Democracy Day: Anyaoku, others reiterate call for new constitution

Chief Emeka Anyaoku

Former Commonwealth General Secretary, Chief Emeka Anyaoku and other prominent Nigerians have reiterated calls for a new democratic constitution that will be determined by the Nigerian people.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Anyaoku made this known at the June 12, 2024 Democracy Day Rally in Lagos on Wednesday.

The programme was organised by the June 12 Movement of Nigeria in conjunction with The Patriots, a group of eminent Nigerians.

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The theme of the event is: Ensuring the Future of Nigeria Through New Democratic People’s Constitution.

Anyaoku said the present 1999 constitution was imposed on the country by the military.

The former Commonwealth Secretary- General said the country needed a new Constitution that would reflect true federalism and address the problems of the country.

He charged the National Assembly to put a legal framework in place for the birth of a new constitution that would be determined by the Nigerian people.

“If eminent Nigerians; people who have used better part of their time serving this country have a conversation and we cannot take it forward and make sure that we have a complete solution, then we are wasting our time.

“Given the number of people that are here, we should make this conversation very effective. Many speakers have said that it is not the National Assembly that will make those amendments and it makes a lot of logical sense.

“It is for the National Assembly to constitute a law where people will come together and make those amendments themselves,” he said.

Speaking,a former minister, Sen. Ike Nwachukwu ,said the country  needed a completely  new federal constitution that would give autonomy to the federating units ( States or Zones) as created and agreed.

Nwachukwu noted that the new constitution must be subject to a referendum, adding that anything else would, pretty much, further estrange citizens  and deepen the pains Nigerians currently endure.

According to him, the country is in need of a people’s constitution that would guarantee freedom of speech, movement and assembly.

“(We are in a need of a constitution)that provides access to the mineral and human resources domiciled in the federating units with taxes paid to the central government.

“That supports development in all spheres of human endeavours (education, science and technology, health and others).

“That provides security of life and property. That, promotes trust among its citizens. That forges a country which is sustainable and balanced to which its citizens can proudly belong and defend”, he said.

Also speaking, Prof. Anthony Kila, said the present democratic dispensation had attempts to  produce a constitution to accommodate the wishes and aspirations of the people ,but had not succeeded.

Kila said the reason for the failures, in his view, could be found primarily with those in authority at those times, wishing to force the citizenry to conform to their own personal ethos rather than those of the people who genuinely desire a better and more effective polity.

The don said the 2014 National Conference attached a draft new constitution for a balanced and workable Nigeria.

He said: “It firmly placed sovereignty and power in the people, with all citizens equal subjects under the law.

“It made government and its officials accountable to the people. And unequivocally granted autonomy to states (the federating units) and for them to deal with matters concerning their local communities including policing and security.”

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