ABUJA-The Patriotic Movement of Nigeria (PMN), in independent civil society organization has described as an illusion, the belief in some quarters that the restructuring of the Nigerian State can be done outside the provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended). The group stated this at the end of a two-day retreat in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
National Chairman of the movement, Mallam Bello Sabo Abdulkadir told newsmen that though there is the need to devolve some responsibility away from the exclusive list; the process, he argued, should be gradual, noting that PMN had already put its foot forward in this direction. According him, a gradual amendment of the existing Constitution is the way to go rather than a total discard of same as some are clamouring in different parts of the country.
“We have set up a technical committee to look into the items that can be devolved to the federating States,” he said, even as he called for a “Reform of the electoral process by devolving the powers of selection of prospective candidates for political offices to the grassroots to foster accountability and ownership in governance.”
Earlier in his remarks, PMN Director of Strategy and Communications, Udenta Udenta said the movement supports the call for restructuring but warned however that any attempt to do so in fragrant disobedience of the Constitution would create a vacuum which will invariably lead to chaos and lawlessness. He argued that though there have been clamour for changes in the political and economic paradigms, the bigger challenge he said, is how to restructure.
“We believe in restructuring within the provisions of the 1999 Constitution. Nobody should live in the illusion that this Constitution would one day walk away because that would be wishful thinking. If that happens, the National Assembly, the President will go away and there would be a vacuum,” he said.
The scholar-turned activist further caused a stir with his admission that the Nigerian Constitution is superior to that of the United States of America in terms of rights to vote and be voted for.
“The Nigerian Constitution as bad as it is superior to the American Constitution because ours guarantees a universal adult suffrage but we believe we can dismantle the Constitution gradually overtime into a document that we would all be proud of,” he said.
The movement also called for institutional strengthening as a necessary tool of good governance and service delivery to the people.