Nigeria needs new constitution to progress, says Afe Babalola | The Nation

Our Reporter

Legal icon, Aare Afe Babalola (SAN), has advised Nigerians to stop recycling those he called “same failed leaders” to enable the country have meaningful development.

Babalola said Nigeria would attain laudable heights only when there is a new, people’s constitution ahead of the general election 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,” he said.

The eminent lawyer picked holes in the 1999 Constitution, saying it is the major problem of the nation.

Babalola spoke on Monday 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,” he said.

The founder of Afe Babalola University in Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD) accused the military of going to the United States of America (U.S.A) to import “the presidential system of government to install an all-powerful President and weakened the constituent regions (now states)”.

According to him, the “all-powerful President” wields 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 stressed that the current constitution allows 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.

To resolve the various crises across the country, the legal icon asked those who wish Nigeria to remain an indivisible entity to replace the 1999 Constitution 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 added.

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