want a constitution that would provide justice, equity and fairness for the people and cause the socio-economic rights of Nigerians to become justifiable.I want a constitution that would ensure that the people would go to bed and sleep without hunger ; that would ensure that Nigerians are not denied access to education, health-care, housing and good roads.

I want a constitution that would give Nigerians access to those things that make life livable. I would like the Nigerian working class to earn a living wage and not a starvation wage. There was never a time the Nigerian people sat together to give themselves a constitution apart from the Independence and Republican Constitutions of 1960 and 1963. The 1999 Constitution was actually Decree 24 of 1999 which was written by former military Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha, and his lieutenants. It is not an autochtonous constitution that came from the views and positions of the Nigerian people.

The Nigerian people, especially the Igbo nation where I come from are of the view and very strongly so, that going back to the 1963 Constitution which  provides for stronger federating units and a loose federation is the best for the country because it would enable the citizens to own their resources. This would ensure that the federating units would have enough resources to run their societies and only pay tax to the Federal Government.

I think the exclusive list of the  new constitution should include things like foreign affairs, armed forces and police. Other items of governance should go to the regions. The regions should have more responsibilities than the Federal Government because that is where majority of the people live. Government is actually about the security and welfare of the people. So, if you are talking about providing amenities to serve the majority of the people, it is the regional, state and local governments that should have the responsibilities.

Since it is in the regions that the people live and the bulk of the resources needed for running the country come from them, they should have more responsibilities.

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