By Marie-Therese Nanlong, Jos
The injustices being experienced in the country have been attributed to the lopsided nature of the country’s 1999 constitution and a call on relevant institutions to disband the document as no amount of amendment can ensure fairness and equity to all.
Former Governor of Plateau State, Senator Jonah Jang expressed this view and attributed the myriads of the country’s woes to the dysfunctional constitution.
This is even as a group, North Central Muslim Peace Initiative has urged government at all levels to pay attention to the Bishop Matthew Kukah’s message which generated a lot of reactions because “when there are good governance people will be happy and criticisms will reduce to the barest minimum.”
Speaking in Jos on the state of the nation, Senator Jang decried the socio-economic problems bedevilling the country, described the 1999 constitution as “full of injustice and imbalance” and called for immediate disbandment as “no amount of amendment to the 1999 constitution as amended would yield the desired results.”
His words, “The Military cannot create Constitution for a civil and democratic society. The 1999 Constitution (As Amended), is problematic because it gives some people an undue advantage over the others. Such Constitution, as we have now cannot stand and no matter the Amendments, it will not work because our experience has shown that those saddled with the responsibility would only pick some portions that do not suit them to amend while those that suit them are left untouched even when the issues are detrimental to the survival and wellbeing of other Nigerians.
“For instance, in Plateau state, the population in Jos South LGA alone is three or four times the size of Wase LGA. Yet, Jos South is joined with another LGA to form a federal constituency while Wase alone stands as a federal constituency. You will find such abnormality and injustice against the people all over the country with the backing of the constitution. It should not be like that. The Governor as the chief security officer in his state can not give certain orders to the Commissioner of Police in his state without the officer first, getting clearance outside his domain in Abuja which is also abnormal
“As a result, what we have presently is an unfortunate situation where state governors who are supposed to protect the people and drive the developmental aspirations of their people in their respective states without necessarily seeking clearance from Abuja have now become captives due to the flaws in the constitution The Government must allow people to deliberate, debate and discuss the issues and questions that have arisen out of the Constitution.”
The former Governor insisted that restructuring the country and the enthronement of a new constitution agreed by Nigerians is the only way to move the country forward and called on the Federal Government to create a special counter-insurgency unit in the armed forces to tackle the security problems.
Meanwhile, the President, North Central Muslim Peace Initiative, Alhaji Saleh Zazzaga, noted that Bishop Kukah for long has been speaking to address the ills in the nation and that it is improper for any person or group of persons to give it an ethnoreligious connotation because it has the tendency to trigger violence in the country.
He faulted the ultimatum given to Kukah by a group in Sokoto to apologize or leave the state, saying that such happenings are not healthy for the nation and called on the government at all levels to establish and maintain a close relationship with clergymen and constructive critics like Bishop Kukah, across all religions, so that they can keep sharing ideas and getting good counsel where necessary, adding that the government should endeavour to rise to its responsibilities because when there are good governance people will be happy and criticisms will reduce to the barest minimum.