OrderPaperToday – Former Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu (PDP, Enugu), has said Nigeria now needs a new constitution as amendments of the extant one has become inadequate.
Sen. Ekweremadu said this when he tasked the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) to pick up the challenge of championing the procedure for creating a new Constitution for the country.
The former deputy senate president, who presided over three circles of constitutional amendment in the senate, said NILDS could be very relevant to the constitution amendment process by building the capacity of members and support staff of the constitution amendment committees of the National and State Assemblies.
Senator Ike Ekweremadu noted that the extant Constitution has undergone several amendments since 2010 and global best practice dictates that when a law undergoes so many amendments, it has to be repealed and re-enacted just like what’s going on with the Electoral Act.
Ekweremadu noted that “I had the rare privilege of piloting the process in the 6th, 7th, and 8th Senate, and I can affirm that it is not only rigorous, but enmeshed in convoluted politics, Nigeria being a pluralistic society”.
Delivering a paper entitled “Constitution Amendment: Fostering Greater Involvement of NILDS”, which he delivered at a capacity building programme for Research Fellows of the Institute in Abuja on Friday, he regretted that the executive under his stewardship failed to sign more than 21 amendments by the National Assembly and also ratified by the State Assemblies to significantly improve the nation’s federalism and democracy.
He revealed that amendments to reform of local government system, including the infusion of financial autonomy, uniformity of tenure, and better electoral process in the election of Councils were consistently rejected by the State Assemblies.
He said further that proposed key amendments such as procedure for the enactment of an entirely new constitution, creation of state police, single term for President and Governors, abrogation of the immunity clause, and removal of the Land Use Act were all voted out at the level of the National Assembly were also aborted.
The lawmaker listed ethno-religious and sectional politics, lack of political will, crisis of expectation, apathy on the part of the masses, lack of democratic culture, and lack of independence of critical institutions, among others, as major challenges faced in constitution amendment processes.
Reporting by Chinonso Kenneth