Bakare faults 1999 Constitution, seeks national rebirth
The Convener of the Save Nigeria Group (SNG), Pastor Tunde Bakare has again faulted the 1999 Constitution as being fraught with inconsistencies, which are hindering the growth and development of the country.
The cleric however made a case for a new Nigeria under an arrangement he tagged value reconfiguration, structural reconfiguration, industrialization and creating a new constitutional order.
Speaking during a Public Policy Forum organized by Business Hallmark in Lagos yesterday, Bakare said whereas federalism is implied no fewer than 790 times in the letters of the 1999 Constitution including its titles and headings and expressly stated in Section 2 thereof, the Constitution is unitary in essence with 68 items on the Exclusive List and 30 on the Concurrent List without Residual List.
He also faulted the constitution on the basis that it recognizes property rights in Section 43, Subsection 1, and Section 44, Sub section 1, but validates the Land Use Act, which confers ownership of land on state governors; it also takes away property rights as regards natural resources.
According to him: “Whereas by the provisions of Section 10, the 1999 Constitution prohibits a state religion, it makes provisions for religious courts even though such matters may have been better left within the confines of religious liturgy except to the extent that they border on civil law and crime. Moreover, whereas in letter, the 1999 Constitution espouses republicanism and refuses to recognize traditional political institutions, it makes provisions for customary courts which deal with matters that are mostly under the jurisdiction of traditional rulers despite the fact that such matters may have been better left within the confines of custom except to the extent that they border on civil law and crime.
“In line with this inconsistency, whereas the 1999 Constitution espouses national harmony, it creates a judicial dichotomy based on religion by its provisions for religious and traditional courts”
Finally, he noted that by the provisions of Section 176, Subsection 2, the governor of a state should be the chief executive of that state, which implies that he is also the Chief Security Officer of the state. However, in the federal structure created by the 1999 Constitution, especially in regard to Item 45 of the Exclusive Legislative List, which places policing in the exclusive control of the central government, the state governor is denied the power to execute that responsibility.
The cleric, who was also the vice presidential candidate to President Muhamadu Buhari in the 2011 election on the platform of the defunct Congress for Progressives Change (CPC) suggested that a Presidential Commission for National Reconciliation, Reintegration and Restructuring comprised of a team of highly respected national influencers of high moral standing and unquestionable integrity with bridge-building antecedents be formed.