We Should Scrap This Constitution, Adopt 1963 Republican Charter – Prof. Sagay


*Says Southern Govs Position Mere Declaration Of Intent

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria made the recommendation when he appeared on Politics Today on Monday.

He believes the 1963 Republican Constitution addresses everything that is being agitated for in the country and can help halt the turmoil that has rocked the nation.

“If we had that, with amendments here and there to make it accommodate states rather than regions which we used to have, I think all these agitations will die down and everybody will be happy,” he added.

Sagay, who is also the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), noted the report of the Nasir El-Rufai led All Progressives Congress (APC) Committee on Restructuring.

He stated that the committee came up with an excellent report, stressing the need to look at the content of the documents and implement them.

The senior advocate was, however, of the opinion that it would be better to implement the report in a totally new Constitution, rather than amending the existing one which would involve lots of amendments.

He explained that the move by the APC to set up such a committee in the first instance was indicative that President Muhammadu Buhari was in favour of federalism and devolution of powers.

The PACAC chairman, however, said, “I am personally disappointed that that excellent document is being allowed to gather dust and I think the leaders of the party should now bring it out and go to the President and say, we should now make a move to implement what we ourselves commissioned and have approved because that is what the whole country wants now.”

As one of the few people who have virtually seen Nigeria from the beginning, the octogenarian revealed that he knew nothing about the Federal Government as a secondary school student.

He recalled that governance was being controlled at the regional level, noting that there was so much peace in the land at the time.

“I only knew about Ibadan and Awolowo; the region controlled my life from A-Z and everything worked perfectly, beautifully, happily. That is what we are missing. We just have to go back to that otherwise Nigeria will not enjoy stability,” he said.

Sagay added, “If we can have a process which will be towards having a new Constitution, it will be better. Until we have it, we can manage with what the National Assembly is doing but certainly, it is far from satisfactory but may result in an improvement of what we have now.

“But what we really need is a clear departure from what we have. what we have now is a unitary constitution parading itself as a federal constitution.”

Fielding questions in a monitored programme on Channels Television, ‘Politics Today’ Sagay maintained that mere declaration won’t be as impactful as a law from each Southern state prohibiting open grazing.

“I have been advocating ranching for cattle herding since 2011 as the only way out. I was the first to talk about it until it became an existential threat to many communities, particularly in the South.

“Frankly, I don’t think a declaration is sufficient, governors have to go back to their individual houses of assemblies and introduce motions, the way Benue state did and actually pass a law on banning open grazing and instituting ranching.

“So a proclamation is not enough unless they already have laws which give powers to each governor which I don’t think is the case.

“There is a need for each state assembly to actually pass a law against open grazing. This is for me legally a declaration of intent but it should be followed up by legislation in the individual state of assembly of the Southern states.

“They have to pass laws prohibiting open grazing” Sagay stated.



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