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How To Amend Nigeria Constitution

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How to Amend Nigeria Constitution: A Comprehensive Guide

The Nigerian constitution is the supreme law of the land. It defines the basic structure of the country's political system and sets out the fundamental rights and obligations of its citizens. Over the years, there have been calls for amendments to the constitution to reflect the changing political, economic, and social landscape of the country. In this article, we will discuss the process of amending the Nigerian constitution, the challenges involved, and the prospects for success.

Understanding the Nigerian Constitution

The Nigerian constitution came into effect on October 1, 1999, following the end of military rule and the restoration of democratic governance. It is divided into several parts, including the preamble, fundamental human rights, the structure of the federal government, and the powers and functions of the various arms of government. The constitution also outlines the process of amending its provisions.

The Process of Amending the Nigerian Constitution

The Nigerian constitution can be amended through the National Assembly, which is made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Constitution Alteration Bill must be passed by a two-thirds majority of each house of the National Assembly. After the bill has been passed by both houses, it must be sent to the President for assent. If the President assents to the bill, then it becomes law.

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However, there is a caveat to this process. The Constitution Alteration Bill must be approved by at least two-thirds of the State Houses of Assembly in Nigeria. This is a major hurdle that has proven difficult to overcome, as many of the state assemblies have shown reluctance to support constitutional amendments that do not directly benefit their state. This has been a major challenge to the amendment process in Nigeria, as it requires a high degree of consensus and collaboration between the federal and state governments.

The Challenges of Amending the Nigerian Constitution

The process of amending the Nigerian constitution is not without its challenges. One of the major challenges is the lack of political will on the part of the National Assembly and the state assemblies to support constitutional amendments that may not be in their immediate interest. This has led to a delay in the amendment process, with some amendments taking years to be passed.

Another challenge is the lack of public participation in the amendment process. Many Nigerians feel that they have little or no say in the constitutional amendment process, which makes them feel disconnected from the democratic process. This has led to a lack of trust in the government and the political system, which is a major impediment to the success of any constitutional amendment.

Prospects for Success

Despite these challenges, there is still hope for the successful amendment of the Nigerian constitution. The current administration has shown a willingness to tackle the issue head-on, with the establishment of a Constitution Review Committee to oversee the process of constitutional amendment. This committee has been tasked with the responsibility of collating public opinions and proposing amendments that are in the best interest of the country.

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There is also growing public awareness of the importance of constitutional amendments in shaping the future of the country. Civil society organizations and advocacy groups have been mobilizing citizens to participate in the constitutional amendment process, and this has led to increased public participation in the process.

Conclusion

The amendment of the Nigerian constitution is a complex and challenging process, but it is necessary if the country is to move forward and meet the challenges of the 21st century. The process requires collaboration between the federal and state governments, as well as the active participation of citizens. With political will and public support, Nigeria can successfully amend its constitution and build a stronger, more democratic society.

FAQs

  1. What is the Nigerian constitution?
    The Nigerian constitution is the supreme law of the land that defines the basic structure of the country's political system and sets out the fundamental rights and obligations of its citizens.

  2. How can the Nigerian constitution be amended?
    The Nigerian constitution can be amended through the National Assembly, which is made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Constitution Alteration Bill must be passed by a two-thirds majority of each house of the National Assembly.

  3. What is the role of the state assemblies in amending the Nigerian constitution?
    The Constitution Alteration Bill must be approved by at least two-thirds of the State Houses of Assembly in Nigeria.

  4. What are the challenges of amending the Nigerian constitution?
    The challenges of amending the Nigerian constitution include lack of political will, lack of public participation, and reluctance of state assemblies to support amendments.

  5. Is there hope for the successful amendment of the Nigerian constitution?
    Yes, there is hope for the successful amendment of the Nigerian constitution, with political will, public support, and growing awareness of the importance of constitutional amendments in shaping the future of the country.

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