We need people-oriented constitution – Nwodo | Dailytrust

We need people-oriented constitution – Nwodo

John Nnia Nwodo

The immediate past President-General of the Igbo socio-cultural organization, John Nnia Nwodo, has warned that Nigeria would never be a country that commands the loyalty of its citizens because it has no constitution agreed upon by the people.

Speaking at the 18th Daily Trust Dialogue with the theme ‘Restructuring: Why? When? How?’ on Thursday in Abuja, Nwodo said the proliferation of states and the high recurrent expenditure of running the federation “is not beneficial to anybody in creating quality life for the people.”

Nwodo, who was Minister of Information in the General Abubakar Abdulsalami administration of 1998-1999, when the present constitution was enacted, said the document was promulgated by 40 persons in the Supreme Military Council after 49 people were selected to produce it.

“I was in the Executive Council, I never saw the draft constitution.

“And I was Minister of Information, it was my responsibility to publicize the constitution.

“On the day of swearing-in of Obasanjo, we didn’t have a copy of the constitution.

“I didn’t know who was printing it. My ministry was supposed to pay for the printing.

“And Obasanjo was sworn-in on a constitution that had not been read by him.

“And the National Assembly could not be constituted until four days after his swearing-in because there was no clean copy of the constitution,” he said.

“You cannot build on quicksand; the country cannot live on falsehood.

“Owners of the country as represented by the various socio-cultural groups that formed the desire to be one country have to be constituted into the kind of conference that President Jonathan summoned,” Nwodo said.

He noted that restructuring of Nigeria is an urgent issue because oil revenue is a fast-drying resource for earning of foreign exchange as many countries have set deadlines for use of alternative energy sources.