Afe Babalola insists that the 1999 Constitution cannot produce better leaders
Legal icon, Aare Afe Babalola (SAN) has said that the 1999 Constitution is responsible for the myriad of challenges in Nigeria and called for its replacement, adding that the document cannot produce the best group of leaders for Nigeria.
The founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD), also called on Nigerian leaders to urgently address the problem of the country’s huge debts.
Postulating that the country is bankrupt and on the verge of bankruptcy and collapse, Babalola said Nigeria risks being sucked into those who lent the country money.
Addressing reporters yesterday in Ado Ekiti, the capital of Ekiti state, the elderly statesman lamented that the 2023 elections are being held under the 1999 constitution, which he described as lopsided and flawed. He said the money bags, not the best candidates, will emerge because of the current constitutional arrangement.
Urged the National Assembly to propose a Law to amend the current Constitution by replacing the 1999 Constitution with the 1960/63 Constitution and also to establish a Provisional National Government pending the elaboration of a new constitution in accordance with the Section 9 (1) of the Constitution of 1999. .
“Remember that in my speech to the press on April 18, 2022, I urged the FG to suspend the 2023 elections and propose a six-month interim government that will build a new construction for the country.
“I still stand by my suggestion that any election held under the 1999 Constitution cannot and will not produce new leaders with new ideas. Rather, any election held under the current Constitution of 199 will simply result in the recycling of the very people who have driven Nigeria into extreme poverty, mass unemployment, underfunded education, insecurity and huge foreign debt. This is contrary to Section 14 (2) (b) of the Constitution which states that ‘the safety and welfare of the people shall be the purpose of government’.
He went further, saying: “I have no sympathy for any Nigerian who aspires to rule Nigeria in any capacity, be it as a legislator, governor or president. However, the fact is that the 1999 Constitution, to a large extent, is the root cause of the economic, social, political and religious problems of the country today.
“I insist that unless a new Constitution is established, similar to the good old Constitutions of 1960 and 1963, with the necessary amendments, none of the contenders, and indeed, no angel can save the country from total collapse.
“Our bitter experience since 1999 has taught us that we urgently need a new Constitution that must stipulate strict conditions regarding the age, academic qualifications, character and personality, as well as the family background of the candidates, especially for the presidency and National Assemblies”.
Babalola, who stated that Nigeria’s external debt had increased to N42.84 trillion as of June 30, 2022, while internal debt service increased to N5.24 trillion in the same period, said that any Nigerian aspiring to leading Nigeria should be concerned and concerned that the country owes so much.
As part of the immediate solutions, the huge indebtedness, the senior lawyer suggested that all Nigerian billionaires and trillionaires should make voluntary donations, through a Special Committee, to be established by the Federal Government, for immediate payment of all or part substantial part of the huge debt
“In addition, the government should emulate Obasanjo’s example by approaching creditors, either for full debt forgiveness or substantial debt reduction,” he said.