The Ondo State Governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, has said the 1963 Constitution remained the best legal document for a multi-ethnic society like Nigeria.
The governor, who said it would be okay for Nigeria to adopt the 1963 Constitution because it contained the principles of true federalism, added that the 1999 Constitution ought to have been discarded long time ago.
He said this on Wednesday while speaking at the opening of the zonal public hearing on the proposed review of the provision of the constitution, held in Akure.
He advised that the current review of the constitution should be taken seriously and should not be seen as jambore,saying the fundamental mistakes in the document should be corrected in order to place the country on the path of development.
He said, “The current attempt at constitution amendment should be taken beyond the usual jamboree conceived and executed to arrive at the predetermined result. This country has been experiencing constitution review since 1922 when the colonialists pretended to give a semblance of representation in our affairs.
“The 1946 Richard’s Constitution followed due to agitations of the people who clamoured for more representation. The Macpherson’s of 1951 and Lyttleton’s of 1954 followed the same pattern. The 1958 Conference held in London gave provenance to the Independence Constitution of 1960.
“The 1963 Constitution retained regionalism and upheld the principle of autochthony, an organic development of the law using local experiences.
“The republican status of the country was reflected. Each region had considerable latitude to blossom at her own pace. There was devolution of powers in the true sense of the term.
“This was the period when even outsiders noticed the potential greatness of the nascent post-colonial country. The major provisions which allowed the three regions which existed before independence were retained in the 1963 Constitution. That remains the best document for a country as heterogeneous as Nigeria.
“It was the best practicable guide towards nationhood. Unfortunately, the military coup of 1966 destroyed that when it abolished regionalism and created the so-called provinces while imposing a unitary system on the country.
It must not be oppressive of the minorities. Its provisions must indeed give teeth to the primary purpose for which the government exists. No provision of the law must not be justiciable as Chapter Two of the current 1999 Constitution seeks to impress on us.
“All the agitations of the peoples of this country must be looked into with a view to improving the economic power of the average citizens. The best way possible is to allow each region flower in its areas of comparative advantage.”
The Chairman, the Senate Ad-hoc Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, was represented at the meeting by Senator Ajayi Boroffice
He said, “No doubt, we are going to have diverse and differing views on the different themes of the exercise. However, the focus for this Committee is how to manage the review exercise in a fair, inclusive, credible, and transparent manner.”