A former Nigerian envoy, Dr. Nnamdi Onochie, has criticised members of the Senate for rejecting calls for lawmakers to push for the writing of a brand new constitution for the country.
Speaking in an interview with NAN in Abuja on Wednesday, Onochie stated that members of the Senate should rise up as statesmen and support the writing of a new constitution for Nigeria.
He re-stated, however, that any new constitution must ensure that Nigeria remained as one indivisible entity.
Some Nigerians have been clamouring for the nation to fashion out a new constitution altogether, instead of merely amending some sections of the document.
They argue that a brand new constitution would put Nigeria on course for a new beginning against the backdrop of intractable problems in the country.
Nigeria’s current constitution, known popularly as the 1979 Constitution, has been criticised for its lopsided provisions and for not taking cognisance of Nigeria’s heterogeneous structure.
The constitution was put in place by the military, which had dominated the politics of the West African country from the late 1960s to the late 90s.
On June 3, the Senate at a public hearing on the review of the constitution in Abuja, declared that although a completely new constitution to replace the current one was desirable, the extant law does not support the writing of a brand new one.
The development has generated intense heat in a nation that has been contending with various problems, including terror, banditry, insurgency and endless calls for break up by some groups.
Onochie told the NAN: “The people of Nigeria will be eternally grateful to any government or lawmaker, who will make Nigeria to have a new constitution. As a PDP (Peoples Democratic Party) 2023 presidential aspirant, I will work assiduously to achieve this if voted into power.
“The voting by the Senate on June 3, rejecting a new people’s constitution, needs to be reversed.
“The 1999 Constitution (as amended) does not stop the Senate from voting to authorise re-writing of the current constitution through a Nigerian Peoples Assembly set up through an Executive or Legislative Bill passed by the National Assembly.
“Then the adoption of even the 2014 Constitutional Conference recommendations can be implemented by the Federal Government.”
Outspoken Onochie, who has been campaigning for the founding of a new Nigeria, built on equity, justice, equality and fair play, also spoke on the ongoing Twitter controversy.
Onochie, a former Nigerian Envoy to Algeria and Philippines, pleaded that government should lift its sanction on Twitter and consolidate policies that would unite and sustain Nigeria’s indivisibility.
He said: “Nigeria is a sovereign and powerful country and it is wrong to get into situations like reversing government policies due to external and even internal pressures.
“Good governance pays off when the sensitivities of the governed is speedily attended to,” said Onochie.