• Wednesday, July 17, 2024
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BusinessDay

FixPolitics calls for a new constitution to tackle Nigeria’s woes

Budgetary bonanza: NASS celebrates unprecedented 160.12 percent surge

…Laments opposition to diaspora voting by NASS

With the prevailing socio-economic challenges confronting the country, #FixPolitics has called for a new citizens-led constitution for Nigeria, saying that no extent of amendment can fix the fatal flaws contained in the 1999 constitution.

Anthony Ubani, Executive Director of #FixPolitics Africa stated this in Lagos during an interaction with journalists yesterday, noting that the genesis of the myriad of challenges confronting Nigeria can all be substantively addressed by restructuring the country through the making of a new citizens-led Constitution to replace the 999 Constitution.

Read also: #FixPolitics condemns EFCC, other agencies harassment of NIPC boss Sadiku

Since the 10th National Assembly began the process for the sixth constitution amendment, there have been renewed calls for the abolishment of the present laws of the land and the enactment of a new one.

Ubani was of the view that Nigeria needed a citizen-driven constitution, stressing that the National Assembly has a significant role to initiate and facilitate a process towards the ultimate creation of a new Constitution.

“A mere amendment at this point in our history is inadequate to address the multiple structural issues that threaten the security, stability and economic well-being of the Nigerian State,” Ubani said.

Continuing Ubani added that the National Assembly should equally, enact a constitutional amendment process that will authorise a referendum to accept the outcome of the drafting of the new constitution, stressing that this will ensure that the new constitution

enjoys the assent of the people.

The Executive Director #FixPolitics argued that if a constitution is put together by the political class without the active and full participation of citizens, it will suffer the same faith as the 1999 constitution, through lack of citizens’ ownership, lack of citizens’ buy-in and lack of popular citizens support.

“Nigeria’s problems are structural therefore any serious and legitimate solution geared towards solving Nigeria’s problems must be structural and begin with enacting a new citizens-led Constitution.

“A piece meal approach of tackling corruption today, tackling waste tomorrow, focusing on lack of electoral integrity the next day and insecurity today will simply mean that we will keep running round endlessly in circles without getting any closer to achieving results or solving our problems”, Ubani said.

He lamented that Nigeria is not practising true democracy because the political class have captured and compromised the institutions of democracy for their selfish and parochial interests.

According to him, “Whether it is the judiciary, INEC, the police, etc, they have all been captured. Therefore, what we have today is a monopolistic democracy, government by the political class, for the political class and by the political class. This is why the political class do not have an incentive to reform the system.

“The strategy to confront and reverse this strangulation of democracy by the political class lies in the effective execution of the #FixPolitics triangular pillar democracy emerge an engaged and empowered electorate, recruit and train a new generation of political class who are disruptive in their thinking, committed to serving the needs of citizens and able to lead with demonstrable Character, competence and capacity and finally compel a restructured constitutional, electoral, political and economic environment.

“This is the pathway to birthing a new Nigeria that serves all Nigerians fairly, equitably and productively.”

On calls for the country to return to the parliamentary system and have just a single legislative chamber, Ubani maintained that Nigeria’s problem is not the system of government or the number of legislative chambers we have.

“We were practising the parliamentary system before we abandoned it for the presidential system. Every system has its strengths and weaknesses. But no system can survive the greed, avarice, incompetence, lack of character and patriotism of our political class.

“It’s time for citizens to wake up from their apathy and start working together to compel government to commence implementation of urgent structural reforms to prevent Nigeria from becoming a failed state.”

Speaking further, Ubani lamented the continued opposition to diaspora voting by the National Assembly even when over 40 out of the 54 countries in the African continent are already practising it.

He pointed out that the political class are afraid of the impact and implications of instituting diaspora voting on their hold on power.

“Clearly, there are real fears and concerns that diaspora Nigerians who are typical well educated, enlightened, exposed and sophisticated would not be easily induced or compromised to sell their votes for a mudu of garri or a 500 naira note in the middle of a 100 naira loaf of bread as is regularly done at home in Nigeria.”

“But we are committed to working collaboratively with our partners in civil society, NIDCOM, the National Assembly, INEC, the Presidency and with our diaspora partners to find creative and diplomatic ways to continue to engage with the National Assembly.