Emeka Anyaoku Advocates For New Federal Constitution In Nigeria

Emeka Anyaoku Advocates For New Federal Constitution In Nigeria

A former Commonwealth Secretary-General, Eneka Anyaoku, has decried the 1999 constitution’s inadequacy in meeting the complex needs of the nation’s pluralistic society.

Speaking at a national dialogue event, Anyaoku advocated for significant constitutional reforms to propel Nigeria toward true federalism and effective governance.

During the dialogue, held in honor of constitutional lawyer, Prof. Ben Nwabueze, Anyaoku emphasized the lack of legitimacy of the current constitution in addressing Nigeria’s multifaceted challenges.

The event, organised by the Patriots, a distinguished assembly of Nigerian leaders, explored the theme “Lawful Procedures for Actualising a People’s Constitution for Nigeria,” reflecting the urgent need for an inclusive and representative legal framework.

Anyaoku proposed two potential pathways to reform: either adopting the recommendations of the 2014 national conference or convening a new, cost-effective constituent assembly aimed at crafting a truly federal constitution.

His critique centres on the constitution’s failure to effectively decentralize power among Nigeria’s diverse federating units, a feature he considers pivotal for the nation’s development.

Highlighting Nigeria’s pluralistic nature, Anyaoku argued that the country’s stagnation in development compared to other pluralistic nations stems from its centralized power structure.

He advocated for a governance model that empowers regional authorities, suggesting that such devolution of power is crucial for addressing local needs and enhancing national progress.

He said, “First Nigeria is a pluralistic country that is still struggling to become a nation with assured political stability and progressive socioeconomic development.

“The fact from across the world is that some pluralistic countries have succeeded in becoming nations while other pluralistic countries have failed and disintegrated. The lesson from this is that pluralistic countries which have succeeded in becoming nations have generally practiced true federalism with considerable power devolved to the federating units.

This fact was acknowledged by our founding fathers who negotiated painstakingly and agreed the Independence Constitution of 1960-1963.

“Our present 1999 constitution as amended not only lacks the legitimacy that flows from a democratically made constitution but also has proved to be unsuitable for tackling many of the serious challenges confronting our country.

“It is a widely recognized fact that the crucial areas of the country have significantly deteriorated and continue to deteriorate.”

He said Nigeria has suffered deterioration in many fronts in the area of Security of the citizens lives and properties, economic well-being of the citizens, infrastructure including roads and education and health facilities, social cohesion and social values and the sense of national unity.

“These are areas where significant deterioration has occurred over the years,” he said.

The elder statesman said Nigeria has two options in getting a truly federal constitution by either adopting the recommendations of the 2014 National Confab or “we go for a relatively inexpensive directly elected constituent assembly on non-party basis for producing such widely desired constitution.”

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