Nigeria

Mike Ozekhome: Nigeria needs new, people-driven constitution

Mike Ozekhome

Mike Ozekhome, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, has argued that only a new constitution driven by the people can ensure Nigeria’s progress.

Ozekhome made the comment while speaking at a lecture in Calabar, which took place during the 2022 Media Week hosted by the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Cross River State Council. The lecture’s theme was “2023 General Election: The Nigeria Project and the Media.”

The keynote speaker stated that Nigeria could not keep amending its constitution because it would eventually result in a poor constitution.

“Whoever becomes Nigeria’s president in 2023 will fail abysmally if he does not handle the subject of restructuring through a brand-new people’s constitution, done by Nigerians themselves.

“This constitution must be subjected to them through a popular referendum and plebiscite; without this, Nigeria will be travelling about on a voyage without a destination,” he stated.

According to the constitutional lawyer, Nigeria needs a constitution that will help different ethnic groups feel like they belong to the Nigerian country rather than some foreign set of rules.

He advocated a return to the time when Nigeria had separate regional governments operating under their own constitutions alongside the national constitution, with the latter taking precedence in the event of a conflict between the two.

He said that according to the constitution from the 1960s, each region kept 50% of the money made from its output, 20% went to the central government, and 30% was divided among the other regions.

“This approach ensured enormous investments like the cocoa house in the Western Region and Obudu Cattle Ranch in the Eastern Region.

“The Northern Nigeria Development Corporation in the Northern area, Okpela cement factory in the Midwest region, among others, were founded and properly run,” he said.

He warned that the upcoming 2023 elections would be difficult but not disastrous for Nigeria, and he urged the media to spread the word about the importance of registering to vote and casting a ballot for the candidates of one’s choice.

He also said that, according to Moshood Abiola, Nigeria needs peace based on social justice, fairness, a good conscience, and equality, not the peace of the cemetery.

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