A lawyer, Olatunji Abayomi, has asked the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, to mobilise his colleagues in the National Assembly and rescue the country from the military-imposed 1999 constitution.
Abayomi, a Doctor of Philosophy holder in Law, noted in a letter dated June 9, that while the National Assembly cannot solely give a constitution to the country, it can initiate the process.
The letter, which was obtained by SaharaReporters, urged Omo-Agege to learn from Chile, United States of America and other developed democracies in this regard.
The letter is titled, “You are right and wrong but can be right and correct.”
The letter partly reads, “Your well circulated comments when you hosted members of the Alliance of Nigerian Patriots is quoted hereunder; ‘One of the issues you raised is the replacement of the 1999 constitution. I am not sure that we, as a parliament, have the power to replace the constitution. We can only make amendments. And it is explicit in Sections 8 and 9 of the constitution how we can do that and the requisite number of votes required. I say that because there are some top Attorneys in this country, who, for some reasons, keep saying that; we don’t even need any of this, that we should just bring a new constitution, we can’t do that.
“What we are mandated to do by law is to look at those provisions and bring them up-to-date with the global best practices, especially to the extent that they tally with the views of the majority of Nigerians. So we are not in a position to replace this constitution but we can only amend.’
“Now, it should have been expected that vital decisions on what to do with our military constitution (Decree 24 of 1999) should be a matter that will compel the views of experts a your invitation so that our nation is not destroyed for lack of knowledge.
“This unfortunately has not happened. You will by now have received reports from various constituencies on the desire of Nigerians for a new people’s constitution and their disgust for yet another money consuming constitutional amending process following the journey to nowhere.”
Abayomi lamented that amending the constitution had become an endless task for the National Assembly, from one Assembly to another.
He said, “Deep thinking should establish by now that something appears to be wrong considering that the wrongs sought to be righted by the amendments have not subsided.
“We have kept the amending train in perpetual motion, yet things are getting worse for Nigeria and in Nigeria. Do you not think deeper thinking requires the energy of mind and of the intellect for a new intelligent path?
“True, you are correct the National Assembly cannot give Nigeria a constitution. Her duty is to pass law not a constitution which is never passed into law.
“If the National Assembly cannot give Nigeria a new constitution, so is the military government debarred from doing the same. So you are right, only our people and not the military, not the National Assembly through the exercise of legislative powers can give our people a constitution.
“Now, Mr Deputy Speaker, you are wrong to rely on the very unlawful and illegitimate constitution for the ground or authority for your position. Just as error cannot correct error, as wrong cannot correct wrong, the 1999 constitution cannot correct the current constitutional wrong imposed on the people of Nigeria by the military.
“Truth is that only the National Assembly can bring about the process of a people’s constitution.”