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Nwabueze Ugwu: Most Of Nigeria’s Issues Were Taken Care Of By 2014 Confab Report

Nwabueze Ugwu says those involved in producing the 2014 confab report took into consideration everything that makes up Nigeria.

In 2014, a confab report was produced by a national conference, aiming to enshrine the rights of the multitude of ethnic groups in a new constitution and to devolve resources and power from the center, to the regions.

Although, over the past decade, that report has been reportedly ignored, there are now growing calls for the government of president Tinubu to implement that 2014 national conference report.

On Wednesday, constitutional lawyer and former member of the Enugu state house of assembly, Nwabueze Ugwu joined an interview with ARISE NEWS, to discuss reasons why the 2014 constitutional conference report should be adopted and how to go about its adoption.

Ugwu said his reason for wanting the nation to adopt the 2014 report is because the report considered all aspects contributing to Nigeria’s makeup and comprehensively addressed all the concerns of our nation.

He also added that contrary to the 1999 constitution which was handed to the country by the military, the report was crafted by Nigerians themselves, providing a sense of inclusivity and satisfaction to all stakeholders involved.

“If you take your mind back to 2014 when that conference was convoked, you will remember that 494 Nigerians of various walks of life were brought together to confer and bring out that report which later was referred to as 2014 confab report.

“If you now look at the constitution,1999, you will remember that it was the military that handed over that constitution to us. There was a shadow legislature, the armed forces ruling council, but then the person that was in charge, was the head of state, Abacha at that time. Well, it was Abdul Salami finally, that brought that constitution, that hammered it together. Now this is an individual, at the worst there was a committee that he formed, which committee you can be sure was not more than 30-40 persons. But you now look at 494 human beings that represented every strata of the Nigerian system, every state, every local government, every shade of opinion, every governmental and non governmental organization was fully represented and they took into consideration everything that came to make up what is called Nigeria today.

“All our worries were brought into focus during that conference. And the conferees at the end of the day, brought out what we now refer to as the 2014 confab report. So that report to a great extent answered the worries, the problems of the nation at that time and it was acceptable to everybody, everybody said at the end of the day, we’ll heave a sigh of relief and say we are pleased to have a constitution that has been given to us by Nigerians themselves.”

Speaking on how the report is likely to end the issues that really affect Nigerians negatively such as insecurity, ethnic antagonism, corruption, restructuring and credible elections, he assured that the report addressed the majority of our concerns. “Most of the issues we cry about today were taken care of by that report”, he said.

In addressing whether the issue in Nigeria is the laws we have or the politicians adhering to and governing in accordance with the law, he firmly opined that the issue is with the individuals who govern the nation, adding that we have laws that are credible and answer all our problems as a nation.

“I’ve continued to say and I repeat it, I mean every word of it that the problem we have in Nigeria is not a death of laws but a death of the implementation of the laws.

“We have laws to take care of everything that we need to do in life. They are complete, they’re sufficient, they are credible and they answer every problem that we have. The problem we have is that we have refused to implement these things. The problem in Nigeria is that when laws are implemented, the people that implement these laws implement the laws in order to suit their pocket, to suit their interests. They do not implement the laws in order to achieve the letters and intent of the law to at least be able to say that this is what the drafters of the law wanted to do.”

The lawyer also gave his opinion on what should be done to translate the 2014 conference report into a legal document, highlighting that in the process of translating and adopting the report, Nigerians need to be involved, so that an agreeable concensus by all parties can be reached.

“The only way we can do it is by bringing that 2014 confab report, dust it and bring out all the contents of it, set up a panel, mostly lawyers and few other persons that will come together and translate the 2014 confab report into a workable legal document that will now become the constitution, because you have to translate it. It’s not written in legal language. It’s not written in the form of a constitution, so you need to translate it to the form of a constitution. You need to empanel a committee to do so.

“I agree that between the last 10 years, 2014 to 2024, there may have been some certain things that have changed in Nigeria. Certain aspects of that confab report may no longer be possible in this country today, so those few grey areas, you can bring them out, throw them open to the public and Nigerians will make comments on it. You can also organize town hall meetings and the Nigerians will make their comments about it. We come to a position that will be acceptable to everybody and we now have a constitution, a working document which will still be enacted the way every other law is enacted.”

Melissa Enoch

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