August 8, 2014




 The exit of centenary celebration can no longer be a nightmare that we all too much love to detest.The national confab delegates are currently overheating the polity prowling like hungry dogs with  their dogs eat dogs politics  in the atrophy of moral principles that we expect them to safeguard .Nevertheless amidst the muddy waters of unholy prejudices searing the nation's political ,economic  and social capital apart  ,the seeds of a new dawn can be sown  and the nation's checkered antecedence fully explored and benefited from  in context of constitutional development through appropriate remedial measures  can provide a new beginning for the downtrodden in our society and successfully evolves a new pattern of governance and orientates the polity for the  new Nigerian project for universal freedom  of its people and demography.
However having undergone relentless constitutional reforms with checkered antecedence spanning from 1914 onward to 1922,1946,1952,1954,1958,1960,1963,1979,1989,1995 and 1999,this provided empirical evidences for possible restructuring of the federation and  the hope of a new dawn .During the period under review most especially between 1914 to 1967-a bout  53 years period the nation was ruled without regard to its diversities talk less of having regard for the constitution so as to protect the nation .The 1963 constitution was suspended the military in January 1966 .Likewise the 1979 constitution was suspended by the military in 1983 .
The subsequent creation of States between 1967 to 1976  did not help matters nor assuaged the divisive tendencies of the Nigerian State earlier fostered by ill gotten federalism even though it was beneficial in the truncation of colonialism and  the civil war, the redress of minorities ‘oppression to some extent  and the rediscovery of the Niger Delta in a new way. In both latter cases even till date the indigenous colonialists learning the trade of aggression from their erstwhile colonial masters from whom they honed their imperial torch and stupendous ego-trip ,have never ceased for once to trample on the rights of the minorities  in this volatile terrain. Separatism, sectarianpropensitiesandfundamentalist  prejudice gained supremacy even as they were made to believe that their languages, customs and traditions hardly count .This requires equity ,fairness and universal justice  as obtainable in an egalitarian society that can compete in an emergent  21st century .
It is no longer news that the 1999 constitution was badly flawed and massively abused .Since it was badly flawed from the beginning to the end depending on the angle in which you look at it . It can be argued that almost all the provisions of the letters of its laws are similarly erred and insensitive to the grassroot and these minorities  in particular and the Nigerian masses at large.Almost everybody agreed with this fact .Lack of general consensus and referendum inputs disfigured its legacy and structural intents .  We all seem to agree at least .But it is also necessary to ask -do we have constitutional development history  that is sensitive to the grassroots  ?We already contend  this puzzle. Then why should 1999 constitution that gives a lot more power to the Presidency mired  with clustered grey areas be any different ?How successful or possible can the amendment or reviews be,in the face of our unpredictable human factor terrains ?
This speaks volume about our cultural behaviour individual and collective disposition  including corporate and social behaviour in general .Prominent media pundits and public affairs analysts though a few of them had lamented similar scenarios plaguing the polity and the nation at large to the detest of the government of the day. Right from the time of Lord Lugard constitution of 1914 the epoch of the Clifford constitution of 1922  onward to 1999 constitution, there is no argument that all the constitutions both pre and post colonial constitutions were  imposed on Nigerians .Even the independence constitution of 1960 or the James Robertson 's was imposed on ignorant public .This requires the missing link be bridged .
Several attempts had been made to draft a constitution a people's constitution so to say that is morally acceptable to the common masses. The  convening of national conference was muted to resolve and to discuss and proffer measures to  enact laws that are referendum driven and sensitive to the masses  who were then way back  in the 20s,30s,40s ,50s and 60s  largely  provincial and a primitive class of people compared to the post -85 generation with horrible value system  but highly enlightened as showmanship of respective per capital pedigrees  .The agitations regained momentum ,stamina  and verve during the first term of the nation's democratic renaisance-1999-2003] .
There can be no doubt that the constitution is fraudulent  and despotic in nature highly repugnant to the wishes of the electorate and insensitive to their yearnings. For instance it is a common knowledge   that in the  preamble to the constitution  it says’’We the people of Nigeria ‘’a prominent  quotation  and an abject of thoughtful criticism from which media pundits and public affairs analysts had traded invectives ,scathing diatribes and a proof that it is embarrassingly obvious  and evident in a boisterous constitution not subjected to referendum .Unlike the American constitution with similar quotation and exemplary point of mimicry with the preamble ‘’in order to form  a more perfect union  establish justice ………………… ordain and establish  the constitution for the U.S. ‘’
Fortunately in the interest of justice that they swore to defend ,it was ratified by the two third majority of elected delegates unlike the Nigerian counterparts in which only 23 people gathered  using the draft dictatorial constitutional of 1995 who sat under the last military government and cajoled gullible Nigerians and after elections on May 15,1999 handed the fraudulent  constitution down to the newly elected civilian  government .Imagine only 23 people as noted several years  by late BekoRansomeKuti –the acclaimed father of human right activism in Nigeria .
Am quite fascinated by  the exposition of FunshoAina in an article published in Daily Punch entitled ‘’Here We Go Again’’ON November 11,2003,pg.17].He concluded –‘’I do not know where Martin Esslim drew the inspiration from’’ to write his famous book ‘’The Theatre Of The Absurd ‘’Of course like Aina,it is also safe to concur that he had Nigeria in mind –the original theatre of the Absurd ‘’
This constitution was signed in 1787 two years before the French Revolution began .Apart from  few amendments here and there  had remained fundamentally the same over the last 200 years of her history compared to over 50 years of the nation’s independence .Can you imagine that ? American constitution  is a mere 10 pages for 300million people and over 200 pages volume for 50 years old boy-man  .By the time we are a 200 years decrepit  old  nation as enthused  in the lamentations of a The Nation columnist-Mohammed   Haruna ,it might  be over 1,000 pages  paginated –a shame of some sorts for the elusive giant of Africa .The French  still have only one constitution since the French revolution of 1789.
The fact that since 1975 ,almost every successive  government has had to write and rewrite the Nigerian constitution makes it a complex terrain that  can unleash a distorted impulse that hardly remedied the protracted vicious cycle haunting the nation .Even though  it shows how checkered our constitutional development antecedence  can be .It also shows how messy it can be given its disability to connect with the electorate .Without this connect and lack of allegiance ,scholars and various academic studies had disputed even the survival of the country including its abiding faith in democration and democracy respectively .

There’s a constitution but the people cannot boldly claim ownership although section 14 subsection 1 of the 1999 constitution  claims power or sovereignty belong to the people through which  the constitution derives its power or  authority.Whereas in real sense we know this is not true and ought to directly derives its power from  the people in a referendum to truly justifies its legitimacy as conferred by the electorate and exercised by the polity.
When the local council election  was  held in 1998 there was no  constitution and when the State election was held on January 1999,there was no constitution .And after it was drafted between 1999 to 2001 no election had been conducted at the local government level .Nothing had been done to change the sordid state of affairs in most cases till date and there is a connect between the people and the government ,the grass root and its politics .We remember the 1962,63,64 and 65 and the resultant January  15,1966 coup ,the beginning of the military rule We also remember  1983 the killings ,the riggings and the termination of the civil rule ..Our first experiment  failed  which is the first republic ,second republic  failed and then third republic had not fared well .How much more with the fourth  republic and fifth republic  and the inherent struggling and inability to put our house in order .If we as a people can hardly solve our succession crisis even in the first republic inspite of our checkered antecedence in constitutional development, it takes only the most observant to know human factor crisis is a real threat to the survival of the nation .I t looks dicey and there are no proven evidences that salvation can come from sovereign national conference and our maddening attempts at constitutional reforms .Nevertheless we shall explore the popular proposition and the  constitution a little deeper .
The structural defects of the Nigerian constitution  are boldly evident to  the perusal of both lays and the scholars alike .This as general assumed  includes lack of structural balances ,overcentralisation of power ,the replacement of the federal system of coordinate whole with the federal system of the principle of subsidiarity and the exit of fiscal federalism ,the crash of regionalism  and lack of grassroot governance ,the marginalisationof the minorities’right of self determination ,lack of resource control, pursuit of short term political expediencies ,graft patronage of the kleptocractic system ,crisis of fundamentalism etc.In  short ,informed opinions  from the progressive political class and especially the human right activists now at the confab have called for the return  of federalism .Let ‘s examine some of these overarching problems .
In the overcentralisation of  power  at the centre ,extensive trimmings  are required.In the 1954 Littlettonconstitutionwhen federalism was first adopted by consensus .the exclusive federal legislative list had only 42 items .In the independence constitution of 1960 it rose to 45 items .Whereas in the 1999 constitution it recorded 50 percent increase –a whooping 68 subjects .Research scholars and public affairs analysts have not in any way  relented their vanguard had contended in favour of extensive devolution of power using the six geopolitical zones .Why should the federal government  have monopoly on prison  and police –the two principal instruments of the legal systems  to the exclusion of the states ?Why should  federal government  regulate political parties public holidays ,insurance ,and election to State offices of Governors and deputy Governors   ?Why should it also control  the banking system? Something is wrong somewhere .We agree with that but let us scrutinize further.
Moreover the 1954 constitution and 1960 independence constitution in respect to concurrent legislative list have listed the subjects  without qualification and conditionalities.It is a different ball-game  entirely  with the 1999 constitution that imposes strict conditionalities even where legislative power is on concurrent  list .Without the permission of national assembly ,the freedom to act is at best dead or impossible .It is improper for national assembly to be saddled with the power to enact laws for voters registration or mandatory psephological issues or enact laws for the regulation of local government elections.Yet the local government is on residual legislative list entirely within the jurisdiction of state government .It has ben suggested that local government should not feature in the constitution of thefederation but rather be dealt with in the constitution of the regions since it is exclusive preserve of residual list responsibilities .
True federalism requires the replacement of the principle of subsidiarity with the principle of coordinate whole that is sacrosanct and also fiscally sound. Thisis  a fundamental feature of a federation .Centralisation of powers through defacto unitary system  poses serious  threat to the survival of the country .And with the evidence of history we agree that not until federalism was adopted  in 1954 Nigeria never experienced lasting peace and  the adoption of federalism was directly  instrumental to  the giant strides of the preindependence era  the first republic and a major facilitatorinfact of  the nation’s independence in 1960…
But nevertheless one drawbacks about the federal principles and federalistic workability is  the principle of inequal coordinate whole in which one or two  regions can be more powerful than other federating units and to some extent that  the whole federation…True devolution of power cannot solve this malaise based on the evidence of our history .This principle weakened the federal principles between 1954 and 1967 and the centralization of power before  the advent of the civil war tells volume about this complex disputations  and statistics abound to prove with benefit of antecedence the unprecedented growth  of the Nigerian  economy that came with full fledged national development plans -1970=1979].
Indeed to be factual and circumstantial ,it must not be excluded ;for the inadequacies   of the federal undertaker-this malediction of the principle of inequal coordinate  whole still stare us in the face which singlehandedly truncated the federalism of the 1950s and 60s and remorselessly violated one of Wheare’s tenets  of federalism responsible for the crisis of 1962,63,64 and 65 period and culminated with  the outbreak of 1966 coup .Its abrasive predilection with the unbridled spine of  regionalistic sovereignty mirred by the threat of centripetal and centrifugal  forces could engineer the total collapse of the federation should the same empirical vivification of the 50s and 60s be redeployed in the country .The over-centralisation of  power prior to and post civil war era  and the adoption of presidential system of government  in 1979 was inadvertently  or subconsciously applied to save the nation from total collapse .The media pillock pundits , the pinheaded  political class and public affairs analytical dumbelshardly observe this axiom evident before our eyes  in addition toastigmatistic posturing  of the confab delegates seemed to baffle a sapient mind.Between  1979-1994 more states were created though not more than a puppetic   appendage  of federal government that unbalanced the  geopolitical zones,the quality and dearth  of transparent  leadership constitute more of a nuisance and  a major threat to the practice of nation building than mere haranguing of the system of government  we practice or whatever.How come federalism is a better option with the virulence of the nation’s antecedence .This path must be toed with care given the vulnerable effect of its bobby trap and destructive impetus on the economy .
In  1950s the nation was threatened with secession from northern region  which demanded equal status in representation at the national legislative council in the south .Similarly , in 1953 Action Group A.G.] attempted also national blackmail and the proposed Lagos exclusion from the west.In 1964 the East attempted similar threat over national census issue  and devised plan to boycott the 1964 general election.The revolt of Isaac AdakaBoro against the Nigeria state and the declaration of the Niger Delta republic that was  begun with the successful  reprisal against Nigerian police and the fiasco in the 12 day war with the Nigerian army on March 4,1966 was brutally terminated .On 30th January ,1967 , 3 days after  the twelve states were created , the  civil war started when the premier of the then eastern  region O.OJUKWU  attempted  a secession having refused to recognize the new regime of the day  and revisited the Boro revolution of the atavistic era  to launch lethal attack on the federation .With the massacre of the over 30 ,000 Ndigbos in the North and  the capitalist greed for oil lucre by Ojukwu junta ,the coast was clear for the much trumpeted civil war .Not until the demise of four million Nigerians  the unrepentant rebels did  not abate their lust for power  .With the surrender of the rebels  the 3Rs of reconciliation ,reconstruction and rehabilitation that was supposed to start in the region was begun in Lagos.
It should be noted however that  the spillover effect of the principle of inequal coordinate whole did not stop with  the truncation of federalism  in 1966 ,it had been part of the Nigerian federation till date .For example the confab delegates demanded for more states possibly taking the tally to 42 states with the addition of  another  I state to the South  Eastern  5 states  making 6.The Northeastern Nigeria has 7 states  and disputation that ensued with the delegates  demanded for 7 States across geopolitical zones  to bridge the shortfall.During the 1st republic  first republic ,the formation of the Midwestern –Rivers Ogoja-  Rivers was  motivated by the repression of the minorities by the majority igbosof the then Eastern region.The proliferation of local governments  today and its inherent competitive rivalry between the North and the South also can not be forgotten in a jiffy .
On the other hand ,the Northern  delegates disputed against the inequal revenue allocation formula of the federation in favour of the South South.They disputed  that between 1999 till date the 19 Northern States collected 10.53 trillion naira on the average of  554 billion naira per  State .While the 11 South Eastern and South Western States  collected slightly above 8 trillion naira on the average of 799billionnaira per State the 6 South Southern States  collected a staggering  17.74 trillion naira .Hence they  called for radical change and cessation of 13 percent derivation even when it was not been fully adhered or to a larger extent highly  politicized by political buccaneers and for that matter fullyaware that  controls 83 percent of Nigerian oil wells .The derivation policy-a continuity of resource control prism of the 60s could not resolve and avert the mishap of the principle of the unequal coordinate whole which blanketed the nation like a chilling fog over the last 5o years tells volume of the gravamen of this challenge bedeviling the economy.It appears debatable  that federalism can proffer lasting solution to our teething problems.Too much powerful regioncan destabilize the centre with the benefit of antecedence we should know better and risks collapse of the nation  .Methinks that our unbridled support for federalism rests largely on the poor depth and grasp of historical erudition .Even scientific devolution of power that retain defence,securityand control of security agencies also  can not be possible due to popular support for federalism by all delegates and the civil society alike  because we haven’t devise appropriate framework and understanding to establish this vision for  Nigeria .It may have  been  the  most appropriate system for  the United States but  can hardly work for the less priviledged and emergent economieslike ours here .
Should we have to  devolve power given the implications of general security threat to the nation and how ?To be it cannot work based on the antecedence and there is need to devise a new system of government  against the appeal of  every  junk system of government we have borrowed from the West or the rest of the world .The principle of inequal coordinate whole still remains the central bane to the demography and complex geography with the highest number of tribes oand languages worldwide .It requires unique system of government .Blind men so called delegates not wise men are demanding the return of the 60s national crisis stimulated by federalism and its principle of inequal coordinate whole .
In my first book –AFROCENTRISM;WORLD DEVELOPMENT  IDEOLOGY  AND THE AGE OF MICROFINANCE ‘’I came up with Marsolism–a new free market economicmodel  and its system of government  is Marsocracy a highly more  effective alternative than democracy ,cost effective and can accelerate development velocity and capable of promoting egalitarian society ,banish inequality of wealth .This  unique system of government can function with not less than 7 subnational governments .More elaboration  is  secured with access to this book –at least eye opener .
Now let’s look at the chances of this so called fiscal federalism being the most touted option for the nation .It entails inter governmental fiscal relation and equitable distribution of power  and revenue between the federating units built on three dimensional perspectives of  revenue ,expenditure and intergovernmental   transfer .Fiscal federalism by its normative framework revolves round equity as far as revenue access is concerned ,coordinate and  autonomous  fiscal power  imbued with structural latitude and  pluralism ,comparative advantage ,subsidiarity ,vertical and horizontal competitiveness  in the providence and actualization of  good governance-Norris-2001]
Norris -2001] also admits the unpredictability of these strategic elements items and inherent norms  and their general  direction in terms of outcome and impact management  of diverse levels of  government .It argues unless they are well respected and safeguarded , fiscal federalism can not hold nor so much empowered to promote healthy and vibrant federalism with its enabling modus viviendi  that we all desired .Its major concern is the principle of inequal coordinate whole that single handedly truncated the federalism of the 60s .This is bound to be’’ conflict driven  with centrifugal forces ‘’ promoting divisive tendencies and separatism .It is therefore imperative to note the default and judgemental oversight  in the phrase ‘’while not satisfying everybody ,it is accepted by one and all.’’ But for the witless and unthinkable nation every road leads to the paradise-being touted as the best available option  in respect of   the nation’s diversity and devising a new system of government can be troublesome path to wade.Unfortunately Norris study like the rest of the consensus studies and  apologists of federalism lampooned fiscal unitarism as antidemocractic, corrupt and anti people without taking pain to proffer solution to the error driven principle of federalism that precipitated this malaise and  almost disintegrated the nation in the 60s.Do we have any option excluding a new system of government ?
It would interest you to know that that the monumental  strides and landmark  achievement  of the Action Group of the 50s were perpetrate and made possible by not by federal system of government or whatsoever but by clearcut leadership and sublime regional organisationalism of  tribal grouping.In a speech delivered by Professor Akin L. Mabogunje to mark the 50TH anniversary  of the formation of Action Group he noted however the following that……
‘’thus as we celebrate 50 years  of the Action Group ,we need to take to heart the salient legacies of that unique political party that gave so much hope and pride to us in the first internal self government  in this nation .What it did for one region ,now needs to be done for the whole country.But we must remember  that the antecedent to that success  was the effort to end the fractiousness ,the recalcitrant  and combative relations that existed before then among different ethnic groups  that then inhabited the western region.Much of the success of the action group was possible because the EgbeOmoOduduwa had helped to build the foundation of a united people on which the party could build’’
However he concluded –‘’for any political party to provide Nigeria with a strong and effective political leadership ,therefore initial effort must be made to build bridges among the diverse groups that inhabit theis national space.The present  divisive tendencies  fanned on the altar of ethnic chauvinism ,religious intolerance and social distrust cannot provide the foundation on which to evolve  a strong and effective national leadership’’.
Am enthralled by this most incendiary and most  incisive speech  ever read on this burning issues that seemed to divide the nation into pieces .This golden age of epochal achievements  and unprecedented economic progress  of the first republic were not wrought  by fiscal federalism per say  but the will of the people to develop coupled with sensitive and grassroot oriented leadership  and responsive followership as soil texture and substructure upon which leadership is planted and dividends harvested.Thiswell garbed oratory speaks volume about EgbeOmoOduduwa established in 1945 truly created the robust foundation  for gigantic feat and landslide transformation of the then western region .Let me also add that federalism came in 1954 but a decade before the Eastern region or precisely in 1946 during the period of Clifford constitution was the world fastest growing economy growing at the rate of over 70 percent per annum .Not even one   country broke this  record  or come closer until the Equatorial Guinea discovered oil in 2001 or thereabout growing slightly above 70 percent –a period of more than half century later .This magic was not wrought by federalism either .Attitude matters and human factor crisis is a voluminous headaches in the country .
In any country constitution is just a mere guide even if it is a people oriented document requires collective trust ,collective faith and consensus purpose to implement it .Otherwise it would just become a mere papertiger lacking verve and impact.So this can only work depending on the level of and faith  imposed on it  .And again , come to think of it ,do we even  need a constitution to develop ?Sorry if  I say so –but that’s the fact .For instance  the British society does not have a constitution .Yet they take care of their cultural diversity ,demographical polarities ,  development latitude and pluralized entity .Modern constitution is written  and it has no such written constitution.Butthe fundamental laws ,conventions and best practices are contained in a series of document such as the Magna Carta -1215 popularly regarded as the doyen of British law and building block of British  democracy  , the Bill of Rights -1689 and the Act of Settlement -1701 which enthroned the new generation of monarchy .
We should not be surprised that a nation without a constitution has successfully enthroned a stable system of government with tested parliamentary system that took almost a thousand years to evolve  and a democratic model that is exemplary worldwide.The parliamentary sovereignty derived its overriding powers fromthe electorate upon which the parliament is formed and dissolved . The customs of parliamentary  meetings every year including the Queen ,the Lords and the Commons  is age-long  practice without which the government of the day lacks the power or may be denied power  to pass finance bill and the budget to run the country.Some of these customs and conventions make up the world oldest parliamentary system ,federal in nature and formed by the provisions of the Act of Settlement -1701,through which James V1 of Scotland  became James 1 of England ,Wales and Ireland and also through which the generation of Oueen Elizabeth ascended the throne of England after  abdication of previous monarchy .
It is necessary for us to reflect on the dynamic nature of our society like the British and the  Irish had done , mapping  our robust political strategy and evolving a new system of government  even without a modern constitution is possible that reflects the  sociopolitical and socioeconomic imperatives of their time .Since Norman  conquest 1066 , the political history of the British  society most specifically  the impact of the monarchy and its  struggle with the parliament from the Stuarts  AND Tudors era to the 19th century harbinger of democracy and the religious tolerance  and influence on British politics  had been so devised to meet the changing realities  of this society till date to promote much vaunted political ,social and economic freedom of modern age . By blending the past and the present  and the posterity together ,they succeeded in moving their nation ahead making the government work for its electorate from whom it derives its ultimate power.These are the issues .
                                             DEVOLUTION OF POWER AND LEGISLATIVE LISTS IMPERIALISM
There is a contention about the inclusion of local government in a federal constitution .Still generating some dusts that all over the world in thU.S,Britain among others ,the federal government ought to distance  itself from the workings of the federating units  It was contended that the 1960 and 1963 constitutions had nothing in them in relation to the local administration of the federating units .The first local government law started in the western region –the so called local government administration act .This set the pace and precedence for successive evolution and by 1976 under the military regime of OlusegunObasanjo the federal government dabbled into the politics of local government administration .It had been cited as the cradle of particular problems facing the third tier of government  and did not require the Senate to dable into the politics of local government especially its tenure  administration .
When the regional constitutional initiative was permitted  as stipulated under 1960 independence constitution ,the federal units were interrogated for abuse of power and the introduction of Sharia in their own constitution unveiled this prejudice .The Sharia court of appeal Act ,Cap 122 of 1963 was applicable only to the NORTH .like Land use Act Decree-1978 for no cause it was smuggled into the federal constitution of 1979 and 1999.This created lapses that unsettled the regions till date  and cannot be detached from the possible causes of the Boko Haram emergence. So many conflicting  provisions were entrenched into the constitutions.When you read through Shariah Court of Appeal related provisions in the constitutions ,you also come across another conflicting provisions such as section 10 that says the State must not adopt State religion .That is contradictory and the ambiguity is too clear to remedy .Freedom of State religion is a major threat to the Noigerian society .
Critics of the Nigerian constitution  calls for a review and demands repeal of the land use act .abolish the petroleum decree -1969 ,delete section-44 subsection 3 which is in conflict with section 44 subsection 1 ,thanks to petroleum industry bill though tardier in passage ,abolish powers of national judicial review to appoint State judges ;repeal fiscal commission act which was believed to be against the spirit of the federatyion ;delete section 314 of the constitution in which national debts of the States and the federation are included as part of the constitution.
There were also arguments that economic deregulation cannot work unless you deregulate governance ,bringing down the roof and devolving power to the federating u nits by decongestion of 68 items  on the exclusive legislative list .had been touted as the final solution .This is a popular opinion and it still does specifically endorsed by confab delegates as the arrow head of true federalism .The argue ;how can national assembly be saddled with too much powers  to legislate directly and indirectly on more than 90 items ?This was likened to Martin Eslim ‘s –Theatre of The Absurd ‘’with the state Assemblies having no power and consequently we have no federation.
Moreover ,thousands of Nigerian communities  amalgamated since 1914 have not been properly integrated  .There are also those that agree that the 6 geopolitical zones should constitute the basis of resolving this challenge of nation building each with its own parliament and internal control of its regional affairs .Why should the constitution says there must be a minister from each state of the federation ?We have the biggest government in the world Over 40 ministers ?That is absolutely absurd –a nation with the  biggest  democracy cost centre in the world .Though this is not the making of a current president but the President  himself ought to think or at best a rationalist and know his onionstomake a difference to the governance puzzles in the land and left behind a lasting legacy and possibly redress the pitfall of previous regimes..
We also agree that it is improper and erroneous for some States like in the  Niger Delta to generate more than 90 percent  of nation oil revenue –so much money only for the federal government to give them pittance .Lagos generates more than three quarters  of VAT but it does not collect up to 20 percent .That is unfair .We agree with this fact and the ability to judge politely the intervention of this fiscality or  much sought for fiscal prudency can not faulted by curious observant .DO they truly pay 13 percent derivation as provided in the section -162 subsection 2  of the Constitution ?THI IS FRAUDED ON A DAILY BASIS AND MANIPULATED BY Federal  Government and they only received whatever  was credited into the federation account.
Here is a region whose resources and wealth had been misappropriated  and even used to sponsor and organize coups that topple and perpetuate military brigandage thewty  the country. Few cabals in the North east ,,south  western and south east have benefited largely from these spoils of the Delta and were granted license to lift crude to the detriment of Niger Deltans .About 83 percent of the region’s oil wealth is controlled by Northerners .This cabals which profited immensely  between 1975-1978 derived its influence from  patronage of the military heads of States .These are unjust indices of the Nigerian states critically begging for redress .Constitutional amendment cannot alter this degeneration unless constitution o and derivation truly appointed and infact it can do little unless we have truly performing institution with the best practices that they can muster .
In 2001,theformation of the citizens  forum  for constitutional reform –C.E C.R. –A coalition of forty civil society  groups with six zonal and state coordinators and nine man national steering committee spread nationwide clustered together .In recognizing of this fact to interrogate the questionable quality of national governance and they believe this could only be corrected by constitutional reforms .
With this conviction by the federal government that the constitution  is badly flawed  ,the technical committee  on the review  of the 1999 constitution  with membership drawn  from political parties  was established to take  consideration  of C.E.C.R.view  and the inputs from a host of other groups .But the forum observes the constitution  was unanimously condemned and the review process of federal  was ‘’shallow ,elitist and restrictive ‘’ and at best antigrassroot and anti people  that is hardly involves  grassroot people .
The forum seemed to link the numerous crisis and ethnic violence and fundamentalism  threatening our nascent democracy  and corporate existence to the parlous provisions of the constitutions .Therefore in respect of historical experience and checkered antecedence of constitution making  ,it campaigned for consttituional reforms .Nevertheless the forum  decided during the period under review that the nation’s constitution review process should be guided by the principles of inclusivity ,participation ,openness, transparency ,accountability and legitimacy .In the defence of individual and collective rights ,it believed are vital in a consensus  referendum.
In the remaking of the constitution ,the forum identified  nine key areas  as main focus of its interventionist constitutional reform work .These include –Citizenship and residency rights ;federalism ;the language culture  and content of the constitution ;fiscal federalism/resource control ;constitutionally entrenched and independent commissions ; political parties and freedom of association ;social and economic rights ;rule of law and access of universal justice ;role of security sector.
Some of these inputs have been adopted by the current confab but let me narrow down to very few of them as we noted earlier .This comprises of  fiscal federalism and the rule of law.While it called for resource control by the states remitting not more than 50 percent to the federation account ,it also called for the independence of the judiciary and that the federal government shall not adopt any State religion .The customary and  the religious courts should by limited by jurisdiction to civil cases only .
In case of fiscal federalism ,taxes so collected go to federation account .and allocation thereof should go to federal equalization fund  and local governments .The equalization  fund allocation method should be based on consensus criteria  and also called for amendment of section  44-1-3 to vest ownership of resources in the States ..That  ‘’the entire property in and control of all minerals,mineral oils  and natural gas  in under or upon  any land  in Nigeria  or in under or upon the territorial waters  and the exclusive economic zone of Nigeria shall rest in the  government of the federation ‘’
In the section 162 it proposed scraping of derivation principle since the federating units will only pay taxes to federal government of Nigeria form available resources having total ownership control  at the states level.So in pursuanc e to its goals among other remonstrances ,it called for amendment of the following provisions;-
--Section  315 -5-d—touches land use act decree and requires amendment and democratic  liberalization of land access .
---Section 163-a-requires amendment  so as to specifically recognize the collection and retention of VAT as a state responsibility;
--Items 39  and 59 as enshrined  in the exclusive legislative list requires inclusion in the concurrent legislative list ;
Now back to the rule of law and universal justice as the sole end of the State .Badly flawed provisions such as section 227 subsection 1 be either deleted or substituted .For the upteempth time,Shariah court of Appeal shall exercise appellate and supervisory jurisdiction in civil proceeding .Section 6-4-a;requires a proviso that Sharia court of Appeal or customary according to the provision of this subsection shall be denied of criminal jurisdiction.
----I n the 3rd schedule section 20-22 to the constitution it defines the powers  and composition of national judicial being too restrictive especially with wide powers  conferred on it and inconsistent  with the spirit of federalism .Instead  of being saddled with the appointment and discipline of judges  and collection and distribution of funds ,performance of broad policy formulation roles  and the restructuring of its function to act as parliament of both state and federal judicial officers held in together  on the basis of equity  was proposed while previous powers be deleted .
In the proposed amendment to section 20 ,the council wearing a new look shall be comprised of the following;chiefjustice-chairperson;supreme court justice elected by colleagues ;president of the court of appeal ;justice elected by colleagues;all 38 chief justices in Nigeria ;That from each of the of the 38 high courts ,a judge shall be elected  by its colleagues; three presidents of the customary courts of appeal elected by the presidents of the customary court of appeal;three Grand Khadis  of Sharia court of appeals as elected by Grand Khandis of customary courts of appeal;All NBA members as nominated by the Bar ;that chief chief justice of Nigeria shall appoint two retired judges ;five years tenure ; for the selected officials .
That with this structure section 21 should now be amended and saddle the new  the institution or council with its new powers .This pertains to advisory and appointment and dismissal and disciplinary control .Consequently that national judicial council be replaced with federal judicial service commission in sections 231-1;231-2;231-5;238-1;238-2;238-5;250-1;256-1;256-2;256-5;261-1;261-3-a-b;266-3-3-a-b;266-5.In sections 271-1;271-2;271-5;276-1;276-2;276-3-a-b;276-5;281-1;281-2;281-3-a-b;281-5.It also requires that national judicial council be replaced by state judicial service commission.
Moreover , as contained in the first schedule part one of the 1999 constitution the functions of the  local government and the local government administration system in the country should be strengthened contrary to recommendation  at the ongoing national conference and its  committee on political restructuring and forms of government that it be scraped and functions transferred to the states  in control of the grassroots operative system . In the final analysis I would like to still end this piece with judicial reform and constitutional amendment. The  section 233 of the constitution requires amendment in which cases going to Supreme court ought to have been terminated  at the court of appeal  so that the apex court can now focus on regular cases and avoid issues  of court congestion-a central predicament  in the administration of justice in Nigeria .Thanks.


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