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Enact a New Nigerian Constitution (Not an Amendment): A Recommendation to Nigeria’s National Conference 2014 [Nigerian Law]

Enact a New Nigerian Constitution (Not an Amendment): A Recommendation to Nigeria’s National Conference 2014 [Nigerian Law]

By Leesi Ebenezer Mitee

President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan inaugurated Nigeria’s National Conference on 17 March 2014 under the chairmanship of Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi GCON, retired Chief Justice of Nigeria. The objectives and issues to be articulated by Nigeria’s National Conference are as follows:

Objectives of Nigeria’s National Conference

  • To examine long standing impediments to the nation’s harmonious development
  • To resolve impediments to our cohesion as a truly united nation
  • To enhance national cohesion
  • To promote national unity and integration
  • To discuss and resolve the character and nature of our economic system that will impact positively on the lives of the citizens
  • To remove all obstacles which have prevented the country from establishing an all agreeable political system
  • To deliberate on all grievances presented by citizens
  • To promote the indivisibility and indissolubility of the nation
  • To contribute towards the emergence of a people-oriented constitution; and
  • To examine the political and socio-economic challenges confronting the nation in order to resolve them in the best and most acceptable way to all the constituents of the Federation.

Issues for Nigeria’s National Conference

  • Political restructuring of the country
  • Forms of Domestic Governance
  • Good Governance
  • Judicature/Judicial system
  • Democratization
  • Political parties, Godfatherism and the challenges of Internal Democracy
  • National security and security challenges
  • State creation and merger of states
  • Education
  • Health
  • Science, Technology and Development
  • Restoring national ethics, morals and core values
  • Religion, Secularism and the secularity of the Nigerian State
  • Agriculture, Food Security and Rural Development
  • The Environment
  • Defence
  • Tenure of public officials: President, Governors, etc
  • The INEC and the challenges of conducting free and fair elections
  • Population and credible National Census
  • Land Use Act
  • Role of Traditional Rulers and institutions in governance at national and local levels
  • The Economy
  • Oil and other Mineral Resources Management Exploration and Sharing Mechanism
  • Revenue Generation and Mobilization
  • National Youth Service (NYSC)
  • Gender issues
  • Youth Unemployment and Development issues
  • Physically challenged persons and National Development
  • Investment in sports
  • Boundary Adjustment
  • National Inland Waterways issues
  • Election mayoralty, Administrative/Legislative Structures for FCT, Abuja, Special Status for Lagos
  • Pension matters and Rights of Senior Citizens
  • Federal Character

No-go Areas of Nigeria’s National Conference

  • Threat to Unity
  • Dissolution of the nation

Recommendations for a New Nigerian Constitution (Not an Amendment of the Existing Constitution) and Legislation on National Referendum on National Conference 2014

By virtue of the comprehensive nature of the objectives and issues to be articulated by Nigeria’s National Conference 2014, I recommend as follows:

  1. The enactment of an Act of the Nigerian National Assembly (Federal legislation) that will establish and regulate a National Referendum on the outcome of Nigeria’s National Conference 2014.
  2. The enactment of a brand-new Nigerian Constitution that will incorporate all the recommendations of the Conference that are adopted by a simple majority of Nigerian citizens through a National Referendum on the outcome of the Conference.

The rationale for enactment of a new Nigerian Constitution, in the circumstance, is in accordance with sound legislative drafting and management practice aimed at providing legislation that is easily accessible in one piece, instead of disjointed amendments. After this exercise, it is expected that future amendments to the proposed new Nigerian Constitution (the product of the will of the people of Nigeria by virtue of the referendum for the first time in Nigerian constitutional history) will not be be massive enough to necessitate a further new Constitution.

Leesi Ebenezer Mitee

Barrister & Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Law Researcher, Author of Nigerian law books and eBooks, Social Media Communicator, Legal Blogger.

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