Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (CFRN) 1999 and government's duty to cater for its citizens

It is the responsibility of every elected Government is to look after the welfare of its citizens through the provisions of socio-economic, developmental and other legitimate rights they are entitled to. This responsibility is firmly rooted in the constitution which is social contract that must be agreed between the citizens and the political office holders.

It is the responsibility of every elected Government is to look after the welfare of its citizens through the provisions of socio-economic, developmental and other legitimate rights they are entitled to. Sadly, section 6 subsection 6c of Nigeria's 1999 constitution have literally absolve elected politicians of these responsibilities

 

According to Ikpeze (2015), “The whole of Chapter II of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (CFRN) 1999 (made up of 12 sections spanning section 13 to 24) contain the political, economic, social, cultural and developmental rights of the citizens. However, this chapter is non-justiciable by virtue of section 6 (6) (c) of the same constitution. Examination of the implications of such non-justiciability show that citizens cannot obtain redress from the courts if denied their socio-economic, developmental and other rights provided for in this chapter of the constitution. It is therefore a formidable impediment to socio-economic development.”

 

Section 6 subsection 6c is one out of many other flaws from the 1999 constitution. It denies citizens the rights to seek legal redress if government denied their socio-economic, developmental and other rights provided for in Chapter 2 of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria (CFRN) 1999.

 

Unfortunately, the political office holders having sworn to uphold this constitution have been protected by the constitution hence the citizens are arm-twisted to seek redress despite the Supreme Court's handed down ruling in FRN vs Osahon (2006)10 NWLR (pt 674) p.264 that the ‘constitution should address every need of the people it was meant to govern and no elements of ambiguity is expected’

 

Excerpts from the preamble on page 15 of the 1999 constitution starts with, ‘We the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, having firmly and solemnly resolved to live in unity, and harmony as one indivisible and indissoluble sovereign nation under God......’ appears to be an anomaly because where did the people come together to firmly and solemnly resolved to live in unity, and harmony as one indivisible and indissoluble sovereign nation under God? If the people haven't come together agree how they want live together and govern themselves, (which is where Section 6 Subsection 6c comes up) it would appear that the 1999 constitution is null and void ‘ab initio’ (from beginning). This is however subject to further legal interpretation (which is outside the scope of this article) will be a welcome development.

 

The ongoing social, security, political and economic tensions in the land call for an urgent collaboration amongst all stakeholders in order to find lasting solutions to the recurring social, political and economic problems facing Nigerians. Is there a way out of this constitutional conundrum?

 

What is the way forward?

 

The following options can be explored within agreed timeline in order to facilitate a smooth transition towards a brand-new citizen centric constitution. 

 

Firstly, acknowledgment of the fact that the preamble in the 1999 constitution has rendered it otiose is absolutely incontrovertible. Pragmatically, it will be wise to discontinue the 1999 constitution and enable each Constituent Regional Bloc’ create their respective constitutions and subsequently organise Referendums and Plebiscites to ratify them. As part of the Referendums and Plebiscites, each Constituent Regional Bloc’ will determine whether they want to be part of the union of Nigeria or not within agreed timeframe. The ‘Notice of constitutional grievances, declaration of constitutional force majeure and demand for transitioning process for an orderly reconfiguration of the constitutional basis of the Federation of Nigeria through a proclamation on 16th December 2020 provide a very compelling legal pathway to achieving a citizen-centric constitution  

 

Secondly, outcomes from the referendum from all ethnic nationalities will determine what type of constitution fits into their situation. At this point, the modalities for wide ranging consultations and drafting of a completely brand-new constitution will be agreed by each and every nationality that went through a referendum and choose to be part of Nigeria.

 

Constitution is a social contract that must be unambiguous rather, addresses every needs of the citizen. It must be agreed between the citizens and the political office holders. Going to another general elections in 2023 without a referendum which will open a legitimate pathway to a brand-new constitution will be an exercise in futility and not in the best interests of different nations within Nigeria. 

 

Ayòdélé Òjó 

London, United Kingdom 


Ayodele Ojo

3 Blog posts

Comments
OLUWASOLA RUFUS Olabamiji 1 y

Infact This So Called Nigeria Constitution Is More Than Fraud,

 
 
OLUWASOLA RUFUS Olabamiji 1 y

Frudulent Constitution, Expire Constitution, Corrupted Constitution

 
 
OLUWASOLA RUFUS Olabamiji 1 y

Frudulent Constitution, Just One To Make The Corrupt Leader To Be More corrupt

 
 
Lukman 2 yrs

It wanderfu