By Chukwudi Nweje
Founder and Chancellor of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), Aare Afe Babalola, has said the way forward for Nigeria to remain an indivisible country is to adopt a brand new constitution founded on the principles of true federalism, with a parliamentary system of government and one chamber legislature before the 2023 general election.
He said the new constitution must also prioritise the multi-religious, multi-cultural, multi-linguistic nature of the country, in order to be more involving, even as a single chamber legislature would be less expensive to operate.
Babalola said this in a goodwill message he delivered at the university during the 5th Ife Institute of Advanced Studies, Summer Institute Programme, on Monday, where he was special guest of honour.
He said: “It is my considered view that a new constitution must be in place before the next election, otherwise we will be recycling the same failed leaders who have brought Nigeria to where it is today. The proposed constitution will spell out the number of political parties and percentage of women representation, among others. It will also enable knowledgeable, selfless, patriotic and non-tribalistic Nigerians to emerge as leaders and make governance less expensive.
“In addition, it will discourage politics from being the most lucrative business in Nigeria. In considering this new constitution, priority attention must be accorded to the multi-religious, multi-cultural, multi-linguistic nature of the country made up of over 400 ethnic groups speaking over 295 dialects. Particular attention must be paid to the issue of poverty, reduction of population by limiting the number of children per couple. This will prevent the present untoward situation where the offer of a mere N5,000 could induce poor Nigerians to vote against the dictates of their conscience.”
The senior lawyer also proposed the inclusion of specific clauses in the constitution to prevent those he described as ‘transactional leaders’ from getting into public offices, even as he said 60 percent of the membership of the unicameral parliament should consist of professional bodies, while the remaining 40 percent will be contested by Nigerians who met the constitutional requirement to contest for the office.