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Constitution review: Agenda for Omo-Agege panel

By Onyedika Agbedo, Murtala Adewale, Kano
15 February 2020   |   4:35 am
Penultimate Thursday, the Senate embarked on a fresh attempt to review the 1999 Constitution with the composition of a 56-member committee by the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan.

Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege. Photo: OVIEOMOAGEGE

… Eminent Nigerians Voice Their Expectations As National Assembly Undertakes Another Review Of 1999 Constitution

Penultimate Thursday, the Senate embarked on a fresh attempt to review the 1999 Constitution with the composition of a 56-member committee by the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan. The committee, chaired by the Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege, comprises eight principal officers who would serve as steering sub-committees within the larger committee, a senator from each of the 36 states of the federation and two senators each from the six geopolitical zones. The committee is expected to amend the constitution in a way that the provisions would enhance national unity and be the solid foundation Nigerians could stand on to realise their dreams.

“What is expected of you is to give Nigerians a constitution that will enhance stability, unity and enabling environment that will afford every Nigerian to actualise his or her dreams without let or hindrance,” Lawan charged members during the inauguration of the panel.

He went ahead to advise Nigerians seeking alterations in any of the provisions of the 1999 Constitution to submit memoranda to the committee.

In a recent interview with The Guardian, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Robert Clarke, emphatically declared that “the 1999 constitution has been Nigeria’s albatross, adding, “if we don’t jettison it, we will not make progress.”

He stressed: “The reason ethnicity is so dominant in Nigerian politics today is the type of governance system. The 1999 constitution is a constitution that gives all powers to Mr. President. Section 5 of the constitution says all executive powers in Nigeria are vested in Mr. President. Under the same constitution, governors in the states are not only the executive, they are also the accountant and so on; a constitution that allows a governor to hijack funds given by the federation to each state for different projects and it is only when he leaves government that the EFCC will find that he has diverted state funds. The system should be looked into so that such things are blocked out. You don’t put all powers into one hand. That is the problem with the 1999 constitution.”

Other eminent Nigerians had at one point or the other called for an overhaul of the 1999 Constitution. Like Clarke, they had their reasons. Meanwhile, past attempts by the National Assembly to re-work the constitution were not entirely successful. Now that the lawmakers have set out again for the task, some eminent Nigerians from across the geo-political zones spoke on their expectations from them. Their views are captured in the following interviews:

‘Panel Should Consider Community Policing, State Creation’
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mamman Lawan Yusufari, has expressed support for the current moves by the National Assembly to review the 1999 Constitution.

Yusufari told The Guardian in an interview that periodic review of the constitution was quite germane being a man-made law. He expressed optimism that the current efforts would not end in futility.

The Professor of Law at the Bayero University, Kano, urged the lawmakers to amend the constitution in a way that would enhance the federal structure of the country and promote healthier growth and relationship between the federal and state governments, especially in the areas of power and resource control.

Yusufari, who was part of the consulting team to the House of Representatives in a previous constitution review, attributed political acrimony and unhealthy relationship between the executive and legislature as the reasons past attempts to amend the document didn’t yield positive results.

“One thing that is basic is that the constitution needs review because it is a man-made law which required periodic review. As you know, previous assemblies made a similar attempt to review the constitution. Incidentally, I was involved in the review at the House of Representatives level when the former deputy speaker Emeka Ihedioa served as chairman, as part of the consulting team, and we assisted them during the process.

“We finished our work and somehow somewhere they couldn’t conclude the final process and that was how it ended. Embarking on the process all over again is a costly exercise. But now that they have decided to embark on it again, I hope they start in good time and end it in a good time so that they can save public funds. Generally, there are areas that require review in the constitution. That’s why I believe it will be a commendable exercise if they can do that in good time,” Yusufari noted.

On whether Nigerians would have confidence in the exercise because of past experiences, Yusufari posited that Nigerians have the right to ventilate their fears on ventures that involve huge public funds. He, however, expressed the belief that the present Senate has so far demonstrated significant seriousness to earn the confidence of the people.

“Nigerians have every reason to exercise and/or ventilate their opinions about the exercise just the way they also reserve the right not to expect much from this Senate on the exercise considering the past experiences. But I think the present National Assembly is a bit different from the previous ones in the sense that there were a lot of antagonisms. This time around, the changes are clear. They seem to be more friendly, serious and sensitive to the national assignment.

“We hope the new assignment will be different from previous ones. For instance, when it took the previous assembly about six months to pass the budget, this present assembly was able to pass the 2020 budget before the end of 2019, so there are indications that things will be better,” Yusufari noted.

Also speaking with The Guardian, former vice president of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ibrahim Aliyu Nassarawa, urged the committee to consider state and local council creation to decongest some states in the country.

Nassarawa equally called for the restructuring of the security architecture of the country to pave way for state policing. He decried the present arrangement where governors, who by the existing federal structure, are the chief security officers of their states but cannot give instructions to Commissioners of Police posted to the state.

Nigerians Want A Constitution That Will Make States Less Dependent On FG’
The national coordinator, South-South Elders Forum and immediate past spokesperson of Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Anabs Sara Igbe, told KELVIN EBIRI in Port Harcourt that the National Assembly should collate the recommendations of recent national political conferences, debate on them and pass them into law to produce a people’s constitution.

What are your expectations from the latest efforts to review the Constitution by the National Assembly?
As far as we are concerned, the constitution we now have has been under contention for some time. What people are interested in is a people’s constitution, a constitution by the people through a constituent assembly. But be that as it may, we believe that the constitution should be amended to reflect true federalism, whereby we will stop this feeding bottle administration to an administration where the federating states fend for themselves. That will liberate our economy; that will make the various states to be more industrialised in such a manner that everybody will contribute to the centre. We believe in true federalism. So, the country should be restructured into true federalism. That is our expectation.

What critical matters in the exclusive lists should be devolved to states?
Well, there are a lot of issues; for instance, the issue of power (energy). By the constitution, power is exclusively in the hands of the Federal Government and it is very evident that the Federal Government has not been able to manage power effectively in a manner that the entire country will have the benefits to run the businesses we have. If there will be devolution, I think power can be placed in the recurrent list so that states and the Federal Government can legislate on it. The issue of security is another issue that must be looked into. A lot of power is concentrated in the centre. They should devolve power to the states so that they can fend for themselves and let the centre manage issues like external security, currency, military, and immigration.

The constitution had been tinkered with severally, yet there is persistent clamour for people’s constitution. Do you have confidence in this current process?
Well, we are hoping that this time they will hit the nail on the head. They should not dance around the issues because in the past, the major issues disturbing Nigeria were not addressed. But we believe this time they should be able to address those issues that are really disturbing the entire country, that is, restructuring and true federalism.

You see, the country is blessed with several minerals resources. We have several untapped minerals resources and nobody cares, because everybody thinks the Federal Government is in charge. But we want the situation where the state government will not go to beg or wait for statutory allocation from Abuja. We want a situation where the state government will produce its resources and pay tax to the Federal Government. With what is going on in the country and in the South-west in particular in terms of security, I think the time has come for us to decentralise the police like some other countries in the world. Let us have federal police; let us also have state and local government police.

Although, the fear in Nigeria is that state police might be abused by the governors, but even at that, in the area of crime investigation, the state and local governments should be able to know who and who is within their environment and what they are doing. By doing this, they will ensure they deal with the issue of security in the country by exposing the criminals within their environment. In the case of the federal police, the national headquarters of the police is too far and they are also not coping because of lack of money. So, if state police will be allowed to oil the police system, I think it will be better.

Under President Olusegun Obasanjo, amendment of the constitution was truncated by the infamous third term agenda. Do you have any premonition of similar agenda this time?
President Buhari has said time without number that he is not going to seek a third and that he is okay with the second term. So, I don’t think the National Assembly will go that way. There are certain areas of the constitution that are no go areas. Nigerians have accepted two terms and those of us from the South-south geopolitical zone are yet to get our second tenure. I think the two-term is okay. No one should think of a third term or a perpetual term. I think that if you have served two terms, you should be able to retire and leave others to continue from where you stop.

In the past constitutional review, the Niger Delta states agitated for fiscal federalism. How can this be achieved when the rest of Nigeria depends majorly on earnings from oil and gas?
I am happy that oil is no longer exclusively found in the Niger Delta. We have found oil in Benue and the North-east. Since oil is now found in other parts of the country, it is not going to be a solely Niger Delta thing. But we are talking about steel, coal and other minerals that are not tapped. The time has come for us to tap them and use them for the benefit of the people. But how do we tap them when the Federal Government is more interested in oil rather than being interested in overall mineral resources in this country.

The constitution should review the Land Use Act, Petroleum Act, and the Mineral Resources Act so that at the end of the day, each state will be able to look for investors to invest in their resources and see how they can develop their people. We have said this country should be restructured and let every state mine whatever they have and pay tax to the Federal Government. We have found oil beyond the Niger Delta, so whatever, the Niger Delta had been experiencing, the other regions will suffer a similar fate.

Why has it been difficult to have a brand new people’s constitution, rather than these piecemeal amendments?
Well, I don’t know. We have had several conferences, even in President Goodluck Jonathan’s time, before he left office. With reports from those conferences, I expected a genuine, serious government to bring all of them to the table and let the National Assembly debate on them and pass them into law. That will be better as a people’s document than what they are doing now.

Do you think agitation for regionalism and the creation of more states should also be considered?
It seems there is a clamour for more states. I think we can create more states.

‘Constitution Review, Another Wasteful Agenda’
National Secretary of Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE), Dr. Kunle Olajide, sees the planned review of the 1999 Constitution by the National Assembly as a wasteful agenda

What is your position on the 56-man committee set up by the Senate to review the 1999 Constitution?
It is a share waste of time and resources more like the one headed by the former deputy senate president, Ike Ekweremadu, by the 8th Senate. Let me use the appropriate word; it is mere jobs for the boys. I said this Nigeria is at present in a state of war.

For instance, in 2015, insurgency was limited to the northeast and some parts of Abuja, but today, it has spread to all parts of the country, including Yoruba land. For some lawmakers to come and tell us they want to do another review of the constitution is rigmarole. The National Assembly itself is a product of the 1999 Constitution and its role is to make laws and not write constitution.

Another reason the exercise will not produce any reasonable result is that Nigerians are not currently happy or trust the three arms of government any longer. How do you then believe in the efforts of someone or an institution you don’t trust? The present three arms of government or the political parties in power and the major opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are birds of the same feather and they cannot give us a good or workable constitution. 
For instance, the late Chief Rotimi Williams, who was among the few people that wrote the 1999 Constitution, told us before he died that the document lied against itself, where it was written, ‘We, the people’ for a constitution that didn’t pass through a referendum. This present constitution originated from not more than 20 people appointed by the military government to write.

What Nigeria needs is a people-constitution. Instead of setting up another committee to waste billions of naira, the senate should debate and send a Bill, set up a Constituent Assembly and election should be conducted into the body, whose outcome must be subjected to a referendum and it becomes a constitution.

There are counter-arguments that this it is not possible to review the current constitution without the input of National Assembly, no matter how the legislature may be perceived?
This is what I am saying that the political elite in Nigeria is wicked, selfish and not sincere because they are the greatest beneficiaries of the deficient 1999 Constitution, so how then do you expect them to review it against their interest? It is not possible, because they won’t do it.

We have been saying it, that this country does not need a bicameral legislature with full salaries and humongous remunerations, but what we need is a part-time unicameral law-making arm. Another option is to revisit all the reports of the previous constitutional conferences and take them to the constituent assembly for deliberations, after which it passed for referendum and we will have a new constitution. Let me repeat that the new exercise will end like the previous ones, more importantly, because Nigeria is in a state emergency.
For instance, some people will talk about power devolution. I particularly hate this word, because it sounds as if the Federal Government is doing the federating units a favour by conceding some powers to them. No! Nigerians and not the Federal Government are the custodians of power and they should not be dashed with such power. It is like you telling me you want to concede what I own to me. Is that ideal?

There is restructuring in the APC’s manifestos and I challenge the leadership of that party to live up to its promises. For Nigeria to continue with this type of system, where power is absolutely at the centre, will make the country implode one day.
Major revenues come from the states VAT (Value Added Tax), oil revenue and others, especially from the South and someone will take it to Abuja and start redistributing. The revenue allocation is a big injustice the past military governments controlled and masterminded by a section at gunpoint.

Another injustice is the fact that the South, especially Southwest and South-South, are being made to bear the greatest consequences of misgovernance in the north. The south is paying for all manners of challenges of bad governance of the northern leaders to their people. For instance, where is the headquarters of poverty in Nigeria, where is the greatest mortality rate and where did Boko Haram insurgencies start?

There is insincerity on the part of Buhari’s administration. This incumbent President has turned in-between the loyalty to Nigeria and to his ethnic group and he tilts more to his Fulani relations than he is to the country he presides over. 

If in the next 10 years nothing is done to thinker with the current system, what could Nigeria look like?
Ha! 10 years is too far; we at war already and it is escalating. In 2015, Boko Haram activities were limited to the northeast, but two years into Buhari’s administration, it has spread beyond and now to the entire country. So, why do you think it will take up to 10 years for Nigeria to implode if we don’t do the needful now and urgently?

What we are witnessing in the north is a clash between globalisation and feudalism. Some people are rebelling against the excesses of their emirs. Do you not notice that our military officers too are getting weary? We have an urgent situation at hand. The price of civilisation, accommodation, and liberalisation is what the South is paying now.
Another issue is that the leadership of both APC and PDP, in collaboration with few, has conspired to use the instrument of poverty to suppress Nigerians, and that is why people can afford to sell their votes and destiny. The 1999 Constitution encourages and promotes conspiracy theories of the political elite and that is the reason I say the new senate committee on constitution review is another means to make money.

New Constitution Should Recognise Only Two Tiers Of Government, Says Clark
In this interview with CHIDO OKAFOR, the national leader of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, canvassed for a two-tier government, resource control, devolution of power, others. Excerpts:

What aspects of the 1999 Constitution do you think should be tinkered with this time around?
First, on behalf of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), I wish to congratulate the Senate for constituting a committee to review the constitution. We pray that all members place the interest of Nigeria first and not to play partisan politics and ethnicity in carrying out their deliberations. This is because the report of the 8th Assembly was a disgrace, particularly when they voted against devolution of power.

Having said that, I will say that the first item the Constitution Review Committee should consider is that of Devolution of Power to the states. The present constitution has no character of federalism. It is a unitary form of constitution. 

A situation whereby the Federal Government controls every aspect of government including primary and secondary schools, agriculture, health, finance, etc. is untidy. And that is why people consider the president of Nigeria to be one of the most powerful in the world. Everything must get the approval of the president/centre. This is not what happens in the U.S. where we copied.

The constitution should contain only two tiers of government, that is, all matters pertaining to local councils should be handled by the state. Local councils should be created by the state governments in accordance with their requirement and as to their ability to finance them. The chairmanship of local councils should rotate among the wards in a local council. There should be no joint account between the state and local governments. All monies should be paid to the state governments and the state governments should set up a State Revenue Mobilisation Commission, which should be headed by a retired Judge.

The Federal Government should have some of the following functions: (i) Foreign Policy including the signing of treaties. (ii) Defence (iii) National Assembly, which should be trimmed down or reduced to one senator per state. The membership of the House of Representatives should also be reduced. (iv) Tertiary education as they exist now where states are also free to establish their own universities should be maintained.

The present constitution with about 79 powers exclusively reserved for the Federal Government makes it clumsy and authoritative. It also makes the state governments work like appendages of the Federal Government. The state government should also reduce their membership of the state Houses of Assembly to make it cost-effective and efficient in intelligence. Also, the state Houses of Assembly should be independent of the state executive.

What would the South-south zone take to the table when the exercise begins?
The South-south region, popularly known as Niger Delta, will take to the table those items for which we have always agitated at every conference such as those held in 2005 and 2014. These issues include derivation or resource control. The northerners, who do not have oil, are today the owners and managers of the industry.

We will insist on the Local Content Act. Today, 85 per cent of senior appointments in the oil industry go to the North. This is very unacceptable. We regard it as offensive and unconstitutional where for instance, out of 15 very senior appointments, 10 went to the North, three to the South-west, two to the South-south, which produces over 80 per cent of the oil and none to the South-east, which also produces oil in Imo and Abia states.

The abolition of the Equalisation Fund Act whereby fuel is sold in Sokoto State at the price it is sold in Bayelsa State should be seriously looked into.

All oil blocs and lifting of oil are given to people from outside the South-south, thereby impoverishing the people of the region to the extent that they depend on the Federal Government for development at all time; and making them stooges without a voice because some people feel power belongs to them absolutely. These other politicians control the political parties because the wealth is in their hands, wealth which they generated from the Niger Delta region. When we speak out, those who hold the power regard it as confrontation. The landscape of the region is polluted and the ecosystem destroyed.

The 13 per cent provided for in the 1999 Constitution as amended has not been increased for 20 years now. Every attempt by South-south delegates at various conferences particularly in 2005 to ensure that it is increased was opposed by northern delegates.

It is for this reason that we are demanding for the restructuring of the country by going back to the 1963 Constitution, which provides for Derivation or Resource Control whereby 50 per cent of revenue accrued in a region is retained by the producing region to manage itself while the remaining 50 per cent is shared between the Federal Government and the regions including that which contributed it. It will be recalled that we went through this in the 2005 Conference and only 18 per cent was approved. We rejected it and asked for 25 per cent. The South-south delegation under my leadership staged a walkout. Even the 18 per cent recommended was not implemented.

The same argument arose in the 2014 National Conference, and as usual, the northern delegates opposed any increase and so no recommendation was made. But the matter was referred to the President.

The South-south will also ask for state police, not this method of the military permanently occupying the zone in the pretext of protecting our vital natural assets, whereby the actual bunkering is perpetuated by some of them in collaboration with unpatriotic local people.

The Universal Basic Education should be abolished. The position of the Attorney General should be separated from the office of the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General should do his duty as the Attorney General, and not be tied to the executive. There should be two Accountant Generals, one for the Federal Government and the other for the federation. The section on Federal Character should be clearly spelt out and should be compulsorily implemented.

How should the Constitution Review Committee proceed for the maximum result?
They should consider it as a national duty and not parochially. What the 8th National Assembly did was a very disgraceful part.

‘We Need A Complete Review Of The 1999 Constitution’
Former INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Chief Nduka Eya, spoke to Southeast Bureau Chief, LAWRENCE NJOKU, saying Nigeria needs a complete review of the new constitution.

Any need for this constitutional review?
The mere fact that there is a review committee means that people think there is a need for a review. I personally have been on the forefront for a new constitution for Nigeria in which “we” the people of Nigeria are involved. In 2018, I wrote the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives who were then in the ruling party, APC – Dr Saraki and Dogara. The title was ‘Enough of a vicious cycle of restructuring – Give us a new constitution”. I sent a copy of that letter to the president and a copy to Chief Justice of Nigeria and what did I say?

I said that in this country, we are fond of spending money on committees and nothing comes out of it. I said first and foremost, the 1999 constitution as amended is not “we” the people constitution. It is a constitution of the Supreme Military Council made up mostly of northern Generals.

The military ruled this country out of 38 years in the 60 years that we will be in October, leaving us with less than 30 years of the democratic experiment. Out of those 38 years, the northern generals ruled for 33 years. Obasanjo ruled as military head of state and came back as a civilian president. So, one after the other, coup after coup, Babangida, Buhari, Abdulsalami, name them, they are all generals from the North taking over from another General. Throughout these 38 years, we were ruled by decrees and when in 1999 the military decided to handover, I was a member of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and we were given a specific instruction on when to finish the transition election or the military will continue. As it was then, nobody was interested in any other thing except seeing the military exit power. So, in nine months, we were able to go through the hub of elections.

So, the military headed by Abdulsalami Abubakar designed what they called the constitution and I tell you that Obasanjo who won the election after Abdulsalami did not know what was in the constitution until he was sworn in and was handed over a fraudulent constitution that started with “we” the people. It is a military-designed document that was deliberately couched to favour a section of this country against the interest of the rest of us. We can get an example.

Who said in the constitution of this country that there shall be 774 local councils? Since when did the Federal Government begin to get involved in local government matters? Babangida created local governments and gave as a dash to friends and that is why there is no uniform template for the creation. So for me, there is a need for this.

I am addressing a letter to Omo-Agege that God has given him a chance to write his name in gold. He is APC and it is a challenge to him. It is left for his committee to give us a new constitution fashioned and approved by the people through a referendum, and then it will be right to say “we” the people. The present 1999 constitution is a fraudulent document that was imposed on us.

Are there specific aspects that should be expunged going by the length of time it can take to get a new constitution?
In the last few years through the 8th National Assembly, we have been picking and amending sections of the constitution. To me, that is a fire brigade attitude. We need a complete review of the constitution. Why do I say so? In my letter to Saraki, I said in 2000, we had a document called Vision 2020. Anybody who read that document would understand the intellectual brilliance that went into it. People drawn from the academia sat down and produced a document called Vision 2020. It was produced during the military rule of Abacha. That document was simply saying, where should Nigeria be in 2020? We are now in 2020 and when I wrote that letter, I told Saraki and Dogara that it is two years to 2020 and we have not even started the journey.

Now in 2005 when Obasanjo came in, he set up a constitution review committee; that committee came up with a marvelous document that could have pulled us out of this fraudulent 1999 constitution but Obasanjo then tried to insert into it the third term tenure, which was the selfish tendency of African leaders to perpetuate themselves in office. That document travelled to the Senate where Ken Nnamani was the senate president but instead of removing the chaff which was the third term thing, they threw away the baby and bathwater, thus, we lost that opportunity.

Then came 2014; there was a national conference. It is based on this conference that I am doing a letter to Omo-Agege and I am asking his committee to call for the 2014 national conference report. Forget who set it up, whether it was Jonathan or PDP, but let us re-examine it and see the possibility of using it to help our country. I want to recall something here; some of these people fighting against this document in APC including Tinubu were part of the struggle in NADECO when the military chased them out and most of the things challenging us today have answers in that document.

Jonathan set up a conference in 2014, which coincided with the 100 years anniversary of the British amalgamation of the North and Southern protectorate. The British for their own interest merged the northern and southern protectorate into one country called Nigeria and that was when they built a railway from Port Harcourt to anywhere they want for their economic benefits. Ironically, at the end of our 100 years of woes including a civil war in which we lost so many lives, in which children died of various diseases, in which hunger was used as a legitimate instrument for war, in which planes bombed markets and churches. Those 100 years gave Nigerians several experiences.

If you remember, Yar’Adua said his election was faulted and that he would do something and he did. He set up the Uwais committee that came up with a beautiful recommendation on what will make our elections good, but the politicians in the Senate killed it. The politicians looked at how each recommendation affected them and changed it. That is why we are still where we are today. If we had adopted the recommendations of that committee, for example in the choice of chairman of INEC, that report made it clear that whoever must run as chairman should apply to the National Judicial Commission (NJC), who will screen them and recommend three persons to the executive. That person when appointed will know that his appointment was not from one single individual and he will behave himself.

I was talking about local governments; they put into our constitution a peg to the number of local governments in the country not realising that local governments are not the duty of the Federal Government. In other words, you saw Obasanjo and the Lagos State government in action and that is why we now have in our political lexicon, local government development areas. These local governments are supposed to be increased in the states that are concerned but because of the constitutional restriction put by the military, they cannot do so. Obasanjo was right in saying, ‘no, you cannot create because it is against the constitution.’ But he fouled by holding their local government fund. Why was this so? Those who authored the 1999 fraudulent constitution knew that we are all going to share from the same pot and that the number of local governments you have the better. That is why the number of local governments you have in the North is more than the number you have in the South. If you calculate the money coming for the local governments, the bulk of it goes to the North.

That is why a state, for instance like Kano, has 44 local governments and Enugu has 17. Lagos is as big as Kano has about 20. So, it is a clear design by the military to favour a segment.

The 2014 conference addressed these woes we went through in 100 years. It had 429 men and if you add the number with what we have in the National Assembly, it is even greater and better organised and attended.

My worry is why has President Muhammadu Buhari not agreed to bring out this report? I think it is because the APC, one of the major political parties in Nigeria, refused to attend that conference.

So, our constitution drafted by the army is a failure and we need a brand new constitution that should have a referendum clause, so, we can refer it to the people to approve and with that, we can call it a people’s constitution. The 2014 conference addressed several issues including the current security challenges. We are cutting our nose to spite our face and that is why the Omo-Agege committee must do something positive for the country.

How do you expect a party that did not attend the confab to adopt its resolutions as a working document?
That is the problem we keep facing in the country and that is why we should look beyond pedestrian reasoning and do things that will lift us as a nation. The present National Assembly is lopsided and that has always reflected in their action. We need to help ourselves. We should stop playing to the gallery and beating about the bush. The APC government set up a 30-man committee headed by el-Rufai to look at the constitution and what did it amount to? How can recommendations of 30 persons capture the challenges of the people more than the one reached by over 400 people? Even when they rejected that of Jonathan, what have they done with the one from El-Rufai? We had 623 unanimous resolutions. Things are not good for us in Nigeria because we have refused to do the right thing, which is changing our constitution. Buhari should have retired the Service Chiefs but he chooses to keep them and we are in security mess. That is what a faulty constitution can guarantee. There are many more.

So, we should look beyond politics and do the needful. Some of these happenings in the country at times make me believe that our government is not sincere. They should go back to the 2014 conference and adopt its recommendations. Nigeria spent a lot of money in that conference. We engaged the services of our best brains to arrive at something good. So, those thinking that it is good for the waste paper basket are not helping the country. We cannot continue like this unless there is something that those ruling us have refused to disclose to us.