We Need National Conference Not Constitution Amendment – Afe Babalola SAN


Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr Afe Babalola

Founder of Afe Babalola University Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), Aare Afe Babalola has said the nation at the moment does not need an amendment to the 1999 constitution but a national conference where stakeholders would discuss and agreed on a new document for the country.

The legal icon described the current process by the two chambers of the national assembly to amend the constitution as an exercise in futility, saying, ” there is no way the National Assembly can amend the 1999 constitution to cure the inherent defects in the 1999 constitution.”

Babalola in a statement made available to Nigerian Tribune in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti state capital on Wednesday and titled, “Proposed Amendment to the 1999 constitution by the National Assembly: a futile exercise’ said the constitution is an impediment to the nation’s progress.”

He explained that the national assembly must summon the courage to save the country from collapse by commencing immediately the process of giving Nigerians a new federal constitution that would lead to a parliamentary system of government like it was in 1963.

According to him, “The truth is that there is no way the National Assembly can amend the 1999 constitution to cure the inherent defects in the 1999 constitution. First, you cannot cure fraud. Second, it is impossible, by way of amendment, to take away the military system of government under the 1999 constitution or the power and control of public funds by the President. Or can we, by way of amendment, change the Judicial powers of the President under the 1999 constitution?

“The root cause of our problems, which has brought Nigeria to the brink of extinction, is the 1999 constitution foisted on it by the Military when it was exiting the reign of governance in 1999.

The fact remains that you cannot amend a Coconut tree that has no branches to become an Iroko tree that has branches. It is a well-known fact that everything about the 1999 constitution is wound around the Presidential system of government.

“Why then is the National Assembly afraid of calling a National Constitutional Conference to fashion out a new true federal constitution and come up with a Parliamentary system of government like we had in 1963.

Alternatively, since the amendment in law includes substitution for an existing document, why is it that the National Assembly cannot call for a Public Hearing on the substitution of the 1999 constitution for the 1963 constitution which was made with the consent of the people?

The proposed amendment to the 1999 constitution, whichever way you look at it, is a futile exercise.

“We all know that previous sessions of National Assembly had made laws to convene National Conference. I, therefore, advise that the current National Assembly should call for a National Conference to discuss and make a new true federal constitution which will provide for a Parliamentary system of government.”

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