Nigeria

Pat Utomi: National constitution reform dialogue holds May 12

The Nigeria Political Summit Group and the National Consultative Front (NCFront) on Tuesday said arrangements had been concluded for a multi-stakeholder National Constitution Reform Dialogue on May 12.

Pat Utomi, Chairman, National Organising Committee of the group said at a news conference on Tuesday in Lagos that flaws in the nation’s constitution were responsible for some of its challenges.

Mr Utomi said the forthcoming confab on the Constitutional Future of Nigeria scheduled for Abuja, would involve eminent ethnic nationalities, religious leaders, political parties and the government.

“Our country needs a path to go forward. We think at this time that reasonable people should know that we need something fresh that can strengthen us.

“The journey to this dialogue began more than two years ago when we convened a dialogue to heal the wounds of Nigeria, and invited seventy accomplished elder statesmen.

“In 2021, we set up a committee to go to work on drafting a new constitution to place in the public arena for debate.

“With leadership from Olisa Agbakoba, Hakeem Baba Ahmed, and Rev. Fr. George Ehusani, we have hoped to provide a chance for more growth for the nation.”

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According to him, those warming up for the 2023 general elections do not seem to have their hands wrapped around the issues of how Nigerians can continue to live together in a way that advances the common good.

Mr Utomi said the challenge now was to stimulate rational public conversation by stakeholders on the issues that affected the constitutional future of the country.

He said Nigeria’s constitution was responsible for her numerous challenges.

According to him, it is imperative to carry out surgery on the document, saying the urgency of constitutional reform cannot be overstated.

According to him, only truth and a sense of justice and fairness can make sustainably positive change in the nation’s grand norm.

He decried that for a long time, those who arrived in power under “the steam of the extant document” and campaigned to reform it, had continued to turn a blind eye to the truth they earlier professed.

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Mr Utomi called for restructuring of policing and local government systems as well as devolution of power, greater accountability and fairness in the nation’s electoral system.

“So we plan to bring to the public view, work that has been ongoing, reviewing the output of the previous political reform conferences.

“With inputs from eminent stakeholders, who have affirmed participation, we can get a draft to the Nigerian people to use to question candidates for public office in this election cycle,” Mr Utomi said.

He said the group, made of up “leaders of thoughts, elder statesmen and women, remained a non-partisan but committed to the sacrificial struggle for a better nation”.

Mr Utomi said that his nearly 50 years of struggle to ensure that Nigeria truly became the dream of its founding fathers and a better society, started when he was 17 years without giving up.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event has in attendance, leaders of NCFront across some states.

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