Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State has called for a new Nigerian constitution.
Ikpeazu made the call at the 5th Osasu Show Symposium where he delivered a lecture, on Monday.
The programme with the theme: ‘State of The Nation, The People’s Constitution’, held at the International Conference Center in Abuja.
According to Governor Ikpeazu, the new Constitution will restructure the country and devolve more powers to the federating units, entrench resource control by the states, establish federal, state, and local government police formations and be more responsive to the protection of the rights of all citizens, as well as provide a level playing field where all Nigerians will be treated equally.
The governor stated that the major fundamental flaw of the present constitution is that it lacks the ownership of the people which is a key ingredient that clothes Constitutions with the requisite legitimacy.
The governor said the road to a proper constitution involves processes such as constitutional conferences, referenda, Acts of parliament, Judicial precedents, customs of the people, conventions, etc.
Drawing inference from constitutions of the US, Argentina, South Africa, Tanzania, etc, the governor added what we currently have is a constitution “handed down by military fiat complete with all the nuances of totalitarianism with a very powerful President, Governors and even Local Government Chairmen across the country”.
“This military mindset is the reason for unduly concentrating powers on the federal government in areas where it ordinarily has no business with.
“This needless concentration of powers in the federal government especially in the areas of security, revenue generation and allocation, resource control has stifled growth in the states and local governments, making them parasitic appendages of a powerful federal government.
“A situation where states look forward to monthly receipts from Abuja has killed hard work and initiatives, recalling the first Republic when the regions thrived well when they were quasi independent,” he said.
On Security, the Governor decried a situation where a State Governor in Nigeria cannot take actions to manage an urgent security issue because by virtue of the proviso to Section 215 (4) of the Constitution, the Commissioner of Police in a state may request that a matter be referred to the President or minister.
According to the governor, the existence of a single national police outfit is at variance with federal system of government and this has led to the establishment by different states in the country, of vigilante outfits and other forms of security and traffic management teams.
The event attracted Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who joined virtually, while the Acting Canadian High Commissioner, Ambassador Nicolas Simmard, and
Former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke.