Nigeria: Constitution Review - Okowa Makes Case for Brand New Constitution

Coats of arms of Nigeria (file photo).

Mr Okowa says a brand new constitution will not be possible until section 9 of the 1999 Constitution is amended with a clause to allow the writing of a new one.

The governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa, has urged the National Assembly to incorporate a clause in the 1999 constitution which will allow the creation of a brand new constitution.

He said getting a brand new constitution will not be possible now until section 9 of the 1999 Constitution is amended with a clause to allow the writing of a brand new constitution.

Mr Okowa said this at the zonal constitution review public hearing in Asaba, Delta State.

Section 9 of the constitution provides the process for alteration of the constitution.

He also made a case for the creation of state police, while also advocating allocation of more resources to the sub-nationals.

"Is it possible to have a brand new constitution when there is one existing? As the constitution is at the moment there is no provision to allow that. But I believe that if we have a deep thought and look at Section 9 of the constitution it would be possible to add a clause and when that clause must have been approved and has become law, it would now be possible under such a condition for the National Assembly to rewrite an entire constitution which would come into effect after all the process have been done," the governor said.

"There is a need for devolution of power. We believe that the exclusive list is too burdensome for the Federal government to handle. It is not about this administration. It is about all the administrations at the Federal level. When you take too much for yourself, you find it difficult to be as efficient as you would have been ordinarily.

"There is a need for the establishment of state police not because we believe that the federal police are inefficient, but we believe that it would be difficult for them to have enough personnel with such a command structure that will be functional enough to handle the level of insecurity in the land today. We are not asking for a scrapping of the federal police, but there is a need for the creation of state police. Nigeria would not be the first nation to have that and it can be worked out in a manner that would correlate with each other."

Mr Okowa also lamented that there has not been a review of the revenue sharing formula since 1999.

He canvassed increment of derivation to oil-producing states from the current 13 per cent, noting that the oil-producing states are not getting the entire derivation.

"We also believe that on the issue of derivation, the oil communities are not well treated. We know that the provision of the constitution is that derivation shall be at least 13 per cent, but from all our workings, with all; that goes out, the oil-producing states do not get up to 13 per cent," the governor said.

The Deputy Speaker and Chairman of the House of Representatives Constitution Review Committee, Idris Wase (APC, Plateau), said the views from the exercise will be put into consideration when the committee makes recommendations to the House.

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