Constitutional Amendments is not the Answer, A new Constitution is.

The former deputy Senate President revealed that “The Constitution has undergone several amendments since 2010. The global best practice is that when a law undergoes so many amendments, you repeal and re-enact it, just as we are currently doing to the Electoral Act”.

Constitutional Amendments is not the Answer, A new Constitution is.

Former Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has tasked the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies, NILDS, on creating a pathway for the making of a new constitution. Ekweremadu made the call in a paper entitled “Constitution Amendment: Fostering Greater Involvement of NILDS”, which he delivered at a capacity building programme for Research Fellows of the Institute in Abuja on Friday.

 He said whereas Section 9 of the Constitution empowers the parliament to amend the constitution amendment, the process, in reality, was not as easy as it appears to some onlookers. He noted that “Constitution amendment is the single most important and rigorous lawmaking power of the Nigerian legislature, I had the rare privilege of piloting the process in the 6th, 7th, and 8th Senate, and I can affirm that it is not only rigorous, but enmeshed in convoluted politics, Nigeria being a pluralistic society”.  

Ekweremadu, however, said NILDS could be very relevant to the constitution amendment process by building the capacity of members and support staff of Constitution Amendment Committees of the National and State Assemblies and by championing the procedure for creating a new Constitution.

The former deputy Senate President revealed that “The Constitution has undergone several amendments since 2010. The global best practice is that when a law undergoes so many amendments, you repeal and re-enact it, just as we are currently doing to the Electoral Act”.

Adding that under his stewardship amendments to reform of local government system, including the infusion of financial autonomy, uniformity of tenure, and better electoral process in the election of Councils were consistently rejected by the State Assemblies, proposed key amendments such as procedure for the enactment of an entirely new constitution, creation of state police, single term for President and Governors, abrogation of the immunity clause, and removal of the Land Use Act were all voted out at the level of the National Assembly.

The lawmaker representing Enugu West listed ethno-religious and sectional politics, lack of political will, crisis of expectation, apathy on the part of the masses, lack of democratic culture, and lack of independence of critical institutions, among others, as major challenges faced in constitution amendment processes.

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