National Assembly Receive Proposal To Change Nigeria Name To United African Republic

In what comes as a new development, the House of Representatives Committee on Constitution Review has received a proposal seeking for the change of Nigeria name. According to the proposal which was submitted by Adeleye Jokotoye, proposed for the name Nigeria to be changed to United African Republic with UAR for short.

The proposal was submitted to the committee at the South West Zonal Public Hearing in Lagos on Wednesday, June 2, 2021. On the need for the change, Adeleye Jokotoye explained that Nigeria current name was an imposition of its past colonial masters, hence it needs to be changed.

The tax consultant argued that if the name of the country is changed, it would physically and psychologically reflect a new beginning.

According to his words; “At this crossroads in our history, it is mandatory that we change our name to reflect a new beginning which will be ushered in with a new constitution.”

On why he chose the name United African Republic, Adeleye Jokotoye explained that Nigeria is made up of hundreds of ethnic groups that need to be united. In addition, Adeleye Jokotoye also suggested amendments to the constitution to reflect fiscal federalism, state or regional resources and taxation control, removal of immunity clause, and review of the Exclusive Legislative List.

Meanwhile, as soon as the new name for Nigeria made it to social media, Nigerians noted that changing the country’s name is not a way out of all the challenges bedeviling the country. Some insisted that changing the name is not relevant.

Meanwhile, with regards to the Constitution review, the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has said a national public hearing on the review of the 1999 Constitution will hold from Thursday, June 3 to Friday, June 4 in Abuja.

The Senate President disclosed this during plenary in a letter addressed to him by the Chairman of the Constitution Review Committee, Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege.

The Senate President Lawan stated that the two-day National Public Hearing on proposals to alter the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is scheduled to hold at the African Hall of the International Conference Centre in Abuja.

He also noted that the zonal public hearings held across the six geo-political zones of the country has been “quite successful”. He used the opportunity to call on Nigerians to attend the national public hearing commencing on Thursday and state their positions on issues that would improve the quality of governance.

The Senate President Lawan added; “Let me also congratulate the members of the Constitution Review Committee of the Senate, who had conducted the public hearings across the country. And in fact, the report we received has shown that in all the centers, the public hearings were quite successful.

“I want to also appeal to Nigerians to take the opportunity of the national public hearing that will start on Thursday. This is an effort that the National Assembly – particularly the Senate is attached to. We believe that we must do whatever is necessary to provide a platform for Nigerians to hear their views, give their positions and canvass for whatever they feel would make our country better, and make governance more efficient and successful.

“Like I said before, we have no pre-conceived positions on anything and, therefore, this is the time for our citizens to take the opportunity,” he stated.

It was earlier reported that the founder of Afe Babalola University of Ado Ekiti, Afe Babalola, has stated that the ongoing review of the 1999 constitution is a futile exercise. According to Afe Babalola who shared his thoughts in a statement, said he is doubtful that amending the constitution will be adequate enough to fully address Nigeria’s problems.

He however said instead of reviewing the 1999 constitution, the 1963 constitution should be worked on instead. The Senior Advocate of Nigeria said the root cause of the nation’s current problems is the 1999 constitution foisted on Nigeria by the military. Afe Babalola therefore suggested that the convocation of a national conference to accommodate all opinions on how to move the country forward.

According to his words; “Alternatively, since amendment in law includes substitution for an existing document, why is it that the national assembly cannot call for a Public Hearing on the substitution of the 1999 constitution for the 1963 constitution which was made with the consent of the people?

“Against the background of the massive demand by Nigerians at home and abroad for a true Federal constitution made by the people and for the people, the national assembly is calling for Public Hearing in the country’s six Geo-political Zones for people’s inputs on any issue of interest to enable it amend the 1999 constitution, but I have reservations on this.

He continued, “To me, the proposed amendment to the 1999 constitution by the national assembly: whichever way you look at it, is a futile exercise.

“It is common knowledge that the 1999 constitution was made by the military which in its wisdom, claimed that it was made by the people. The truth is that there is no way the national assembly can amend the 1999 constitution to cure inherent defects in the 1999 constitution.

First, you cannot cure fraud. Second, it is impossible, by way of amendment, to take away the military system of government under the 1999 constitution or the power and control of public funds by the President.

“Or can we, by way of amendment, change the Judicial powers of the President under the 1999 constitution? The fact remains that you cannot amend a Coconut tree which has no branches to become an Iroko tree which has branches.

“It is a well-known fact that everything about the 1999 constitution is wound round the Presidential system of government. We all know that previous sessions of national assembly made laws to convene a national conference.

He called on the current national assembly to call for a national conference to discuss and make a new, true Federal constitution that will provide for a Parliamentary system of government.

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Austine Ikeru
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