Without new constitution, Nigerians will elect failed leaders again in 2023 —Afe Babalola

FOUNDER of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), Aare Afe Babalola has revealed that the only way for citizens not to elect another set of failed leaders in the 2023 general election is for the country to have a new federal constitution. 

Babalola, who delivered a paper on Monday at the fifth Ife Institute of Advanced Studies, Summer Institute at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, noted that aside the new constitution, the country should turn to parliamentary system of government, which he said would be less expensive and ensure participation of more people. 

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) explained that a new constitution would give room for patriotic, selfless and committed leaders to emerge across board in 2023 and offer dividends of democracy to the people. 

While lamenting the expensive nature of the nation’s democracy with money playing a critical role on who emerges, the elder statesman said the new constitution should prevent people he described as “transactional businessmen” from contesting elections and also make provision for independent candidate to vie for elections. 

According to him, “Those who wish this country to remain an indivisible entity, and I am one, must unite to ensure that we replace the present 1999 Constitution with a truly federal constitution and a parliamentary system of government which is more involving and less expensive.” 

“It my considered view that a new constitution must be in place before the next election, otherwise we will be recycling the same failed leaders that have brought Nigeria to where it is today. 

“The proposed constitution will spell out the number of political parties and the percentage of women representation, among others. It will also discourage politics from being the most lucrative business in Nigeria. 

“The constitution must prevent transactional businessmen from contesting elections. 

“The constitution must make provision for independent candidates to contest and win elections.” On the legislative arm of government, Babalola argued that the nation does not need two houses for lawmaking, adding that, “the National Assembly shall consist of 60 per cent of Nigerians elected by professional bodies, including the NBA, NMA, NSE, Civil Society Organisations, NLC, ASUU, TUC and NANS, each of which will be allocated a particular percentage out of the 60 per cent to elect into the legislative houses. 

“The remaining 40 per cent shall be contested by all qualified voters. This way, we will have a parliament consisting of 60 per cent of elected members by professionals and opinion leaders whose election will not be affected with votes bought with as little as N5,000.”

 

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