An environmental and human rights activist, Ann-Kio Briggs says Nigeria’s members of the Senate and the House of Representatives do not have the legitimate rights to disagree with the electorate that voted them into power.
The Founder and Executive Director of the Agape Birthrights, a non-governmental organisation also revealed that a change of 1999 Constitution is the last resort of Nigeria as a country.
She posited that the disturbing avalanche of Nigeria’s problems cannot be solved with the current constitution, therefore the federal lawmakers must facilitate the processes of changing the document.
Briggs, Monday, said this while speaking as one of the panelists at the #TheFixPolitics/Dialogue virtual conference focusing on ‘The 1999 Constitution: To change or amend.’
“We need a new constitution, that bears in mind the interests of the people. It is the right of the people and the electorate to tell the National Assembly members of what they want about the constitution, which the majority have said they want a new constitution. They don’t have the right to disagree with their constituents,” Briggs said.
She also disclosed that the Nigerian people now have five major agitations which include the people that say there is a constitution, the people that say there is no constitution, the people that say the constitution should be amended, the people that say there should be restructuring and the people say there should be secession.
She, however, said that despite these five main debates, the country still has a great chance of being together if there is a change of constitution.
“A change of constitution is the last hope of staying together as different nationalities in Nigeria. I don’t believe we cannot stay and agree together as a country, but on being together, the new constitution is the document that will chart new principles for the people.
“The 1999 Constitution is no longer feasible. It is a wrong document that cannot deliver justice and equity. The current 1999 Constitution cannot address our socio-economic problems on a platter of justice and equity which is what all the people want,” the human rights activist asserted.
While speaking further, she gave an instance of the poll at the virtual gathering in which the participants voted for reforming the constitution or replacing constitution, which the result was 27.2% for reform and 72.8% was for replacement.
“Look at what I’m saying now, we just had a poll in this virtual hall and everybody had participated, as you can see the result being shared, the majority of us want a new constitution. Democracy should not be for one person or for a few cliques of people, it is for the majority of people.
“The 1999 Constitution has not worked, is not working and cannot work. My take from here is a new constitution. The next phase of Nigeria is dependent on what we do about our constitution,” Briggs said.