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Why The 1999 Constitution Must Be Amended – Gbajabiamila



The Speaker of the House Of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila has declared that the 1999 constitution of Nigeria must be amended because it was hurriedly put together.

He argued that the constitution falls below acceptable standards and described it as “the product of a hurried national compromise” just to ensure the military returned to the barracks.

Gbajabiamila who spoke on Tuesday in Lagos at the zonal public hearing on the review of the 1999 constitution added that a better constitution that represents the interest and yearnings of the Nigerian people is what is needed to confront the challenges facing the country.

In his words, “A nation’s constitution is the foundation of its existence. It is supposed to set the terms of our nationhood and define who we are in a manner that reflects both our common truths and highest aspirations.”

“Our constitution falls short of this standard because the 1999 Constitution is the product of a hurried national compromise that we entered into two decades ago in other to ensure that the military returned to the barracks and that we returned to democratic government.”

“It was always the intention that we will one day as one people and one nation, return to amend this document so that it gives voice to the yearnings of the Nigerian people and sets out in clear details how we intend to achieve the shared ambitions of our nationhood. Providence has cast upon the 9th National Assembly the responsibility to write such a constitution for the Nigerian people.”

Though he agreed that the task of constitutional amendment won’t be easy, the Speaker said it is a task that must be done to make Nigeria better.

“No nation in the world has a perfect constitution, but we need a near-perfect constitution in Nigeria and we can achieve that through substantive amendments that significantly alter the character of our nation.”

“Therefore, the task before us now is to use this process of review and amendment to devise for ourselves a constitution that resolves the issues of identity and political structure, of human rights and the administration of government, resource control, national security and so much else, that have fractured our nation and hindered our progress and prosperity.

“Our job is to produce a constitution that turns the page on our past, yet heeds its many painful lessons. It is not an easy task, but it is a necessary and urgent one.

Gbajabiamila added that a constitution review will offer the opportunity to “restructure our government to make it more effective” and will “put an end to the debilitating conflicts that even now continue to tear our nation apart”.

“We will do what is necessary to achieve these outcomes because all of us in the House of Representatives recognize that this moment in our history is fraught with promise and peril, and the future of our country lies in our hands,” he said while calling on participants at the public hearing to make meaningful contributions.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has declared that no administration has done so much for Nigerians like the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.

He added that the achievements of President Buhari would outlive many generations to come and would always be remembered by Nigerians.

The Minister made the submission on Tuesday in Abuja while speaking to newsmen about the second anniversary of the second term of the Buhari administration.

According to him, Buhari has done so much for Nigerians despite the global economic challenges and paucity of resources.

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