Towards addressing the ineffiencies and shortfalls of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as Amended, some lawyers have called for the adoption of a new constitution in the country.
The lawyers, Barristers Busola Kolade and Timi Olagunju made the call during Constitution Forum 1.0 which was organized by ConstitutionLab in partnership with Civic Hive.
Busola Kolade while speaking at the forum, traced the historical development of the Nigerian Constitution to the pre Independence and post Independence era. She explained that the present Constitution was majorly an adaptation of the 1979 Constitution by a committee headed by Justice Niki Tobi.
Kolade referred to the Constitution as a “tokunbo” (fairly used) Constitution that has been both a blessing and a curse to democracy in Nigeria and called for a total overhaul of the Constitution.
“it is high time Nigeria developed a constitution that would be favourable to all and devoid of any irregularity. I want the government and most importantly the 9th Assembly to take cogent actions regarding this”, Kolade added.
For his part, Barrister Timi Olagunju noted that “ignorance by the masses on the powers of the Constitution is a serious problem that should be addressed by solutions like the one being offered by ConstitutionLab.”
He disclosed that there are certain parts of the constitution which is faulty and needs to be corrected with immediate effect.
He explained that, “the issue of revenue allocation as enshrined in the Constitution is faulty and there’s need to reduce the cost of governance through the operation of a unicameral legislature. If the constitution is not put in place to address this anomaly, Nigerian would continue to bear the brunt.”
The event organizer and team lead of ConstituttionLab, Brownson Etimbuk informed the audience that ConstitutionLab is a Civic Tech solution which seeks to educate citizens on the Constitution of Nigeria, Laws, Acts and Policies of Government to enable active participation in governance.
Etimbuk explained that “the forum is organized to provide Nigerians with a working knowledge of the Constitution by providing a platform where the Constitution is analyzed and discussed in line with present-day issues to work around solutions that could be derived from the forum.
“The Constitution Forum will be held in various States of the Federation and tertiary Institutions to educate Nigerians on the Constitution in addition to the tech platform.”
The event had in attendance members of the Lagos State Youth Parliament, civil society organizations, Tertiary Institutions and entrepreneurs.