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Calls for Repeal of 1999 Constitution Ill-informed, Misguided

By Noble Agbaeze

Those criticizing the laudable exercise by the national assembly for memoranda towards the amendment of the gray areas of our constitution are not well informed and misguided.

I can infer overtly that many Nigerians want to say things to be applauded without objectively investigating the veracity and validity of their opinions and the kind of things that shock me to the marrow most times is the extent of mob behavior we exhibit in Nigeria, most times,once some persons that have big names earned in the past or big money to throw about hold opinions then the crowd will follow.

One will wonder the reasonableness of calling for entirely new Constitution for our country at this material time, perhaps because the comment sounds good for a tool to play to the gallery for cheep popularity.

Nigerians should discountenance any person calling for scrap of the 1999 Constitution,and regard it as an attempt to impose a legislative summersault on the national assembly,this is why our lawmakers should always remember that their Constitutional task of lawmaking is herculean in nature and dwell on deep research and knowledge because people will always attempt throwing things at them to see whether they will fall for them.

The enshrinement of chapter II, the fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy into the 1979 and 1999 Constitutions make them people orientated and articulate more than their forerunners including the 1963 Constitution which I hear many respectable persons calling for.

Nigerians, we should please sit down and understudy important issues of this nature.

With due respect, I hold a very divergent opinion to this.

Calling for a scrap is without equivocations water-loose and prejudiced without recourse to the principles of Constitutionalism and Federalism adopted to cure the pluralist and hetrogeneous nature as well as the multiplicity in many areas of our country given our level of development and political civilization

What we should be talking about should be an apposite and proportionate implementations of the relevant areas of the Constitution, for instance the utopian and reckless attitude of Governments since 1999 in relation to fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy under chapter II of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As Amended) relegating it to mere homily, beautiful sermons without implementations and it’s non- judiciable nature which foists a serious quagmire and constituting dangerous infractions on the Rights of citizens in relation to the Economic Social and Cultural Rights(ECOSOC) as second generation Rights although not civil and political Rights which are first generation Rights, as classified by Karel Vasak and adopted universally,but we know the deep interrelatedness of these Rights, for instance of what use is the Right to Freedom of Expression if one is not educated?

Then the chapter IV with it’s sanctity to what extent does the Government respect the Rights therein? And to what extent do the citizens conform exercise their Constitutional Rights within the four corners of the law or carry out their obligations under section 24 wilfully?
These are the areas that make strong democratic nations.
These should be the issues.

People are calling for this and that because of the failures in chapters 2 and 4.

Since the Philadelphia Constitutional Convention of 1787 which saw only few Americans like John Jay,James Madison, Washington and few others drafting the Constitution with the exclusion of women, youths,slaves and many notable Americans who were not carried along, has it been changed? No,rather it has been Amended about 27 times because they don’t pursue trivial issues.

I can continue to name countries all over the world with issues revolving around their Constitutions, no system is perfect in the world.

What we should be talking about is Amendment of inappropriate sections, of course, we should know that law should evolve concurrently with humans.

The validity of the Constitution is in it’s being authoctonous in nature which is not lacking in this 1999 Constitution because it was not drafted by Ghanians or citizens of any other country but Nigerians.

Constitutions always emanate from parchment of laws.

Under the rules of construction and interpretations of laws we Nigerians should apply the Ut Res Magis Valeat Quam Pereat rule, after all, it is not practicable that all Nigerians will gather at the national stadium to draft a constitution, which process shall ever be perfect, none?

Giving the impression that it is a military document is erroneous because it was done by civilians,an area of Governance that military always maintain civilians to manage is legal related area, there is also a process in law called rectification in legislative process which any law emanating from a military regime passes through to become a valid legal instrument for a civilian Government,once it has been done, then it is sanctified by the pure arms of the law and deemed promulgated by the civilian Government,there are many laws in Nigeria today which came by way of ordinances or decrees but purified by rectification.

We should focus on this Amendment and proper implementations. God bless Nigeria.

(Noble Agbaeze, Esq., a Legal Theoritician and Constitutional/Political Development Researcher, wrote in from Abuja)

Written by ExpressDay

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