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True federalism impossible without new Constitution –  Aborisade, Abayomi

True federalism impossible without new Constitution– Aborisade, Abayomi

By Mary Agidi
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For  Nigeria to return to true federalism, the people must first produce a new constitution.

This was the submission of a university don and a popular lawyer in reaction to the statement recently made by President Muhammadu Buhari that it is time for Nigeria to operate true federalism.

In an interview with The Hope, a Public Analyst, Prof. Peter Aborisade noted that there is a need for constitution that contains the ingredients of a true federal state.

His words: “For us to operate true federalism, the first thing is to have a federalist constitution. As it is now, we don’t have that, and the way we are set up, the National Assembly cannot give us that constitution.

“Unless we have a new constitution altogether, we would not be able to operate true federalism in Nigeria. But we don’t have to look too far to get that kind of constitution.

“There was a constitution that was presented to Nigeria just about a month ago, that constitution is the minority report of the Constitution Drafting Committee set up by Obasanjo in 1976. All we need to do is brush it up to reflect modern realities for it already has within it the contents of a true federalist state, and will work perfectly well for Nigeria”.

The Professor of Language and Communication at the Federal University of Technology, Akure, FUTA, advised that a new Constitution Drafting Committee be set up by the President to review the 1976’s document to reflect current realities in Nigeria, then the country can now think of true federalism.

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“Let’s go back to that minority constitution that was presented in 1976 and that was re-presented this year in April at the University of Lagos. Let people get hold of that constitution and we are good to go.

“Without a federalist constitution, we will just be scratching the surface, we will not be seriously attacking the issue of federalism in Nigeria”, he added.

In his own view, constitutional lawyer, Dr. Tunji Abayomi corroborated Aborisade’s position, saying the current constitution of Nigeria is a decree imposed by the military on the people of the country.

According to him, if the President really meant his statement that Nigeria needs true federalism, a new constitution that contains the opinions of different ethnic groups at a round table discussion must be adopted.

“If they want true federalism, the different nations of people, or ethnic groups need to sit on a round table and agree on a constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. What we have now is the constitution for the ‘Military Republic of Nigeria’, because the present constitution was forced on the people by the military.

“If the President truly wants federalism, what he should promote is the conference of the people in order to give themselves a constitution, it is not government that gives a nation a constitution, it is the constitution that gives a nation a government”, he said.

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True federalism impossible without new Constitution –  Aborisade, Abayomi

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