The Patriots met with President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja.
One of Nigeria’s most senior lawyers, Ben Nwabueze, has advised President Goodluck Jonathan to shelve his ambition for 2015 and focus on transforming the country.
This he said would make the President go down in history as a hero.
Mr. Nwabueze,an octogenarian Professor of Constitutional Law, stated his while fielding questions from journalists at the Presidential Villa after leading a group, “The Patriot” on a courtesy visit to Mr. Jonathan to submit their memorandum for transforming the nation through a national conference.
“I still believe … that you cannot combine national transformation with contesting election. The two are so different, because once you get involved in the elections campaigns you undermine your authority to lead the nation for national transformation and I said if I were the President of Nigeria that I would restrict myself in serving the nation, in transforming this country in creating a new Nigeria in creating a new society that would be my concern and I would go down in history as a hero.
“So if Mr President does that he would become an instant hero to this country, but it is for him to chose, if I were him, I would choose to become a hero to lead the country into transformation and abandon the ambition of a second term, that is what I said and I still stand by it and that is what I would do if I were the President of the country, but unfortunately, I’m not,” he said.
He maintained that though the president was eligible to contest, it was his choice to do so.
Though Mr. Jonathan has not officially declared he would seek a second term in office in 2015, many of his aides and political associates have already started campaigns for him. The president had cautioned that it was too early to start campaigning for an election that is still two years away and he would prefer to concentrate on delivering on the mandate given him by Nigerians in 2011.
Mr. Nwabueze also urged the president to support the production of a new constitution that truly derives its authority directly from the people of Nigeria.
“It is important that the National Assembly is putting forward that their powers under Sections 8 and 9 is to alter the constitution; power to alter is not as important as to power to abolish what you are altering and to replace it completely. And we said no; this country, we need the people’s constitution whose source of authority derives directly from the people, forget about the contents, we will talk about the contents later, presidential, parliamentary and all that. Though important, but they are not as important as the source, where does this supreme law derive its authorities?
“It must be directly from the people and that is the position of at least 85 per cent of the countries of the world. So we examined this and we said this a bogey, there is no problem, don’t confine yourselves to Sections 8 and 9, because the 1999 constitution is a schedule to Decree 24, if you read Section 1(1) of the Decree there are all preambles to that Decree and the 1999 constitution that you are talking about is a schedule to Decree 24.
“Repeal the Decree and the constitution will disappear and you enact a brand new constitution which would derive its authorities from the people, that was what was done in 1963, when we adopted the Republican Constitution to replace the Independent Constitution.
“That 1960 Constitution was also a schedule to British Order-In -Council just as the 1999 Constitution is a schedule to the Decree 24. In 1963, we abolished the schedule under Section 2 of the Order-in-Council and made a new constitution called the Republican constitution. That is what we should do now, abolish the schedule and relieve yourself entirely free to make the people’s constitution,” he said.
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