Reps reject 1963 Constitution as outdated, insist on 1999 document

Nigeria Politics

The House of Representatives on Sunday ruled out the re-enactment of the 1963 Constitution as demanded by some people in the country.

The Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Benjamin Kalu, who addressed journalists on the matter in Abuja, said there is no going back on the review of the 1999 Constitution despite opposition by Nigerians.

Kalu described the 1963 Constitution also known as the Republican Constitution as an imperfect document with certain demerits.

According to him, the Constitution is archaic and has lost its merits when applied to the current realities in the country.

The House spokesman said: “In the opinion of many in the country, the 1963 Constitution represented the basic understanding and agreement upon which Nigeria’s various ethnicities and regions came together to form the federation called Nigeria shortly after independence.

“Despite the merits of the 1963 Constitution, Nigerians must acknowledge that law is made for man and not man for the law. The 1963 Constitution was ideal for a Nigeria that had just attained its independence and was still asserting its sovereignty and freedom from British colonial influence.

“Our country, and indeed the world, has evolved from the prevailing circumstances of 58 years ago and as such, we must focus on improving the current constitution rather than adopting a six-decade-old constitution.

“We must also acknowledge the fact that the 1963 Constitution was an imperfect document that had certain demerits.

“Rather than replacing the 1999 Constitution with an archaic one, I am strongly of the opinion that a comparative analysis of the merits and demerits of both constitutions must be had in order to adopt that which worked from 1963 and expunge that which does not work in the current constitution.

“While the calls for a total constitutional overhaul are valid and understandable, we must acknowledge that the situation in Nigeria demands a quick review of the constitution as opposed to a total overhaul, for want of time.”

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