Nigeria Needs A New Constitution To Stop Recycling Failed Leaders – Afe Babalola

How Military Rule Affected Judiciary In Nigeria – Afe Babalola
A file photo of legal icon, Mr Afe Babalola.

 

Legal icon and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Afe Babalola, has challenged Nigerians to move away from the tradition of recycling those he described as ‘same failed leaders’ for meaningful developments to be recorded in the country.

In a bid to achieve this, he recommended that a new constitution be put in place ahead of the general elections in 2023.

“It is my considered view that a new constitution must be in place before the next election, otherwise we will be recycling the same failed leaders that have brought Nigeria to where it is today,” said the legal luminary who highlighted the 1999 Constitution as the major problem of the nation.

He made the remarks on Monday in his goodwill message as the special guest of honour at the Fifth Ife Institute of Advanced Studies, Summer Institute Programme.

“I have said it over and over again that the problem with Nigeria is the 1999 Constitution foisted on us by the military when it wanted to exit the reigns of governance in 1999, instead of reverting to the 1963 constitution which Nigeria’s founding fathers bequeathed to us.

“After all, the military merely suspended the 1963 constitution when it seized power on January 15, 1996, it did not abolish it,” the senior advocate who founded the Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, added.

According to him, it is lamentable that instead of bringing back the 1963 Constitution which was suspended, the military went to America to import “the presidential system of government to install an all-powerful President and weakened the constituent regions (now states)”.

 

Transformational, Not Transactional Leaders

The ‘all-powerful President’, he stated, wielded so much power to the extent that when the National Assembly invited him on security matters, he ignored the wish of the representatives of the people by refusing to honour the invitation.

Babalola decried that the present Constitution allowed Nigeria to run the most expensive democracy in the world, with government functionaries earning exorbitant salaries and allowances in a country riddled with unemployment, poverty, and insecurity, among other challenges.

He also noted that the constitution bred those he described as transactional leaders rather than transformational leaders.

On the way out, the legal icon asked those who wish Nigeria to remain an indivisible entity to ensure the 1999 constitution was replaced with a truly federal constitution and a parliamentary system of government.

“The proposed constitution will discourage politics from being the most lucrative business in Nigeria; the constitution must make provision for independent candidates to contest and win elections.

“The constitution must prevent transactional businessmen from contesting elections,” he suggested.

Gbajabiamila Faults 1999 Constitution, Calls For Amendment

File: Femi Gbajabiamila at a retreat for the leadership and members of the House of Reps in Abuja on July 25, 2020.

 

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has faulted the 1999 Constitution, calling for an amendment by the National Assembly.

Speaking on Tuesday in Lagos during the public hearing on the review of the Nigerian Constitution, Gbajabiamila said the National Assembly could only achieve the task after getting the inputs and support of the citizens.

While noting that the document failed to address some critical national questions confronting the country, Gbajabiamila said there was an urgent need for the legislature to amend it.

“Our constitution falls short of this standard,” the Speaker was quoted as saying via a statement issued by his spokesman, Lanre Lasisi.

“The 1999 Constitution is the product of a hurried national compromise that we entered into two decades ago in order to ensure that the military returned to the barracks and that we returned to democratic government.”

Participants at the 2-day public hearing included the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr. Babafemi Hamzat, who represented Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu; members of the House of Representatives Special Committee on the Review of the Constitution; members of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ); Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC); representatives of political parties, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), youth organizations and market women.

READ ALSO: Buhari Meets With INEC Chairman, Commissioners

Gbajabiamila said though the current exercise is not the first of its kind, it might be the most important one in the nation’s recent history as the decisions to be made would have far-reaching consequences for the future of Nigeria.

In response to the doubts expressed in some quarters about the exercise, he noted that there was no perfect constitution anywhere in the world, but that it was imperative for Nigeria to have a near-perfect constitution to enable the country to confront and resolve many of its political, economic and socio-cultural challenges.

The Speaker, therefore, urged Nigerians to participate fully in the ongoing process so that their inputs would be captured for the country to have a new direction, adding that they could not afford to miss the opportunity of addressing their challenges and sustaining their future at this critical moment.

He assured Nigerians of the sincerity of purpose of the 9th National Assembly to deliver a reviewed constitution that everyone would be proud of.

He said, “The foundational constitution of the United States of America deemed people of colour to be ‘less than’ and denied women the right to vote. It did not include any limits on the President’s term of office and allowed for citizens to be denied the right to vote for failure to pay the ‘poll tax’. Twenty-seven reviews and amendments, over one hundred years cured these and other defects.

“No nation in the world has a perfect constitution, but we need a near-perfect constitution in Nigeria and we can achieve that through substantive amendments that significantly alter the character of our nation.

“Therefore, the task before us now is to use this process of review and amendment to devise for ourselves a constitution that resolves the issues of identity and political structure, of human rights and the administration of government, resource control, national security and so much else, that have fractured our nation and hindered our progress and prosperity.

“Our job is to produce a constitution that turns the page on our past, yet heeds its many painful lessons. It is not an easy task, but it is a necessary and urgent one.”

He added that “We will not be able to deliver on this historic assignment if we restrict ourselves to tinkering around the edges of the constitution or by imposing upon ourselves artificial redlines that restrict honest conversation.

“All of us in the House of Representatives will work conscientiously and in good faith so that it may be said of us in this process that we made an audacious attempt at creating for our nation a constitution that recognises our diversity and draws strength from it, and addresses once and for all, the fault lines that distract from nation-building.

“It is all too clear that many of our citizens have come to expect too little of our politics and government. We are suffering from the tyranny of low expectations and the cynicism that causes us to believe that the political process cannot produce anything worthy or worthwhile.

“I understand the causes of this cynicism, but I refuse to share in it. I still believe that politics and government in Nigeria can be a force for good and that by our common endeavour we can achieve the vision of a just, peaceful, and prosperous society.

“However, beyond these Public Hearings, you still have an opportunity to make submissions that will be considered and that will help this process achieve the best outcomes. Please, by all means, participate. Let your voice be heard, and let your vision also inform the direction of this process.

“I urge all who have come to participate here today to do so with decorum and respect for one another. Let our deliberations be well-intentioned, well informed and reflect our patriotism. In this way, we will have a most productive engagement over the next two days.”

In his goodwill message, Governor Sanwo-Olu through his deputy, Hamzat, said the need for a special status for Lagos State in the constitution could not be overemphasised.

The governor said being the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria, whatever affects the State has the capacity to affect the entire country, hence the need for a special status.

He also urged members of the National Assembly to prioritise fiscal federalism, local government autonomy, in addition to state police in the ongoing review process.

 

Signed:

Lanre Lasisi, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Speaker, House of Representatives, Federal Republic of Nigeria.

 

 

We Should Scrap This Constitution, Adopt 1963 Republican Charter – Sagay


“My own personal preference is that we should scrap this Constitution and adopt the 1963 Republican Constitution,” Professor Itse Sagay has said.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria made the recommendation when he appeared on Politics Today on Monday.

He believes the 1963 Republican Constitution addresses everything that is being agitated for in the country and can help halt the turmoil that has rocked the nation.

“If we had that, with amendments here and there to make it accommodate states rather than regions which we used to have, I think all these agitations will die down and everybody will be happy,” he added.

Sagay, who is also the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), noted the report of the Nasir El-Rufai led All Progressives Congress (APC) Committee on Restructuring.

He stated that the committee came up with an excellent report, stressing the need to look at the content of the documents and implement them.

Professor Itse Sagay was a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today on May 24, 2021.

 

‘Allowed To Gather Dust’

The senior advocate was, however, of the opinion that it would be better to implement the report in a totally new Constitution, rather than amending the existing one which would involve lots of amendments.

He explained that the move by the APC to set up such a committee in the first instance was indicative that President Muhammadu Buhari was in favour of federalism and devolution of powers.

The PACAC chairman, however, said, “I am personally disappointed that that excellent document is being allowed to gather dust and I think the leaders of the party should now bring it out and go to the President and say, we should now make a move to implement what we ourselves commissioned and have approved because that is what the whole country wants now.”

 

‘A Unitary, Not Federal Constitution’

As one of the few people who have virtually seen Nigeria from the beginning, the octogenarian revealed that he knew nothing about the Federal Government as a secondary school student.

He recalled that governance was being controlled at the regional level, noting that there was so much peace in the land at the time.

 

“I only knew about Ibadan and Awolowo; the region controlled my life from A-Z and everything worked perfectly, beautifully, happily. That is what we are missing. We just have to go back to that otherwise Nigeria will not enjoy stability,” he said.

Sagay added, “If we can have a process which will be towards having a new Constitution, it will be better. Until we have it, we can manage with what the National Assembly is doing but certainly, it is far from satisfactory but may result in an improvement of what we have now.

“But what we really need is a clear departure from what we have. what we have now is a unitary constitution parading itself as a federal constitution.”

Haiti To Vote On New Constitution In 2021 – Council

 

Haiti’s provisional electoral council, unilaterally appointed by the president, announced Thursday that a constitutional referendum and presidential, legislative and local elections will be held by the end of 2021 as gang-related insecurity plagues the country.

The referendum will be held on April 25. The first round of presidential and legislative elections will be held on September 19, with a second round scheduled for November 21, when local elections will also be held.

Votes to elect deputies, senators, mayors and locally elected officials should have been held in 2018 but have been delayed.

Since then, the much-criticized President Jovenel Moise has been without any checks on his power, and in the vacuum has governed by decree since January 2020.

In recent months Haiti has seen a resurgence of kidnappings for ransom that indiscriminately target both the wealthy and the majority living below the poverty line.

The abductions, and the stranglehold of armed gangs on a number of areas throughout the capital Port-au-Prince and the provinces, are all threats to secure elections.

In addition, the advisory committee appointed by the head of state to draft a new constitution has not yet finalized its work, which has already been strongly criticized even by those in Moise’s camp.

A referendum would violate the constitution currently in force, which stipulates that “any popular consultation to modify the constitution by referendum is strictly forbidden.”

The political opposition has already announced a series of demonstrations for the end of January to demand that, according to its interpretation of the constitution, Moise’s term of office will end on February 7, 2021, and not on February 7, 2022, as he and his supporters claim.

25th Amendment Provides For Transfer Of Power From US President

In this file photo taken on December 3, 2020 US President Donald Trump speaks before awarding the Presidential Medal of Freedom to retired football coach Lou Holtz in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC. Brendan Smialowski / AFP
File photo of US President Donald Trump DC. Brendan Smialowski / AFP

 

President Donald Trump faced a growing chorus of calls Thursday to be removed from office under the 25th Amendment for inciting the mob violence that swept through the US Capitol one day earlier.

Adopted in 1967, the 25th Amendment lays out the provisions for a transfer of power from a US president who dies, resigns, is removed from office or for other reasons is unable to fulfill his or her duties.

So far it has only been invoked for presidents undergoing a surgical procedure so that power could be shifted temporarily to the vice president.

In October of last year, there was talk of Trump possibly invoking the amendment when he became ill with Covid-19, but in the end, he took no such action.

Now, Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer is leading appeals for Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the amendment in the waning days of Trump’s term, which ends January 20.

Schumer and others in and out of government are speaking out after Wednesday’s shocking scenes in which an angry and armed mob egged on by Trump overran security at the US Capitol, rampaging for hours and disrupting a proceeding in which Congress ultimately certified that Joe Biden beat Trump in the November 3 election and will be America’s next president.

“What happened at the US Capitol yesterday was an insurrection against the United States, incited by the president,” Schumer said in a statement. “This president should not hold office one day longer.”

“If the Vice President and the Cabinet refuse to stand up, Congress should reconvene to impeach the president,” Schumer said.

US lawmakers had begun to address the question of power transfer from the chief executive in the late 1950s amid the ill health of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

It took on added urgency following the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and the 25th Amendment was passed by Congress in 1965 and ratified by the required three-fourths of the 50 US states two years later.

Section 3 of the 25th Amendment addresses the transfer of presidential powers to the vice president when the chief executive declares that he or she is unable to fulfill the powers and duties of the office.

Section 4 addresses a situation in which the vice president and a majority of the cabinet determine that the president is no longer able to discharge their duties. This section has never been invoked.

Invoked on three occasions

Section 3 has been invoked three times.

The first was in July 1985 when President Ronald Reagan underwent surgery under general anesthesia for removal of a cancerous polyp from his large intestine.

Vice President George H.W. Bush was made acting president for about eight hours while Reagan was in surgery.

President George W. Bush temporarily transferred power to Vice President Dick Cheney in June 2002 and in July 2007 while he underwent routine colonoscopies under anesthesia.

Following Reagan’s serious wounding in a 1981 assassination attempt, a letter invoking Section 3 was drafted but it was never sent.

Under Section 3, the president informs the president pro tempore, or presiding officer, of the Senate — currently Republican Chuck Grassley — and the speaker of the House of Representatives, currently Democrat Nancy Pelosi — in writing that he is unable to discharge the duties of the office and is temporarily transferring power to the vice president.

Under Section 4, the vice president and a majority of the members of the cabinet inform the leaders of the Senate and House that the president is incapable of discharging his duties and the vice president becomes acting president.

“It’s time to evoke the 25th Amendment and end this nightmare,” Republican Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois said after Wednesday’s mayhem in Washington.

“The president is unfit. And the president is unwell,” he added.

If a president contests the determination that he or she is unable to fulfill their duties, it is up to Congress to make the decision.

A two-thirds majority in both the House and the Senate would be needed to declare the president unfit to remain in office.

Former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe has claimed that former deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein raised the possibility of invoking Section 4 against Trump after he abruptly fired FBI director James Comey in May 2017.

But Rosenstein has denied the allegation.

Jonathan Signed 2015 Constitution Amendment Bill, Says Ekweremadu

 

Senator Ike Ekweremadu is insisting that former President Goodluck Jonathan indeed signed the 2015 Constitution Amendment Bill.

Ekweremadu who was the Chairman of the Committee on Constitution Review at the time stated this when he featured as a guest on Channels Television’s Hard Copy.

He said in the 7th and 8th Assembly the constitution was amended several times.

According to him, in the 8th Assembly, several issues were discussed, taken through due process and amended, adding however that there were controversies at the time of signing them into law.

Senator Ekweremadu argued that if allowed to sail through at the time, those amendments would have taken the country to a higher level.

Ekweremadu who had in April 2015 written to the president providing insights into the amendments, stressed that the National Assembly at the time believed that Jonathan assented to the amendment.

He, however, stressed that the Presidency did not return the original bill sent by the legislature.

“They sent us a photocopy of the bill, so we wanted to see the original because we had it on good authority that it was assented to.

“And then they now sent us a photocopy of the document and when we insisted on seeing the original documents, the Attorney General of the Federation went to the Supreme Court to stop us from making that request.

“We went to the Supreme Court and the Apex Court asked us to settle the matter out-of-court, so we held several meetings in my office where they promised to assent to (the bill) when it was obvious to them that what they sent to us was a photocopy,” Ekweremadu revealed.

The lawmaker sadly noted that on the last day, Jonathan left office without signing the bill.

While stating that he did not ask President Jonathan the reasons for his action, Senator Ekweremadu said that he used a different approach to the amendment issue in the 8th Assembly

According to him, the lawmakers learned their lessons from the scuffle with the Jonathan administration.

He said that rather than lump the amendments into one document, the legislators devised means to separate the issues within the bill and tendered each as a separate item.

As-far-as Ekweremadu is concerned the new method yielded results as the new President decided to sign those issues which he wanted to sign, leaving out those he was not comfortable with.

The lawmaker was of the opinion that unlike the Jonathan era when “the baby was thrown away with the bathwater”, the efforts of the National Assembly were not in vain.


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In a bid to fix Nigeria’s numerous problems especially within the political sphere, many scholars, legal experts, and statesmen over the years have stated that the constitution is the obstacle that has hindered the nation’s growth.

There have been several calls for an amendment of the constitution and attempts have been made at different times to see that the problems inherent in the constitution are fixed.

Major moves at amending the constitution were driven by the 7th and 8th National Assembly, however, these attempts met varying degrees of opposition.

Prominent among the moves made is the constitution (fourth alteration) act (2015) which was truncated by a presidential assent controversy.

The Constitution Amendment Saga of 2015

In the twilight of his administration, President Goodluck Jonathan ‘failed’ to assent to the fourth alteration of the constitution.

Many believed that the 2015 move for alteration was the most ambitious and far-reaching effort at giving Nigerians a befitting constitution some decades after the military era.

About 72 clauses were passed by the National Assembly (NASS) in October 2014 and transmitted to the 36 State Houses of Assembly for ratification in line with Section 9 of the 1999 Constitution. However, only 62 clauses were approved by at least 24 States Assemblies.

Though the legislators thought the alterations were promising, however, a veto letter by former President Goodluck Jonathan to former Senate President, David Mark, dated 13th April 2015 addressed dashed the amendments.

The President’s move came on the heels of claims that Jonathan had earlier signed the amendments before he was persuaded to do otherwise.

Disappointed at the President’s alleged change of mind, the National Assembly argued that Jonathan had no powers to rescind assent of a bill he already signed.

The Presidency strongly denied claims that Jonathan had signed the amended bill, however, his failure to return the original bill along with the veto letter, as required by law, practice, stirred rumors that left the lawmakers and the presidency seeking redress even unto the Apex Court.

Without A New Constitution, Nigeria Will Be Burning In Five Years, Says Clarke

Mr Robert Clarke

 

 

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr Robert Clarke, says there is an urgent need for a total overhaul of the nation’s Constitution.

He stated this during his appearance on Channels Television’s weekend political show, Sunday Politics, where he warned that there might be consequences if the issue was not taken seriously.

The senior lawyer decried the level of poverty and unemployment which he said could set the nation on fire in the next few years if nothing was done.

He stressed that the crop of political elites in the country has no other option than to support a new Constitution.

“They (the elites) have no alternative and (President Muhammadu) Buhari is there, and God will give him that will.

“I am praying because, in five years’ time, I am not joking, Nigeria is going to be burning. Poverty is too much and we are not creating opportunities,” Clarke said.

He believes having a new Constitution is the right thing for the nation if it must tackle the numerous challenges facing it.

 

Change The Constitution

On the anti-corruption war of the Federal Government, he noted that the Buhari administration has made some progress but more needed to be done.

READ ALSO: Buhari Is Handicapped By The Nature Of Administration He Is Leading – Clarke

According to the senior advocate, the present administration has been able to close the tunnel of corruption but a new Constitution is significant to tackle the menace headlong.

He disagreed with the notion that the nation’s laws were encouraging corruption, stressing that Nigeria has a faulty Constitution.

“Restructure Nigeria, change the Constitution.  Let us change the Constitution and restructure because governance in Nigeria is taking 80 per cent, that’s what the new budget has told us.

“Why should we be spending 80 per cent of our revenue on government expenses?” Clarke questioned.

“It is not the laws, the laws are made to regulate. The Constitution is the cankerworm that is eating us up in corruption.

“The Constitution we are operating upon is a corrupt Constitution; is a rotten egg,” he added while insisting that it must be “terminated”.

 

Slash Political Appointments

The SAN noted that former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan made efforts to review the Constitution by organising conferences while in office.

He, however, stated that both leaders never laid a foundation for any legal basis upon which the recommendations of the conferences would be implemented.

Clarke advised President Buhari not to “make the same mistake” but send a bill to the National Assembly, informing them about his intention to set up a parliament to look into restructuring and review the Constitution.

He added that the President should urge the lawmakers to pass a bill which he would assent to that whatever decision the panel arrives at would be sent to Nigerians and if approved, it would be brought back to the National Assembly for proper legislation.

The senior advocate also recommended that President Buhari should cut the cost of governance by reducing political appointments, as well as Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) in the country.

INEC Act, Constitution Amendment Bills Pass First Reading In Senate

INEC Act, Constitution Amendment Bills Pass First Reading In Senate
A file photo of the Senate during plenary at the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja on December 18, 2018. Photo: [email protected]

 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Act 2010 (Amendment) Bill, 2019 has passed the first reading in the Senate.

This bill was read for the first time on the floor of the red chamber on Tuesday after it was presented by the Senate Committee Chairman on INEC, Senator Suleiman Nazif.

Senator Nazif presented the bill following the conclusion of the keenly contested 2019 general elections.

READ ALSOSenate Passes Power Sector Reform Act Amendment Bill

In December 2018, President Muhammadu Buhari declined assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, 2018, for the fourth time.

He had explained the reasons for his decision in letters sent to the leadership of both chambers of the National Assembly.

Also during Tuesday’s plenary, the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekewremadu, presented six bills on the amendment of the Constitution.

They include, Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Fourth Alteration, No. 8 (Amendment) Bill, 2019 (SB. 728), Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Fourth Alteration, No. 15) (Amendment) Bill, 2019 (SB. 729), and Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Fourth Alteration, No. 20) (Amendment) Bill, 2019 (SB. 730).

Others are Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Fourth Alteration, No. 22) (Amendment) Bill, 2019 (SB. 731), Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Fourth Alteration, No. 24) (Amendment) Bill, 2019 (SB. 732), and Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Fourth Alteration, No. 28) (Amendment) Bill, 2019 (SB. 733).

All six bills were read for the first time.

Similarly, the Industrial Development (Income Tax Relief) (Amendment) Bill, 2019 by Senator Sabo Mohammed scaled through the first reading.

Constitution Amendment: You Cannot Achieve Peace Outside The Law – Dr Ananaba

 

 

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Paul Ananaba has said that Nigeria can only find peace within the ambit of the law.

Dr. Ananaba who is also the Chairman NBA section on public interest and development law, made this assertion while featuring as a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.

He said the basic law of the land is the constitution and as such, Nigeria can only achieve peace based on the constitution.

“Without the constitution, there will be no peace,” Ananaba opined.

Reacting to a recent comment by Senator Olusola Adeye claiming that the constitution is a major problem hindering Nigeria from progress, Ananaba said he agrees with the lawmaker.

READ ALSO: Ananaba Backs Electronic Voting As Solution To Ballot Box Snatching

He said, “I agree with Adeyeye to the point that if we do not get it right in our constitution, then we cannot get it right generally”.

Ananaba argued that there are constitutional requirements that need to be overhauled, adding that there is a need to look at the constitution and “do a lot more work on it”.

The legal practitioner, however, stressed that the constitution is fine but it is not the best that the nation needs in its experience.

Dr. Ananaba said what the nation needs, is to grow the constitution from the people.

He said the constitution should be given “enough time, thorough consideration” and “it will come up to life”.

Speaking on how to approach constitutional conferences, the Senior Advocate said if there be any move in this direction, then “each state, each geopolitical zone should sit and articulate what they think should be part of our constitution”.

He noted that what he is projecting is not an ‘amendment’, clarifying that in speaking of amendments the National Assembly is in place.

Ananaba argued that if the nation is to continue on the trajectory of the Federal system, then the constitution should be less bulky than it is now and every state should have a constitution of its own.

Onnoghen’s Suspension: Rule Of Law, Constitution Must Be Respected, CCJA Insists

 

The Conference of Constitutional Jurisdictions of Africa (CCJA) has reacted to the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, calling for strict adherence to the rule of law.

CCJA President and South Africa’s Chief Justice, Thomas Mogoeng, made this call during the 10th annual session of the Executive Bureau in Johannesburg, South Africa.

“We are concerned that there is apparent instability that affects the judiciary of Nigeria. We would always be concerned regardless of whether a jurisdiction is a member or not a member of the CCJA when developments unfold in a manner that seems to suggest that the measure of normalcy needs to be restored in order for the judiciary to be as effective as the original intent for its establishment,” he said

Although Justice Mogoeng said Nigeria is yet to be a registered member, the organisation is however worried by the development.

READ ALSO: Onnoghen’s Suspension: Senate Approaches Supreme Court, Cancels Tuesday’s Plenary

He, therefore, demanded that due process is followed as enshrined in the nation’s constitution be followed in dealing with the issue.

The CCJA brings together the African constitutional jurisdictions and aims to support and deepen democracy in the continent by upholding constitutionalism and the rule of law in member states.

Recall that Justice Walter Onnoghen was suspended by President Muhammadu Buhari on January 25 over an alleged false declaration of assets.

Following the suspension, Justice Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed was appointed as the acting CJN.

The President explained that the suspension was based on the request of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, pending the completion of Onnoghen’s trial.

Justice Tanko Mohammed who hails from Bauchi State is the most senior justice of the Supreme Court.

‘Follow The Constitution’, Moghalu Tells Those Attempting To Impeach Saraki

Kingsley Moghalu

 

A presidential aspirant on the platform of the Young Progressive Party (YPP), Professor Kingsley Moghalu, believes due process must be followed in the attempt to unseat the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki.

Moghalu, a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), said this during his appearance on Channels Television’s breakfast show, Sunrise Daily on Wednesday.

READ ALSO: Senate President Saraki Dumps APC

“We must follow the constitution. Of course, the constitution that we have currently, we must follow it,” he said.

He added, “Anything outside of it is unconstitutional. We ought to be a nation of laws and not a nation of men.”

The presidential aspirant informed those who intend to impeach the Senate President that while he was neither in support or against the move, they should ensure they do so in line with the constitution.

Ahead of the general elections in 2019, he called on the citizens to look for leaders with fresh ideas that would fix the problems facing the nation.

The former CBN deputy governor also asked Nigerians to shelve the already known parties and look for an alternative to ensure the country progresses.

He said, “Nigerians must fundamentally retire the present political leadership class in Nigeria, if this country is to go forward.

“They must look away from the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and look at a new crop of younger generational leaders who have a vision and experience to be able to fix our basic problems.”

Professor Moghalu’s remarks on the attempt to impeach Dr Saraki came two weeks after the Senate President defected from the APC to the PDP.

Since his defection, the APC leadership had asked Senator Saraki to resign his position as Senate President or risk being impeached.

The ruling party asked Saraki to take a cue from Senator Godswill Akpabio who resigned recently as the Senate Minority Leader after defecting from the PDP to the APC.

 

Chad Lawmakers To Vote On New Constitution

Chad
FILE PHOTO Chadian Flag

 

Chadian lawmakers vote Monday on a controversial change to the constitution that will bolster President Idriss Deby’s powers and which opposition groups warn will damage democracy in the landlocked African state.  

The text, which received the green light from the government earlier this month, must be approved by three-fifths of lawmakers in Chad’s National Assembly.

There was tight security in place around parliament with all the roads leading to the legislature ringed by police.

Thirty-three opposition members in the 170-seat house are boycotting the vote.

Two activists from the Chadian Convention for the Defence of Human Rights (CTDDH) were arrested on Monday, Mahamat Nour Ibedou, the head of the civil society group, told AFP.

“They wanted to stage a sit-in in front of parliament,” he said.

“I’m just returning from the police station where I was told they will be released in the course of the day.”

Tchindebbe Patalle, a spokesman for the National Union for Development and Renewal (UNDR) opposition party said all opposition groups had “wanted to demonstrate outside parliament to protest against the vote but the security forces are posted all around.”

Street protests are rare in Chad, which has had a long history of coups, and has been ruled with an iron fist by Deby, 65, who is serving his fifth term, which runs until 2021.

Deby has insisted the changes are necessary.

The changes will increase presidential terms to six years with a limit of two terms. The current mandate is five years with no limits on re-election.

The vote comes amid growing political tensions in Chad, ranked by Transparency International as one of the world’s most corrupt nations, as opposition groups boycotted a forum last month discussing the proposed changes.

A Western ally in combating jihadism in the volatile Sahel region, cash-strapped and poverty-stricken Chad has endured two years of severe recession worsened by a slump in oil prices.

The changes do not include provisions for the creation of a post of vice president, contrary to what was proposed at a national forum on the reforms in March.

The Catholic Church has warned that a new constitution “seriously risks distorting the rules of the democratic game.”

Opposition groups have called for the text to be put to a referendum.

Deby, who has been named in a corruption probe in the United States, has said that elections on hold since 2015 will take place this year.

AFP