The Governor of Kogi, Yahaya Bello, has described calls for a new and more representative constitution as unrealistic.

He stated this on Monday, August 16, while delivering his keynote address at the fifth edition of The Osasu Show Symposium 2021 themed ‘State of the nation: The people’s constitution’ at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.

Bello who was represented by the Director-General, Research and Development, member of the Kogi State Executive Council, Moses Okezi, said that Nigerians can at best manage and amend the provisions of the 1999 constitution. But a total abrogation is not obtainable at this time.

He said, “The constitution of Nigerian 1999 was enacted on 29th May 1999 by military decree 24 inaugurating the Nigerian fourth republic and restoring democratic rule.

“I believe the lack of direct origins in the people or some of their representatives is why some citizens and some sections of civil society insist that none of the previous constitutions of Nigeria qualifies to be called a people’s constitution.

“They advocate the total abrogation of the present one while calling for a process that will midwife the emergence of a new constitution which they claim will be the loadstone for a more egalitarian Nigerian society driven by the rule of law.

“I understand their arguments. And how I wish I could buy into their optimism. Sadly, given our socio-political realities as a nation, I think calls to dump the present constitution wholesale and make a new one from scratch are not very realistic at this time.”

Bello added that constitutional democracy is not a naturally occurring system of governance saying, “it is always preceded by some authoritarian ways by which society has previously been organised.

“When the forces of progress and modern governance finally makes democracy inevitable in a polity, the weakened authoritarian institutions usually see themselves overseeing the process of their own overthrow; usually, through the making and promulgation of a constitution.

“This is the story of most nations and their constitutions. Even those we consider the global democratic powerhouses of the modern world.”

Bello further explained that there will always be foundational issues with most constitutions but total annulment of an old constitution and the introduction of a new one is hardly a realistic strategy.

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