A Senior Advocate of Nigeria and founder, Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, Aare Afe Babalola, has called on stakeholders to ensure that a new truly federal constitution with provision for parliamentary government is in place before the 2023 general elections.
Babalola said that anything to the contrary would result in “recycling the same failed leaders that have brought Nigeria to where it is today”.
The legal luminary, according to a statement by ABUAD, spoke in a goodwill message as the special guest of honour at the Fifth Ife Institute of Advanced Studies, Summer Institute Programme on July 26.
He lamented that the 1999 constitution “allows Nigeria to be running the most expensive democracy in the world with government functionaries earning exorbitant salaries and allowances in a country riddled with unemployment, poverty, insurgencies, kidnapping, ferocious terrorist acts, killings, murder, robbery and widespread destruction of properties”.
According to him, among reasons a new truly federal constitution must be in place is that the 1999 constitution “breeds transactional leaders instead of transformational leaders. It is the same constitution that makes the opinions of those outside government to be irrelevant to those in government.”
Babalola urged participants at the summer programme to come out with meaningful and relevant recommendations that would be useful to the government including that “those who wish this country to remain an indivisible entity must unite to ensure that we replace the present 1999 constitution with a truly federal constitution and a Parliamentary system of government which is more involving and less expensive.”
The ABUAD founder also said that in considering the new constitution, “priority attention must be accorded to the multi-religious, multi-cultural, multi-linguistic nature of the country made up of over 400 ethnic groups speaking over 295 dialects.
“Particular attention must be paid to the issue of poverty, reduction of population by limiting the number of children per couple. This will prevent the present untoward situation where the offer of a mere N5,000 could induce poor Nigerians to vote against the dictates of their conscience,” he said.
He added, “Nigeria does not need two houses in the National Assembly. All we need is one house with the number of legislators reduced to 50 per cent of what it is today.”