The Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, has said the National Assembly lacks the power to replace the current constitution.
Speaking when he hosted members of Alliance of Nigerian Patriots in Abuja, Omo-Agege, who chairs the Senate Ad hoc Committee on Constitution Review, stressed that the National Assembly can only amend the constitution, but not offer a new one.
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Citing advanced democracies like the United States, after which Nigeria’s presidential system of government is fashioned, as well as sections 8 and 9 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the lawmaker said what is obtainable is piecemeal alteration of the constitution.
He, therefore, urged those calling for a new constitution to channel their energy towards participating actively in the ongoing amendment of the constitution by the ninth assembly.
“One of the issues you raised is the replacement of the 1999 Constitution. I am not so sure that we as a parliament have the power to replace the constitution. We can only make amendments. And it is explicit in sections 8 and 9 of the constitution on how we can do that and the number of votes required.
“I say that because there are some top attorneys in this country who, for some reason, keep saying that we should just bring a new constitution. We can’t do that. We are not in a position to replace this constitution. We can only amend,” Omo-Agege was quoted as saying in a statement by his media aide, Yomi Odunuga.
Also reacting to the call for the scrapping of the upper legislative chamber, Omo-Agege argued that the country cannot practice unicameral legislature due to its large population.