A Nigerian Lawyer has emphasised that the report of the Advisory Committee on the proposed National Conference must not be subjected to the National Assembly to make it legal.
While speaking on Sunrise Daily, Mr. Chukwuma Ezeala said that the role the National Assembly should play would be to amend the constitution to accommodate the process.
“We do not need to subject the report to the National Assembly to make it legal. The National Assembly along with the State Assembly will only need to amend the section that provided for the amendment of the constitution and bring in the issue of subjecting the conference to a referendum. As it is now, the constitution did not provide for a referendum.
If you want to subject the decision to be together to the people then it will be done through a referendum. If you do a referendum, it will violate the constitution because it does not provide that there will have to be a referendum,” he said.
He pointed out that Nigerians were not asked what they wanted before the amalgamation in 1914.
‘Disintegration Not The Issue’
Mr Ezeala stressed that disintegration is the issue, but added that the need for Nigerians to be together should be looked into.
“Many of us (Nigerians) want us to be together. The South-west, South-South, the North and other regions want to be part of Nigeria, but if we continue to say, ‘don’t discuss it,’ that is where the problem will be.
“The conference is expected to look at issues of ethnic nationality and religion. Nigerians should decide what they want and come out with what they want.”
The legal practitioner was also of the view that the committee should advise the President on whether the document should be taken to the National Assembly or not.
“The only way we could have an autochthonous constitution – constitution from the people – which should be the basis of a nation being together, is by way of such conference going to the people directly without approval.
“People that will go for this conference, however, should not contest any election in the next 10 years. If they will contest for any political position in the next 10 years, it means they will go there to think of how they will benefit from the agreement they will reach,” he emphasised.