Calls for national conference, urges adoption of 1963 Constitution
The founder of the Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD), Legal icon, Chief Afe Babalola (SAN), has described the proposed amendment to the 1999 Constitution as a futile exercise, urging the National Assembly to call for a national conference to discuss and make a new true federal constitution.
Babalola, who made the comment yesterday, according to a statement by the Head of Corporate Affairs, Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), Mr. Tunde Olofintila, said there was no way the National Assembly could amend the 1999 Constitution to cure the inherent defects in it.
According to the eminent jurist, the root cause of the country’s problems, which has brought it to the brink of extinction, is the 1999 Constitution foisted on it by the Military when it was exiting the reign of governance in 1999.
He called for substitution of the 1999 Constitution for the 1963 Constitution, which was made with the consent of the people.
“Against the background of the massive demand by Nigerians, home and abroad, for a true federal constitution made by the people and for the people, the National Assembly is calling for public hearing in the country’s six geo-political zones for people’s inputs on any issue of interest to enable the National Assembly amend the 1999 Constitution.
“It is common knowledge that the 1999 Constitution was made by the military which, in its wisdom, claimed that it was made by the people. The constitution says among other things that “We the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, having firmly and solemnly resolved…do hereby make and give to ourselves the following…
“Of course, this claim is false. The truth is that there is no way the National Assembly can amend the 1999 Constitution to cure the inherent defects.
First, you cannot cure fraud. Second, it is impossible, by way of amendment, to take away the military system of government under the 1999 Constitution or the power and control of public funds by the President. Or can we, by way of amendment, change the judicial powers of the President under the 1999 Constitution?” he queried.
Babalola, who is the founder of ABUAB, further said: “The fact remains that you cannot amend a coconut tree which has no branches to become and Iroko tree which has branches. It is a well-known fact that everything about the 1999 Constitution is wound round the Presidential system of government.
“Why then is the National Assembly afraid of calling a national constitutional conference to fashion out a new true federal constitution and come up with a parliamentary system of government like we had in 1963.”
“Alternatively, since amendment in law includes substitution for an existing document, why is it that the National Assembly cannot call for a public hearing on the substitution of the 1999 Constitution for the 1963 Constitution which was made with the consent of the people?
“The proposed amendment to the 1999 Constitution, whichever way you look at it, is a futile exercise. We all know that previous sessions of National Assembly had made laws to convene national conference.
“ I, therefore, advise that the current National Assembly should call for a national conference to discuss and make a new true federal constitution which will provide for a parliamentary system of government,” the respected lawyer said.