The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has blamed embedded ethno-sectional interests and considerations as major stumbling blocks to Nigeria’s quest for a more acceptable constitution.
He stated this while delivering the 2015 Annual Lecture of the Faculty of Law, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State yesterday.
Senator Ekweremadu regretted that vital amendments, which should have helped to deepen Nigeria’s democratic experience, strengthen equity and justice, and escalate national development had perished at the alters of mutual suspicion and narrow elites interests masqueraded as ethno-sectional interests.
“Mutual ethno-sectional and religious suspicions have become so ingrained in our body polity that even the most patriotic and altruistic intentions are almost always interpreted from myopic prisms of such sentiments and interests”, he lamented.
This was even as expressed happiness that although such ethno-sectional tendencies cut across the nation, there was a “growing ranks of detribalised Nigerians who will eventually aggregate to move this nation forward”.
The Senator who piloted the first sets of successful amendments to the 1999 Constitution in the 6th National Assembly, said the last efforts to further alter the constitution were scuttled by vested interests due to misperceptions over the attempt to remove presidential assent to constitution amendment bills, set a 30-day timeline for presidential assent to normal bills or indicate refusal of assent, failing which it automatically becomes an Act ofthe National Assembly in line with the United States presidential system where the president has a grace period of only two weeks.
He also listed, among others, the attempt to separate the Office of the Minister of Justice from that of the Attorney-General, which current merger in a political appointee, he said, leads to abuses and clogs in the wheel of justice.
– Raymond Ozoji, Awka