Nigeria needs brand new peoples’ constitution, not constitutional review – PRONACO

Channels Television  
Updated July 30, 2012

The Pro National Conference Organization (PRONACO) on Monday in Lagos cautioned the National Assembly not to supplant the overwhelming yearnings of the Nigerian stakeholders for brand new peoples’ constitution and self-determination through its current review of the 1999 military constitution

Speaking through its Spokesperson, Olawale Okunniyi, PRONACO averred that though the National Assembly, by the provisions of section 8 and 9 of the 1999 constitution, can amend the constitution and also make laws thereof, unfortunately, what Nigerians want at this point in time is a brand new constitution that can be initiated, owned and defended by them.

PRONACO said the point being made by the Nigerian people is that the 1999 constitution was promulgated by its military authors as decree No 24 of 1999 but was dubiously tagged 1999 constitution of Nigeria, stressing that by all standard a military decree is a mere law and not a constitution and that there is a fundamental difference between a law and a constitution

The coalition also advised the National Assembly not to mix up its vested interest to amend the imposed military constitution as the same as giving the country a legitimate peoples’ constitution that can be owned by the Nigerian peoples arguing that the national assembly itself is also a product of Nigeria’s faulty constitutional foundation

Mr Okunniyi however said that the trouble with Nigeria is its military imposed civilian regime, which according to him was constitutionally designed by the military to fail by throwing up national crisis that will force Nigerians to call for military intervention.

PRONACO insisted that Nigeria is far from a peoples’ democracy given the foundation and legal template upon which the subsisting civil rule and its governmental structures were birthed in 1999, stressing that it is only the full ownership of the Nigerian constitution by its peoples that can help democratize and save the current civil rule from collapse

“By its faulty and illegitimate birth, no amount of tinkering or amendments of the existing decree 24 tagged 1999 constitution can turn it to a constitution not to talk of making it a peoples’ constitution. So there is no need for government to continue to waste Nigeria’s scares resources and time on a worthless and unproductive venture in the face of the monumental violence in the country

“The danger here is that there is now an unprecedented corruption and violence in the country and our people are being killed here and there on daily basis with a possible reprisal attacks and imminent civil war in the offing on the account of the existing unpopular constitutional governance structure foisted on the people by the military in 1999” the PRONACO spokesperson said.

Offers to help group seeking autonomy

Mr Okunniyi called on the various indigenous peoples, nationalities, federating units and regions in Nigeria, who so desire self-determination and political autonomy to formally approach PRONACO to help organize them to meet the criteria of the United Nations on self-determination and autonomy as spelt out in the new declaration of the United Nations on the self determination of indigenous peoples.

“Rather than continue the endless agitation for national conference and participate in an unhelpful constitution review exercise, indigenous peoples in Nigeria are hereby advised to urgently adopt the latest approach recommended by the United Nations in liberating themselves from the hostage of those currently benefiting from the existing corrupt and conflictual system in Nigeria” PRONACO said.

It will be recalled that the Senate reiterated at its retreat last week in Asaba, the Delta State capital that it is only through its adopted piece meal or incremental tinkering as provided in the 1999 constitution that the constitutional crisis of the country can be addressed and that those calling for national conference have no legal basis to do so

Mr Okunniyi however faulted that position by saying the same constitution already empowers the national assembly to make law for whatever it deems suitable for the good governance, welfare and security of the country, wondering what constituted the basis of invoking the doctrine of necessity in the Yar’adua/Jonathan saga

“Nigeria is already in an emergency situation given the horrendous bloodletting and bombings in the land, which requires that the national assembly if they are responsive and appreciate the national question, to urgently make law under section 4 or even 9 of the constitution for the convention of a peoples’ national conference or alternatively, invoke their invented ‘doctrine of necessity’ to enable a constituent assembly of the Nigerian peoples negotiate and neutralize an imminent civil strife in the country”