Governors of Abia and Kogi States, Okezie Ikpeazu and Yahaya Bello, yesterday, disagreed over the 1999 constitution.
While Governor Ikpeazu argued that a new constitution championed by the people would entrench good governance, as power would be devolved to states and local governments, Bello contended that it would be impossible for the country to repeal the constitution at this time.
They spoke in Abuja at the fifth edition of the Osasu Show Symposium, hosted by Osasu Igbinedion, with the theme: ‘State of the Nation: The People’s Constitution.”
Ikpeazu said: “The 1999 Constitution is both deficient and vulnerable. The vulnerability of the constitution is measured by its inability to promote evolution and strengthening of institution and capable of buffering it from the tendencies of a powerful ruler or against a powerful leader.
“The most potent thing to nation building are ethno-sensitivism and religious sensitivism. For a true sensitive country like Nigeria, a people’s constitution for us should be a constitution that is capable of protecting the feeling and aspirations of people from Borno through Adamawa to Rivers through Enugu to Ibadan.
“Nigerians must be given the opportunity to keep themselves with a constitution that is original and home grown.
Bello, who was represented by the Director General of Research and Development, Moses Okezie Okafor, said: “I understand the argument and I wish I could buy into their optimism.
“Sadly, given our socio-political reality as nation, I think the calls to dump the 1999 constitution and make a new one from the crash are not very realistic at this time.
“Constitutional democracy is not a naturally occurring system of governance; it is always preceded by some authoritarian movement by the society.”
Meanwhile, former Attorney General of the Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, linked marginalisation of some ethnic groups to secessionist agitation.
Adoke noted that until the present administration evenly embrace different geopolitical zones, the country would continue to witness protests.
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