Posted by News Express | 4 December 2020 | 886 times
A non-political, non-religious, non-sectarian group, Eminent Elders Forum (EEF), has given practical steps on how to restructure the country to save it from its present appalling state.
A meeting held by the group on November 21 and 22, 2020 on the topical national issue of restructuring the polity and constitutional amendments, came up with the following conclusions:
•Replace the 1999 Constitution with the 1963 Constitution with amendments to reflect today’s realities in Nigeria.
•Revert to parliamentary system of government because it is cheaper and the burden of governance is lighter with less corruption and more development oriented.
•Adopt a Federal system of government with strong federating units but with right provisions to make it difficult for any of the federating units to pull out of the Union.
•Adopt a unicameral legislature which is cheaper and with less internal party crisis.
•Consider the adoption of seven regions as stated above or more.
•The present states in each of the proposed regions shall serve as Provinces in the regions.
•Each province shall be headed by a Provincial Administrator.
•The mineral resources and VAT [Value Added Tax] in each region shall be under the control of the Regions/States. The Region/States shall however pay an agreed percentage of the revenue and VAT to the Federal Government.
•For effective, efficient and workable security architecture, the Police shall be decentralized to reflect the federal, regional and provincial administration that would eventually emerge.
It noted that instead of the recurrent ritual and wasteful efforts in attempts to amend the present comatose 1999 Constitution, the National Assembly should simply delete the schedule that incorporate the 1999 constitution into military decree that created it (which is now assumed to be an act of the National Assembly) and replace it with the 1963 Constitution for the concurrence of the States House of Assembly, to become operational come 2023 at the expiration of all the current elective positions as an act of the National Assembly.
According to EEF, this new act of the National Assembly that incorporates the 1963 Constitution should then become the basis for all elective offices come 2023.
It added that by this act, the country would have achieved the followings:
Restructuring of the polity and a cost effective, time saving and easy to operate constitution that reflects truly “We The People”. The 1963 Constitution holds the ace. A one page bill that substituted 1999 constitution with 1963 Constitution is a neat way to pass and proceed.
“The addendum to the proposed bill would be guideline and procedures for transition in a period of 2 to 3 years, that is, the remaining life span of the present government and before next election in 2023,” the group said.
Among the discussions had by EEF before reaching the above conclusions were to:
•Discard 1999 Constitution and replace it with the 1963 Constitution with Amendments to reflect the current realities in the country.
•Adopt Confederation with Bicameral legislature.
•Draft a completely new constitution that meets the aspiration or truly representative of the people of Nigeria.
According to EEF, “The above inputs were informed by the fact that the1999 Constitution is found defective in many aspects and gave the centre an unfettered power while reducing the states to mere appendages, hence the clamour for re-structuring and amendments to the said 1999 constitution.
“Therefore, the best option is to have our elected representatives to redesign a constitutional document that can be subjected to a referendum by the people of Nigeria.
“The 1999 Constitution, premised on presidential system is considered too expensive for the country. Therefore, we cannot continue to operate it as the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The 1960/1963 Constitution is a parliamentary system that guarantees true Federalism and devolves more power from the center to the states (Federating Units).
“EEF is therefore of the opinion that Nigeria should return to the 1963 Constitution with appropriate modifications.
“We advice that Constitution alignment should begin with totally independent systems that throw up best leadership for totally independent federating states, units or agreed structures. We advocate for: Strict commitment and compliance to the rule of law, equity and discipline with the fear of God.
“Electronically transparent electoral protocol/process, fairness, equity and justice to all regardless of religion, ethnic or cultural considerations in all aspects of governance. A parliamentary system with a redefinition of the regions/zones with the old Mid-Western region being part of it.
“A unicameral legislature with members working part time and entitled to sitting and transport allowance especially in this age of technology advancement.
“Abrogation of the unitary system which is a command system only fit for the military. The state/regions as federating units should be strengthened and given more responsibilities/power.
“Reduce the items in the exclusive lists to the advantage of the concurrent.
“A truly federal system of government composed of semi-autonomous regions and less attractive central government.
“The Federal Government will handle its statutory duties such as defense, customs, immigration, foreign affairs etc while the federating regions will handle internal securities (Police, prisons, lands, Local taxes etc); each region will also evolve its own laws in consonance with local traditions and in line with its core values.”
The group comprises very top ranking senior citizens that have transversed all spheres of human endeavours including the very high politically exposed; high ranking fellows in the executive, legislative, judiciary, police, military, civil, public and private sectors of our country, Nigeria.
Many of the members of the Forum are far into their retirement from active service but came together to offer elderly advisories, to reminisce, share experiences and contribute to the well being of humanity.
The statement was signed by Senator Ibrahim Nasiru Mantu CFR, Chairman, EEF Interim Steering Committee; Dr. Akin Fapohunda, Secretary, Interim Steering Committee; and Professor Chukwuemeka Eze Onukaogu, Chairman, Resolutions/Communique Committee.
The rest are Elder Muyiwa Ayo-Vaughan, Secretary, Resolutions/Communique Committee; Elder Smolette Adetoyese Shittu-Alamu, Chairman, Media and Publicity Committee; Chief Anayo Arinze, Secretary, Media and Publicity Committee; and Professor Echefuna R. G. Onyebeadi, Convener/Coordinator.
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