The House of Representatives has kicked against the possibility of enacting a new Constitution or re-enacting the 1963 Constitution also known as the Republican Constitution for Nigeria.
The lawmakers argued that there was no going back on the ongoing amendments to the 1999 Constitution.
Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Hon. Benjamin Kalu, in an electronic interview with journalists yesterday, described the Republican Constitution as archaic.
Kalu insisted that the 1963 Constitution had lost its merits when applied to the current realities in the country.
Kalu, in response to the calls by regional, socio-political and cultural groups for the abolition of the 1999 Constitution and a return to the Republican Constitution, noted that the 1963 Constitution was widely credited as “representing the basic understanding and agreement upon which Nigeria’s various ethnicities and regions came together to form the federation called Nigeria shortly after independence.”
Kalu said, “Despite these merits of the 1963 Constitution, Nigerians must acknowledge that law is made for man and not man for the law. The 1963 Constitution was ideal for a Nigeria that had just attained its independence and was still asserting its sovereignty and freedom from British colonial influence.
“Our country, and indeed the world, has evolved from the prevailing circumstances of 58 years ago and as such, we must focus on improving the current constitution rather than adopting a 6-decade old constitution.
“We must also acknowledge the fact that the 1963 Constitution was an imperfect document that had certain demerits.
“Rather than replacing the 1999 Constitution with an archaic one, I am strongly of the opinion that a comparative analysis of the merits and demerits of both constitutions must be had in order to adopt that which worked from 1963 and expunge that which does not work in the current constitution.”
He added, “While the calls for a total constitutional overhaul are valid and understandable, we must acknowledge that the situation in Nigeria demands a quick review of the constitution as opposed to a total overhaul, for want of time.
“A review of the constitution has become necessary in the face of growing insecurity and threats exposing the fragility of the Nigerian state. Fortunately, the 9th House of Representatives has severally affirmed its commitment to reviewing the 1999 Constitution in line with the yearnings of Nigerians.