1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, A threat to the Nation's Unity, Peace and Progress

A good constitution must take into consideration the social, political, economical as well as the diversity of the inhabitants the constitution intends providing cover for.
The Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria

A constitutional template serves as a body of fundamental principles or an established precedents to which a state derives its power from and acknowledged to be governed.

A constitution empowers legitimate authorities to act for the public good and manage their common concerns while protecting people against the arbitrary power of rulers whose power would otherwise be used for personal benefit and not for the public good. 

A good constitution must take into consideration the social, political, economical as well as the diversity of the inhabitants the constitution intends providing cover for.


Why 1999 Constitution would continue to be a drawback to Nigerian Peace, Unity and Progress. 

Countries that have succeeded in establishing and maintaining good constitution are at the forefront of scientific and technological advancement. In contrast, state that operate with constitutional template with so much loopholes and impunity underneath it, would continue to fall short of unity and progress. 

If certain individuals makes an attempt to maintain power so that they alone can enjoy the luxury of office and control the resources of the state for personal gain, then the state is pulling itself far from the tenants of democracy.


For example, the power house in which in Biochemistry is known as 'mitochondria,' is the engine room for every metabolic activities in the body system. The mitochondria is an organelle that generate most of the chemical energy needed to power the cell's biochemical reactions.
Inherited changes or problem with the mitochondria DNA can alter the growth, development and function of the body system. Our nation's power house (mitochondria) is the constitution. Every arms and tears of government derives it power from the constitution 

If the constitution (power house) is faulty, the system will be vulnerable to impunity and it would be very difficult to attain any meaningful progress. The constitution is our reference point and is where every public office holder derives power from.

I affirmed the saying that says "absolute power corrupts absolutely". The power in the 1999 constitution is so much domiciled in the presidency. By virtue of our constitution, the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is the most powerful president in the world. 

The power is so much concentrated at the centre which is not good for any country that call itself 'a democratic state'. The constitution has 68 items on the exclusive list with only 12 items on the current list and the 12 items are written in a way that the intention is to undermine the concurrent list. 

The issue of resources control is reserved under the exclusive list, that is why today you could see the tussle between the governor of Zamfara State and the federal government. The governor is saying "we are going to control our gold" and federal government are saying "NO all mineral resources harnessed is under the control of the federal government". Even as that, the federal government have relinquished and accord certain liberty for Zamfara to control her gold and at the same time insisting to control the oil in the Niger Delta.

In this context, is there justice and equity?

On the same premise, there was a constitutional power tussle when the south-west region initiated a security architecture in their region to tackle crime and at the same time, consolidating the effort of the Nigerian police and other security operatives. 

The Attorney General of the federation challenged the south-west governors that they lack the constitutional power to create such security outfit flaunting and drawing inspiration from the 1999 constitution that all issue of security is reserved in the exclusive list. 

Meaning, it is only the federal government that has the constitutional power to create security outfit and manage security, forgetting that there have being an existence of similar security outfit like the Hisbah in Kano and the Civilian JTF in Borno state. All domiciled in the northern region of Nigeria.

On the endless war on terror, there have been gross incompetency and lethargy from the side of the service chiefs, but the president has declined call by well-meaning Nigerians seeking the removal of the service chiefs and an entire overhaul of the nations security architecture. 

Likewise, the level of insecurity in the country is increasing day in day out. People are dying but the president has kept a deaf ear to voices seeking the sack of the service chiefs even when is obvious that the service chiefs are technically bankrupt, intellectually on recess and energetically exhausted as it is obvious and could easily be depicted that the law of diminishing return is operating in their life which defines their state of worn out.

Is the life of the citizens important to the President? 

Nigeria needs to return to the regional system of government with a holistic approach to the 1999 constitution. 

Comr. NELSON Wilson
Political activist and a pan-Africanist.