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Former Osun gov, Akande, calls for NASS to replace 1999 Constitution with 1960 version



Veteran politician and former governor of Osun State, Chief Bisi Akande, has ignited a fresh round of debate about constitutional reform and restructuring with a provocative suggestion.

Ahead of his 85th birthday celebration on Saturday, Akande urged the National Assembly to abandon the 1999 constitution and embrace the 1960 version instead.

The former interim National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) believes adopting the 1960 constitution, drafted during Nigeria’s pre-independence period, would pave the way for restructuring the country without extensive deliberation. In his view, “to give nod to restructuring of the country does not require much other than dumping the 1999 constitution.”

Akande further claimed that the 1999 constitution “was not written by anybody,” suggesting its lack of legitimacy and suitability for present-day Nigeria.

He said, “I will prefer the 1960 constitution for Nigeria, it is the best! For example, in the 1960 constitution, if you are a member of the national and state assembly, you are a part time, you go to your work, politics wasn’t work then. Farmers go to the farm, lawyers go to their chambers, doctors go to their hospitals… and when it is time for meeting they go to meeting and they pay them a sitting allowance, everybody knows that they are doing it in the interest of the public.”

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Akande further lamented that the military changed the practice by introducing money and lavish spending into politics which are not helping the country.

He continued, “The military, because they wanted to stay permanently in power, they started using money to pay them (assembly) salary and everybody left their job to become a politician. You leave your job where you all belong, then you become a politician, you have nothing to do, nothing to produce, then you want to be materialistic. You become fake because you have departed from good things to bad.

“Until you retrace your steps back, you can’t have it well. If you are talking about restructuring, you don’t need much, throw away this present constitution which is not written by anybody and embrace 1960 constitution, look at present day realities to adjust it.”

His bold assertion throws open the often-contentious topic of constitutional reform, which has divided Nigerians for years. Proponents of a revised constitution advocate for a framework that better reflects the country’s current realities and addresses issues like federalism, resource allocation, and representation. They see the 1999 constitution as a product of military rule and incapable of adequately addressing these challenges.

Opponents of the 1960 constitution, however, point to its regional-based structure and argue that it could exacerbate ethnic and regional tensions. They believe the 1999 constitution, despite its flaws, offers a more balanced and adaptable framework for national unity.

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