By Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
Amending the constitution is not the solution to the developmental challenges facing the country, Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe has declared.
In a lecture he delivered at the weekend during the law week of the Abuja Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), the senator argued that what was required was for all Nigerians to subject themselves to rule of law.
According to him, no amount of amendments can stop sectional agitation in the country.
In the thought provoking lecture, Abaribe advised Nigerians to look back at history and see if amendments to constitution had really solved the country’s developmental challenges.
He said: “Prolific amendments of the constitution cannot by sheer prolixity, offer the needed civilised culture.
“It cannot guarantee national security any more than it can deepen confidence in government and democratic institutions.”
In his view, existing provisions of the constitution were adequate to drive and contain the required democratic culture.
He said: “Nigerians should begin to grow along the line of developing extra legal restraints in the exercise of their ambitions either as individuals or as a community.
“There is no level of amendment that can bring a constitution to exhaustively provide for every conceivable human circumstance.”
He said that a constitution should be amended only in extreme cases of need.
“For me such need will only arise when there is no other legal regime that can be relied upon to answer to that need,” he added.
He further argued that there were provisions in the constitution which allowed laws to be made to address any national issues not covered by the constitution.
While stressing that there would be no need to amend the constitution if everyone was willing to do the right thing, Abaribe said: “A responsible state administration would not wait for a constitutional amendment to allow a local government run its finances as allocated to it by the Federal Government.”