Restructuring: Going back to 1963 constitution unrealistic –Jega

As the debate over restructuring of the Nigeria continues, a former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, yesterday added his voice to the ongoing debate on restructuring the nation ahead of the 2023 election, insisting that it was impossible for the nation to return to 1963 constitution arrangement. Jega, who said any suggestion of going back to 1960 or 1963 constitution is unrealistic, stressed that there were lessons to learn from the 1963 constitution arrangement. Speaking on Arise Television Morning Show yesterday, Jega argued that the democratic arrangement of present Nigeria was certainly different from the arrangement in 1963.

He said: “I am one of those who think that history teaches us lessons but in order to make progress we need not to go against history. So I think any suggestion as to going back to 1960 or 1963 constitution really is a dream because it is unrealistic.

“There are a lot of lessons we can learn and certainly if we review that history of the past we could see that the democratic arrangement in Nigeria was better managed than it is currently. “So, the lesson is how we can ensure that we introduce substantive reforms of restructuring that can ensure that we manage our diversity much better than those who operated under the 1960 and 1963 constitutions were able to do.

“The idea of let’s go back to what it was in 1963, I think it is unrealistic but there are lessons we can learn from that which we can combine with the best practices of the management of diversity in other federal systems in the world. “And that is for me the way forward in terms of how we can improve our present federal arrangement and make it more equitable and be able to generate a sense of belonging for all Nigerians as a citizen of a country that has verse potentials for progress and development,” he said.

The former INEC boss identified the issue of equity and unity in diversity as one of the lessons to learn from the 1960 and 1963 constitutions arrangements. He added: “The key lesson is that we have to ensure equity and we have to strive to ensure unity in diversity.

Sub-national governments need to have relative autonomy in the way in which they generate their resources and in the way in which they manage their resources. “And obviously there are lessons to learn from the way in which resources are generated and are shared in the first republic. And those lessons need to be factored into the way we move forward in improving our own federal system.”


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