March 18, 2024

1999 constitution lacks legitimacy, adopt 2014 confab report – Anyaoku tells FG

Anyaoku, Education

Former Commonwealth Secretary-General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku

Former Commonwealth Secretary-General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, has called on the federal government to adopt the 2014 report of the national conference, adding that the 1999 constitution as amended, lacks the legitimacy of the Nigerian people.

Anyaoku disclosed this on Monday during a national constitutional dialogue organised to honour former Minister of Education and Youth Development, the late Prof Ben Nwabueze.

The event which took place at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Victoria Island, Lagos, was graced by eminent Nigerians including the leader of Afenifere, Pa Ayo Adebanjo; renowned legal luminary, Mike Ozekhome; chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Bode George; and Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

The dialogue titled: ‘Lawful Procedures for Actualising a People’s Constitution for Nigeria’, was organised by a pan-Nigerian group of eminent national leaders of thoughts, The Patriots.

In his opening remarks, Anyaoku said the 1999 constitution has failed to address the country’s challenges, based on existential circumstances.

The elder statesman said the nature and contents of the constitution are not appropriate for a multicultural country like Nigeria, stressing that the Nigerian people must draft the law that governs them.

“Nigeria is a pluralistic country that is still struggling to become a nation. The second incontrovertible fact that I would like to state is that our present 1999 constitution as amended not only lacks the legitimacy that flows from a democratically made constitution,” Anyaoku said.

“But also has proved to be unsuitable for tackling many of the serious challenges currently confronting our country.

“And thirdly, it is a widely recognised fact that the crucial areas of the country have significantly deteriorated and continue to deteriorate. To mention just a few of those areas; security of the citizens’ life and properties, economic wellbeing of the citizens, infrastructure including roads.

“There has been no shortage of opinions and prescriptions of the nature and content of what should be a suitable constitution for a pluralistic country.”

The foremost diplomat added that the country should settle for the recommendations of the 2014 national conference, as well as the adoption of the provisions of the 1960 and 1963 constitutions, for a new constitution as submitted by commentators.

“I believe that in this respect, we have only two options; either we accept the 2014 national conference as an acceptable platform, or we go for a relatively inexpensive directly elected constituent assembly on all parties basis, for producing such a widely desired constitution,” he said.

Among other political stakeholders at the event were former governors Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto, Donald Duke of Cross River, Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, James Ibori of Delta, Gbenga Daniel of Ogun, Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers, Rauf Aregbesola of Osun, and Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun.

Nwabueze, who was also the pioneer Secretary-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo died on October 28, 2023, at the age of 92 in Anambra state.