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Reactions as Na’Abba, Utomi, others draft new constitution for Nigeria

Daily Trust reports that eminent personalities led by former House of Representatives Speaker, Ghali Umar Na’Abba and Prof. Pat Utomi

Experts have weighed in on the move to floating a new constitution by leaders of thoughts under the aegis of the National Consultative Front (NCFront), saying while it is a welcome development, their mission remains a tall dream.

Daily Trust reports that eminent personalities led by former House of Representatives Speaker, Ghali Umar Na’Abba and Prof. Pat Utomi, on Tuesday floated the Constitution Drafting Committee and Coordinating Committee of the People’s Constitutional Dialogue aimed at rescuing Nigeria from the precipice.

They have vowed to launch a mega political movement to serve as an alternative platform ahead of the 2023 elections, saying a draft people’s constitution would be ready by December 2021.

At a virtual ceremony, they floated the committee co-chaired by Dr. Olisa, Agbakoba (SAN), Dr. Usman Bugaje, Dr Tokunbo Awolowo-Dosumu, and Rev Fr. (Dr) George Ehusani, with Agbakoba as lead anchor, setting a direction for the work and Dr. Hakeem Baba Ahmed as secretary of the coordinating committee.

But a political scientist, Dr. Gbade Ojo, said while Nigeria urgently needed a third force to arrest the “frustrating federal arrangement”, the promoters lack the “grassroots structure” to actualise their mission.

He said their plan to float a new constitution would be an exercise in futility without the imprimatur of the National Assembly which has the legal enablement to draft a constitution.

Ojo said such a mission could only be realised with a referendum.

According to the university don, the activities of NCFront could be likened to “awareness creation” about the problem of the country.”

Professor Hassan Salihu, another political analyst, while stating that the move was a welcome development, said their objective could be achieved if the promoters were able to resolve their contradictions.

“They have to resolve their contradictions. Some of them are ultra-liberal, others are liberal, some are leftist. They need to also state what they have got to offer. Don’t forget some of them were players yesterday. One only hopes they would offer Nigerians a refreshingly different ideology,” he said.

On his part, Prof. Sylvester Odion said every social force in the country is welcome because the country is “at a crossroads.”

But he noted that floating a new constitution could amount to duplication wondering if they planned to synthesize all the previous documents like the 2014 national confab or start an entirely new process.

Notwithstanding, he stated that it could be termed as part and parcel of the struggle to save Nigeria from the near precipice.

Also speaking, Dr. Kayode Esuola of the University of Lagos stated that the move “has the potentiality to snowball into a ‘political party’ and win elections in 2023. APC is a precedence.”

However, he stated that the formation might “not be able to address Nigeria’s tragedy.”