Why Constitutional Conferences, NASS Failed To Restructure Nigeria - Prof.Auwalu Yadudu - EDU-BIZNEWS


Saturday, October 15, 2022

Why Constitutional Conferences, NASS Failed To Restructure Nigeria - Prof.Auwalu Yadudu

A Professor of Law, Auwalu Hamisu Yadudu has given reasons for the failure of previous Constitutional Conferences convened by two former presidents, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and successor , Dr Goodluck Jonathan and various efforts made by the National Assembly failed to restructure Nigeria through constitutional review process   

The legal luminary who was delivering the 14th Convocation Lecture of Crescent University, Abeokuta, titled " Restructuring Nigeria: Crusial Lessons From The 2005 And 2014 Political Reform And National Conferences", attributed the failure to the processes being adopted in amending certain provisions of the Constitution which according to him, is cumbersome

The university don who was part of the 2005 National Political Reform Conference convened by former president, Obasanjo,  stressed the need to jettison the constutional  power of assent by president before any amendment can scale through  

"Subjecting a Bill to amend the constitution to presidential assent after it had been adopted by the NASS and concurred to by the required number of Houses of Assembly is cumbersome and perhaps unwarranted. Which is why the US constitution has dispensed with that. However, over-riding a presidential veto of such Bills by NASS is itself problematic since the Bills would remain inchoate if not concurred to by the State Assemblies", he stated

Yadudu, a Visiting Professor to many universities in and outside Nigeria, also blamed the failure of the previous Constitutional Conferences initiated by the previous administrations to achieve the desired restructuring of the country on the timing of convening such conferences which is usually at twilight of such regime and the inability of lack of political will of both Obasanjo and Jonathan administrations  to implement part of recommendations contained in the 2005 National Political Reform Conference and 2014 National Conference initiated by them 

He added that neither Obasanjo in 2005 nor Jonathan in 2014 could muster enough courage to even present the report of recommendations of both conferences to the National Assembly for debate and consideration for the purpose of amending the Constitution to restructure the country

Yadudu  also attributed the failure of the Conferences on the template used by the previous administrations of Obasanjo and Jonathan saying"
The template used to convene them lacks sufficient legal and representational backing or support to clothe them with legitimacy or mandate to displace or alter an existing constitutional order or system"

"Despite the credentials of members convened to undertake a restructuring agenda, this lack of mandate and the casual, some may say unorthodox, ways and means adopted has led to the outcomes being torpedoed or totally ignored"' ,he added

The don equally blamed the failure of the previous attempt of restructuring the country on insincerity of those in power, adding that the agenda and objectives of conferences were  not clearly stated 

According to him, there was move by some in government in conniverance with few members of the 2005 conference to impose an undisclosed agenda on the conference

"I should recall here that during its proceedings, the Judiciary and Legal Reform Committee, in which l served and which was ably led by distinguished and very senior members of the Bar, Prince Bola Ajibola and late Abdullahi Ibrahim, the news broke, on 23rd April 2005, that there was a draft constitution being drawn up outside the walls of the NPRC and circulated to members by Unkown persons. To avoid credibility problems for its work and protect the integrity of members of the Committee, the chairman, who echoed the decisions earlier taken on 25th April, disavowed knowledge or authorship of the document and the Committee rejected it outrightly. To their credit, the leadership of the NPRC wasted no time disown it.
 It was apparent that some members of the NPRC and an administration complicit in their designs had thought they could force the hands of the Conference to rubber-stamp the unauthorized draft"

Also speaking, the proprietor of Crescent University, Prince Bola Ajibola, a represented by his son, Segun Ajibola SAN, a member of the University's Board of Trustees, lauded the presentation of the Law Professor, saying it is obvious that the country should be restructured to attain its full potential for greatness

He then recommended that the paper presentation must be documented for reference purpose in libraries of tertiary institutions across Nigeria 

Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Gbajabiamila and members of academics as well as students were among those that graced  the event   

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