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Nigeria’s democracy is fragile. Recent happenings in the country make it imperative for the National Assembly to strengthen national institutions that support democracy.
Specifically, institutions like the INEC, Police, ICPC, Accountant General, National Judicial Council, Attorney General, CBN, National Human Rights Commission, the Judicature, EFCC, Public Defender, Code of Conduct Bureau etc.
Section 153 of the 1999 Constitution establishes some of these National Institutions but they are only executive agencies. They have no practical constitutional guarantees for independence and effective functioning.
We should borrow a leaf from Chapter 9 of the Constitution of South Africa titled – “Institutions Consolidating Democracy.”
It is suggested that Chapter 9 of the South African Constitution should replace Section 153 of the 1999 Constitution.
The National Assembly can do this by either exercising its powers under Section 9 by introducing a Fifth Alteration Bill titled: “Institutions Consolidating Democracy” or by exercising its powers under Section 4 (1) and 315 (1) by repealing the present Constitution entirely and simultaneously replacing with a new Constitution.
I had taken the view that the Constitution is a living document and should be altered as situations arise but with recent happenings, I do not believe this approach is feasible in the context of our fragile democracy.
I propose a new Constitution for Nigeria. I enclose Professor Ben Nwabueze’s suggestion of how the National Assembly can make a new Constitution for Nigeria. I believe it is compelling.
Accept assurances of my regard.
Dr. Olisa Agbakoba SAN