INDIFFERENT to the enormous socioeconomic and political waves threatening Nigeria’s corporate existence, the Senate has embarked on another unprofitable jamboree to review the 1999 Constitution. An imprudent exercise, it is economically wasteful, frivolous and completely out of tune with the current political realities. Instead, the National Assembly should deepen democracy and cultivate federalism by intensifying legislative work on specific Acts, including repealing the schismatic aspects of the Exclusive Legislative List and passing a worthwhile version of the Petroleum Industry Bill.
No constitution is perfect, least of all Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution. It was cobbled together by the military as it retreated from the civil space in 1999. Periodically, this ingrained tackiness induces agitations for amendments. Most notably, it instigated the amendment of sections 144 and 145 (commonly referred to as the Doctrine of Necessity) during the medical crisis that nearly consumed the country under the Umaru Yar’Adua administration in 2010. The modest amendments to the Electoral Act cannot also be discounted, but other efforts to rework the constitution have failed.
The fresh endeavour being promoted by the Ahmed Lawan-led Senate is the fifth attempt by the federal parliament since the return to civil rule in 1999. Previous efforts resembled jamborees, with the result predictably unpalatable. The current attempt will not be different.
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