Reconsider 1989 Constitution, it has solutions to crisis of governance, Falana tells Senate

By AdvocateNews on 23/10/2021

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Human Rights lawyer, Chief Femi Falana has asked the Senate Committee on the Amendment/Drafting of New Constitution, to take a critical look at the 1989 Constitution, saying it is one of the best documents in the history of Constitution making in Nigeria since 1914.

"For sure, I am recommending that the Senate Committee on the New Constitution should take a critical look at the document -  The Making of the 1989 Constitution" because of its significance to the current crises our country is going through," 
Falana said stressing that the documents contained all the solutions to crisis of governance bedeviling the country.

The human rights lawyer spoke in Enugu 
as the guest speaker during the public presentation of a book entitled The Making of 1989 Constitution" to mark the 4th Justice Anthony Aniagolu memorial lecture held inside the auditorium of the Law Faculty of Godfrey Okoye University (GOUni).

He also explained the main  reason Babangida cancelled the June 12, 1993 election.  

Former military President Ibrahim Babangida, it would be recalled, appointed the late retired Supreme Court Judge, Justice Anthony Aniagolu to help prepare the 1989 Constitution as a step to usher in the rather aborted Third Republic but the document was abandoned by the government.

Falana said: “The Babangida junta sabotaged the very expensive political transition programe because he was planning to metamorphose from a military dictator to a civilian President, hence he didn’t allow the political transition programme to be concluded.

“By annulling the 1993 Presidential election won by the late MKO Abiola, Babangida made it impossible for Nigerians to take advantage of the provisions of this document – the 1989 Constitution.”

Falana said that the “beauty  of what we are doing today is to recall the efforts and sacrifice that went into the production of the 1989 Constitution and to look at the applicability of the provisions to current crisis of governance and underdevelopment our country is going through.”

He said that with the public presentation of The Making of 1989 Constitution,", “we’re going to ensure that the provisions are brought to the public glare so that they can become part of the public discourse on the ongoing efforts to write a new constitution for the country or to amend the existing constitution.”

According to the renowned human rights lawyer, Aniagolu did a marvelous job in producing the document, noting that from 1914 up to the moment, the 1989 Constitution has been one of the best in the constitution making in our country.

He said: “My Lord, Justice Aniagolu ensured that his experience in the Bench was brought to bear on that document,” regretting that “Because of the criminal annulment of the June 12 1993 Presidential election, that Constitution could not be used.”

He described Justice Aniagolu as “a judge of judges,” who was never associated with corruption or misconduct throughout his career in legal practice spanning four decades.

The reviewer of the book, Chidi Odinkalu, a visiting Professor at Harvard Law School, explained that the 12-Chapter document dealt with issues such as the contentious Sharia law, gender and family, ballot Rigging in Nigeria, etc plus themes that dwelt on how the military disruptively  vandalized the country’s constitution, leadership challenge, among others.

Odinkalu said that since 1999, Nigeria has had poor leadership, stressing that “Generatocracy” which he defined as “Government of the Generals, by the Generals, and for the Generals,” was one of the cankerworms that have destroyed the fabric of the nation.

He said the country would not go far in terms of growth and development so long the authorities continued to throw away important documents such as the 1989 Constitution and other similar documents.

Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kuka described Aniagolu as a courageous and fearless jurist who never swayed the course of justice or truth in favour of the rich or powerful in the society “but always pronounced his verdict based on justice and the letters of the law.”

“We are celebrating a man who made very relevant contributions to the country’s legal development,” Kuka said.

First daughter of Aniagolu, Chief Loretta Aniagolu while answering questions from newsmen, said that her father’s only regret was that he never lived to see Nigeria become great again after all his labour to produce an important document that would have gone a long way in correcting most of the  anomalies currently affecting the country. 

Posted 23/10/2021 02:41:07 AM

 

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