THOUGHT ON THE 1999 CONSTITUTION

Written by James Okere

THOUGHT ON THE 1999 CONSTITUTION REVIEW SUBMITTED AT THE IMO EAST SENATORIAL (OWERRI SENATORIAL ZONE) DISTRICT HELD ON SUNDAY 11TH NOVEMBER, 2012 AT CONCORD HOTEL OWERRI IMO STATE, EASTERN NIGERIA.

“We (Nigerians), shall make sacrifice if we indeed want our country- Nigeria to make genuine progress vide this current constitutional amendment”. James Okere.

In the light of the above, and for the love I have for my country- Nigeria, I present my MEMO as stated below.

1. RECOGNIZE SIX GEO-POLITICAL ZONE: I suggest that the present six geo-political zones; North Central, North East, North West, South East, South South and South West be recognized and enshrined in the constitution of Nigeria.

2. STATE CREATION: I support the idea of creating more States in Nigeria. Let each of the six geo-political zones in Nigeria have eight states. The zones will have the mandate to agree on the final structure of each State within the particular geo-political zone and report same to the national assembly.

3. ABOLISH BICAMERAL LEGISLATURE: I advocate we have only one National Assembly with each L.G.A. being represented by one elected person for the purpose of law making in Nigeria.

4. ZONING OF POLITICAL OFFICES: I advocate we introduce zoning of top political offices in the constitution. At the Federal Level this will cover the positions of President, Vice President, Senate President, Deputy Senate President, Speaker, Deputy Speaker, etc. At the State level this will cover the position of Governor, Deputy Governor, Speaker house of assembly etc.

5. CONSTITUTIONAL ZONING OF THE PRESIDENCY & GOVERNOR: I suggest that constitutional zoning of Nigeria’s Presidency should be enshrined in our constitution for a transitory period of 30 (thirty) years. Also at the State level, let the post of the Governor be zoned for a transitory period of 15 (fifteen) years among the three areas of each state as recorded in the constitution.

6. SINGLE TENURE OF 5 (FIVE) YEARS: I suggest we introduce in the constitution a single tenure of 5 (five) years for President and Governors.

7. CREATION OF MULTIPLE VICE PRESIDENTS: I advocate that 6 (six) Vice-President position should be created in the constitution to reflect the six geo-political zones and their main functions stated accordingly. For example they could be assigned to man key ministries as to facilitate development in our country. With this, if a serving President dies, the Vice- President from his geo-political area will automatically replace him, and a new Vice- President nominated for confirmation by the National Assembly.

8. CREATION OF MULTIPLE DEPUTY GOVERNORS: I advocate that 3 (three) Deputy-Governor positions should be created in the constitution to reflect three areas created in each state, with their main functions stated accordingly. For example they could be assigned to man key ministries as to facilitate development in each state. With this, if a serving Governor dies, the Deputy Governor from his area will automatically replace him, and a new Deputy Governor nominated for confirmation by the State House of Assembly.

9. CREATION OF L.G.A. IN NIGERIA: I support the creation of 4 (four) more new local government areas in each States of the Federation. Let each state agree and make proposal for the creation of additional 4 (four) new local government areas and submit same to the National Assembly for approval.

10. L.G.A. ADMINISTRATION: Let the local government areas be properly accorded status of a third tier of government with its own legislative list as enshrined in the constitution. In addition their tenure should be properly defined.

11. ABOLITION OF STATE JOINT LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACCOUNT: Let this be abolished, and let each L.G.A. receive her monthly allocation directly.

12. STATES ELECTORAL BODIES: Let all the States Electoral Bodies be abolished, and let the Independent National Electoral Commission has the responsibility of organizing L.G.A. elections.

13. FINANCIAL AUTONOMY TO STATE HOUSES OF ASSEMBLY: I suggest that financial autonomy should be granted to State Houses of Assembly in our constitution.

14. CONTROL OF RESOURCES: Let us strengthen our polity by allowing the constitution to be amended to allow states control their resources up to 50%.

15. EXISTENCE OF POLITICAL PARTIES: Let the constitution be amended in such a way that any political party not having at least I (one) elected governor, or 2 (two) Senators or 1(one) Senator & 3 members of House of Representatives or 6 members of the House of Representatives or 15 members in the State Houses of Assembly (the whole federation) or winning at least 20 (twenty) local government areas (the whole federation) should not exist as a political party. In that case any person elected under the party not meeting the above guideline is free to join any other political party of his/her choice.

16. CARPET CROSSING: The constitution should not allow for carpet crossing of an elected political office holder to another party. Where the elected political officer must join another party, he/she must loose his/her positions, and a bye election conducted.

17. ROLE OF TRADITIONAL RULERS: I support that the traditional rulers should be given the responsibility in our constitution to support in maintaining adequate security in their domain.

SUMMARY:
I thank Senator Chris N. D. Anyanwu (MFR), the Senator representing Owerri Senatorial Zone and the organizers of this Owerri Senatorial District Public Forum on review exercise on the 1999 Constitution for this opportunity to present this my memo.
Once again, thank you.

NOTE: The above was submitted on 11th November, 2012.

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