Posted by News Express | 17 August 2021 | 337 times
By CHARLES IWUOHA
Stakeholders in the legal system have advocated institutionalisation of rule of law to ensure functionality of the Constitution and foster nation integration and peace.
They made the call in their presentations at the weekend at the Big Ideas Podium Conference organised by the African Heritage Institution (Afri-Heritage) in Enugu.
The conference was themed, “Reworking the Nigerian Constitution for National Transformation and Integration”.
In a keynote address, Mr. Justice Uhuegbu, the National President, Association for Good Governance in Nigeria, said that the rule of law was critical to the peace, social justice and integration of the country.
Uhuegbu, who is a constitutional lawyer and Executive Member of Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), said: “Without the rule of law, there is little that can be done in making the constitution supreme and effectively work for all.
“Rule of law, which entails the supremacy of the law (constitution), must take predominant space and be respected for institutions to independently work for the good people of our country.
“The law must be applicable to all, in all circumstances, no matter the personality or personalities involved in the issue, for us to get it right and engender lasting peace and progress for our people.”
Also speaking, Mr. Adeyemi Ajilo, Co-Founder of LegalHub Partnership, said that the constitution is working when the institutions of the state can stand independently to carry out their statutory mandate.
Ajilo, who is also the Executive Secretary of NBA Ikeja Branch, noted that the constitution as it stands has the capacity to engineer social cohesion, peace and prosperity if allowed to work by ensuring the rule of law.
He said: “The rule of law remains critical in the discourse of reworking the constitution for the benefit of all.
“It is only when we have the rule of law fully operational and embraced by all, we can then say that we have a constitution that can drive the needed change we deserve.”
Mr. Marvin Ibem, Publicity Secretary of NBA, Ikeja Branch, however, said that the constitution remained the greatest challenge of the country since it was not formulated by the people.
“We have to go back to the drawing board and redo the entire constitution to really get a document that our people can truly call our own,” he said.
Earlier, the Executive Director of Afri-Heritage, Prof. Ufo Okeke-Uzodike, said that the present 1999 Constitution is not bad as some people view it, but needed a rework for Nigerians to get the best out of it in terms of national transformation and integration.
“There is also the reality that there are some provisions of the constitution on critical issues – such as socio-political inclusion and good governance – that have remained sources of major conflicts plaguing the country,” he said.
The Afri-Heritage is a non-governmental socio-economic and political analytic and research-based institution on national and global issues.
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