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1999 Constitution outdated, illegal, say NADECO, ISDS

By Kelvin Ebiri, Port Harcourt
15 August 2017   |   4:23 am
The National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) and Institute for Strategic and Development Studies (ISDS), have charged the Nigerian authorities to jettison the 1999 constitution as it has outlived its usefulness.

The National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) and Institute for Strategic and Development Studies (ISDS), have charged the Nigerian authorities to jettison the 1999 constitution as it has outlived its usefulness.

The groups said the country could no longer afford to operate under a “dilapidated and illegitimate,” constitution handed down by the military.

Speaking at a joint briefing in Port Harcourt yesterday, Uyi Meshack of NADECO and Miller Melford of ISDS in a joint statement said Nigeria was once again at a crossroads and must rise to the occasion by deciding its future.

The groups argued that the country presently has no legitimate constitution and blamed the absence of the right legal framework for the ethnic agitations across the country now threatening to truncate the nation’s democracy.

“In 1994, after the June 12, 1993 crisis, Nigeria was at a serious political crossroads. NADECO rose to the occasion and fought to usher in the democracy the country operates today.

“After 23 years, Nigeria is at another political crossroads. Again, NADECO is rising to the occasion. Unlike in 1994, when NADECO’s mission was pro-democracy, its current mission is to facilitate good governance and economic development of Nigeria consistent with international practice and self-determination and decolonisation resolutions of the United Nations,” they said.

They added that NADECO in the United States of America and ISDS, have proposed November 13-18, 2017 for a national conference to be held in Washington DC.

They argued that Nigeria’s many challenges, particularly in the present political dispensation, was responsible for the upsurge of regional agitations being witnessed across the country and these issues have to be tackled.

A consensus seems to have emerged among the political titans that Nigeria urgently needs a wholesale review to prevent any political faction from oppression; and that the review must take place outside Nigeria’s governing institutions, which have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo.

Also, former President of the Ijaw National Congress (INC), Professor Kimse Okoko, has said restructuring Nigeria in line with the principle of true federalism remains the only solution to the agitations and other internal conflicts threatening the country’s existence.

Okoko told The Guardian that it was disheartening that the National Assembly while reviewing the 1999 Constitution opposed the devolution of powers, which would have strengthened the federating states.

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