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Moghalu hails constitutional amendments, advocates true federalism



2019: Moghalu lists issues that has made Buhari lose goodwill among Nigerians

Amidst the ceaseless debate on the need for constitutional reform in the country, Kingsley Moghalu, a former presidential candidate, on Monday, saluted constitutional amendments Bills recently signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.

No fewer than sixteen constitutional amendments Bills, including the one that guaranteed the financial autonomy of State Houses of Assembly and Judicuary, were signed into law, while a number of others were rejected by the President.

However, the National Assembly had resolved to re-engage the President regarding the reasons for the rejection of those Bills.

Moghalu, who tweeted in reaction to that, encouraged state governments to take advantage of the development.

The former CBN deputy boss, however, shared reservations regarding the viability of only constitutional amendments to redeem the country.

Nigeria, according to Moghalu, should have new constitution that is reflective of the wishes of Nigerians and have the tendency to repair their broken trust in the country.

He also advocated true federalism where the sub-nationals will have the opportunity to create local governments for efficiency, urging the incoming administration to look into the issue of nation-building.

The tweets read: “The constitutional amendments just signed into law by President @MBuhari offer a hopeful example of the benefits of constitutional #restructuring of Nigeria, of which I have been a strong and unapologetic advocate. Giving states powers to establish railways and to generate, transmit/distribute electricity will help the economy of our country greatly.

“I hope states can smartly take advantage of this salutary development. But this is only a beginning really. At issue: should we negotiate a completely new constitution for Nigeria agreed by its peoples?

“I think we should, because that is what will best repair the broken trust between Nigerians, and between them and the Nigerian state as a construct. #ToBuildaNation where peace and Justice will reign, the agreement of its constituent parts and ethnic nationalities is essential.

Read also:Cashless policy not meant to abolish cash transactions –Moghalu to CBN

“Besides, the 1999 Constitution has so many flaws. Constitutional amendments may not overcome these foundational flaws. It’s of course possible to “panel beat” Nigeria with a series of constitutional amendments.

“The United States took this approach,but it worked because the basics of a clear philosophical worldview already existed in its founding documents on the basis of their Union. Second, should a real federalism be established on the basis of regions (e.g. today’s six political zones or 8, 10 or 12) or on the basis of the current states?

“Without prejudice to the arguments for and the “reality” of our current state structure (but reality is what you create, it can be changed), I favor a regional approach. This is mainly for the economic advantage of improved economies of scale that regions will provide, versus the several states today that are fiscally unviable.

“Third, should local governments be federating units? Again, open to argument and discussion, but the fact is that real federalism envisages only two levels of constitutional entities – the central government and sub-national, whether regions or states.

“The sub-national level then creates local governments. Virtually all federations in the world are based on this principle. The notable, unique exception is India, where local government is a third tier of government.

“The next administration from May 29 must make this matter of nation-building via constitutional reform (alongside competent AND inclusive governance), even based on the present constitution, its number one priority.”

By Ambali Abdulkabeer

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