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Clarke | The Guardian Nigeria News - Nigeria and World News asserts that the 1963 constitution is the best one for Nigeria


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    A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chief Robert Clarke, has said that the country would continue to struggle in her socio-political problems until the 1999 constitution, which lacks certain elements of federalism, is changed.

    He said the best constitution for Nigeria is the 1963 constitution.

    He suggested that if a committee could be set up to look into the 1963 constitution and tinker with it in the light of modern development, most of Nigeria’s problems would be solved automatically.

    Clarke said the 1999 Constitution has vested so much power on the president and governors, such that no one could hold them responsible for any misconduct or mismanagement of public funds, while they are still in office.

    “We call ourselves a federal republic, but is there any element in the Constitution that makes it a federal republic? Every month, all the governors of the 36 states go to Abuja to collect stipends, and if the federal government gave them, for instance, the ecological funds and they decide to divert it for personal reasons, nobody may know because the funds are not appropriated.

    “The Constitution in Section 5, aided this abnormality. For instance, it vested so much power on both the executive president and the executive governors.

    “Until a committee is set up to look at the 1963 Constitution in the light of our modern development, the country may remain with current problems for a long time to come.

    “The cost of governance is too much. We don’t need more than four or five regions with one House of Assembly because that is where all the money goes,” he declared.

    Clarke stated this during a celebration of his 85th birthday and merger of two legal Chambers: Chief Robert Clarke (SAN) and Ade Oshodi Partners, as a single firm in Lagos.

    He explained that federalism still remains the best option because Nigeria’s diversity is complex and corruption is the worst enemy of the people.

    “There is a need to look at the Constitution as it pertains to appointment of judges. Today, if you are not a friend of the governor, you may not be appointed as a judge because the Constitution has vested governors with the power to appoint judges,” he pointed out.

    Also speaking at the occasion, Oshodi, who expressed his commitment to the legacy and legal journey bequeathed to him by Clarke, said the judiciary would soon get over its current challenges, adding that it still remains the last hope of the common man.

    Present at the event were Justices Candide Johnson (rtd), Oyekan Abdullai (rtd); Segun Fabunmi (SAN); former Attorney General of Lagos state, Adeniji Kazeem (SAN); Dr. Basheer Oshodi; Rilwan Dawodu; Lawal Pedro (SAN) and others.

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