Constitution Review: Akeredolu Backs Return To 1963 Constitution
Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu on Wednesday, backed the call for the country to return to the use of the 1963 Constitution.
Governor Akeredolu spoke while declaring open the Zonal Public hearing of the review of the 1999 Constitution held at the Cultural and International Event Centre, Akure.
Akeredolu stated that the powers of the federal government must be trimmed down as it was the major of friction in the country and politics of bitterness.
He warned that the current attempt at the Constitution amendment should be taken beyond the usual jamboree conceived and executed to arrive at predetermined result.
The Ondo Governor said the 1963 Constitution which reflected the Republican status of the country remained the best document for a country as heterogeneous as Nigeria.
He said it was the best practicable guide towards nationhood but was abolished by the military by imposing a unitary system on the country.
According to him, “The current exercise, therefore, must not toe the path of the previous attempts at tokenism. The basic law of any country must not be reduced to frivolities reflecting preferred whimsies. It must not be oppressive of the minorities. Its provisions must indeed give teeth to the primary purpose for which the government exists. No provision of the law must not be justiciable as Chapter Two of the current 1999 Constitution seeks to impress on us.
“All the agitations of the peoples of this country must be looked into with a view to improving the economic power of the average citizens. The best way possible is to allow each region flower in its areas of comparative advantage.
The behemoth called the Federal Government must shed the excess weight unduly appropriated over time. It is the major cause of friction.
It is the reason for the politics of bitterness. It explains why everyone wants the power at the centre. It promotes ethnic chauvinists and encourages mediocrity.
“The new law must view, critically, the current misnomer which sees the Federal Government appropriating humongous amounts for moribund agencies whose duties overlap with those of the states. The fiscal policy of the country must be restructured to encourage ingenuity and uncommon resourcefulness. The Federal Government should only coordinate and receive royalties. The current system is not sustainable. All of us are beginning to appreciate this fact.
“The current exercise will derive its legitimacy if taken to the people for revalidation. Nothing must be taken for granted. Everyone must be treated as an equal partner in this whole enterprise of nation-building.”
“No patriotic citizen can deny the fact that the country faces dire challenges at the moment which, in themselves, bear the necessary ingredients for redefinition, determination, growth and eventual development. The movement towards social integration must be steady and focused.”