A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chief Mike Ozekhome has said that the current 1999 Constitution which the country is operating is illegal, and that it is why the country is still advocating for nationhood.
Addressing the South-South Pen Pushers who decorated him as the patron of the association, on Wednesday in Abuja, he said the constitution was given to Nigerians by the 28 PRC members of the Abdusalam-led military administration without Nigerians’ input.
Calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to look beyond the convener of the conference and implement some of the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference, he said, “The current constitution of Nigeria is illegal. It was formulated by the military. The constitution itself is unconstitutional.”
According to the Human Rights Lawyer, the system of government as currently constituted, makes the central government too powerful.
He urged the government to consider the devolution of powers from the centre.
“We have a central government that is too powerful. We are looking at the devolution of powers from the centre to the component units. All the issues coming up in the polity were discussed extensively during the 2014 National Conference.
He maintained that the recommendations contained in the report of the 2014 National Conference, if implemented, will solve some of the contending issues in the country.
He said: “I believe that Nigeria is an ongoing project. It is like clay waiting to be moulded into a good shape. I believe in true fiscal federalism. Regions should be allowed to develop according to their pace and culture, rather than the current system we are operating.”
“In these days, nobody looked forward to the centre to survive. Every state in Nigeria has something to bring to the table. It is injustice for the Federal Government to insist that all mineral resources belong to it.
“The way out is to go back to true fiscal federalism. It is either we merge all the states together into regional blocs or make them truly independent. It will be such that what each state produces, 70 per cent will be given back to them. The structure we are operating is not working.
“I am appealing to Buhari to drop the mindset where he said he has not even looked at the content of the National Conference. He is looking at the convener instead of the message. He should not throw away the baby and the bad water.
Ozekhome appealed to President Buhari to dust up the report of the National Conference and that he would be surprised that all the issues in the country are well captured in the report.
“He should go back to the report,” he concluded. (Leadership)