Reinventing the Wheel Not Necessary: Here’s Standard Process for Replacing Nigeria’s Dead 1999 Constitution – by Toni Nnadi
I have, on behalf of the LNC, had cause to make this correction offline but now constrained to make it again online.
As a lawyer with substantial proficiency in Applied Jurisprudence and as one who had, for about 20 years, been involved in the elaborate processes to wind up the imposed unitarist constitutional architecture and order of Nigeria, I can say with a measure of certitude that I am in position to inform and enlighten us on the subject.
The many suggestions and actions towards “writing another constitution for Nigeria” by various groups is not the first order of business in this matter. It is like building a house from the roof downwards to the foundation.
Having all rejected the imposed constitution of Nigeria, the first order of business is to get the entrapped constituent components of Nigeria, to AGREE TO RE-FEDERATE.
This first order must be undertaken in the formations in which the constituent components freely decide to federate with other blocs, each armed with its regional constitution drawn within its sovereign rights and unfettered right to self-determine. This must be done by way of a general referendum of the people(s) of each territory.
It is a “Yes” vote from such a Referendum that would form the basis of the second step, which is, TO DISTILL THE TERMS OF FEDERATING.
Negotiations to distill the terms of the federation are to be between the various willing, compatible and contiguous blocs, and it is the outcome of those negotiations that is reduced to a formal document called the “Constitution”.
A federation is a union of the federating constitutions; so, the logic of a federation compels a two-stage process. Anything less is an exercise in futility, except we seek to reinforce the unitarism we have today.
Now, I ask those who posit that writing a “new constitutions for Nigeria” as the BEGINNING of the process the following questions:
(1) What designs are there for collapsing the 36-state structure into a much lesser number of federating units (between the 4 we had up to 1966 and the 8 units suggested by the Middle Belt constituents in their recent Makurdi Declaration)?
(2) At what time will this fundamental reconfiguration take place? Before or after the 2019 general elections when new governors will emerge in the states and new senators and representatives emerge in Abuja?
We need not reinvent the wheel on this subject matter. There is a process that engages the various compartments of the Nigerian question. That process MUST be seen as Job One.
Lower Niger Congress (LNC)
August 26, 2018