Ozigbo Speaks on Democracy Day Demands 21st Century Constitution

By Jude Atupulazi

Valentine Ozigbo, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) frontrunner ahead of the November 6, 2021 governorship election in Anambra State, has congratulated Nigerians worldwide as the country marked its 21st Democracy Day, June 12.

In a Democracy Day statement issued from his campaign office in Awka on Saturday, June 12, 2021, Ozigbo, who said Nigeria was currently going through a period of uncertainty and turbulence, called for urgent intervention to save the country’s democracy and set her back on the path to peace by creating what he called an authentic constitution.

His words, ‘I believe it is now a perfect time for all Nigerian patriots to come together and create an authentic constitution for the people, by the people, and of the people.”

‘While our National Assembly has begun the process of a constitutional amendment, we cannot ignore the agitations from influential quarters across the country demanding a brand new constitution.

‘One of the pitfalls we must avoid in charting a new path for Nigeria is to be so hasty in doing away with what no longer serves us without giving careful thought to its replacement.

‘Unfortunately, romanticising about our past is a national habit we have acquired, and, at times, it has led us down the wrong path.

‘I do not believe that the 1999 constitution, a modification of a 1963 document approved for Nigeria by the British colonial masters, will adequately meet the needs of the 21st Century. We have to be surgical in our approach.

‘We have to consider the evolution of our country. We must realise that the Nigeria of 1960 is not the same country of 2021. A lot of water has passed under the bridge.

‘We have experienced a civil war and some of the most brutal military regimes, ethnic cleansing, and genocidal episodes. Our fault lines have been watered by decades of injustice, marginalisation, extremism, corruption, and intolerance.’

Ozigbo said the country should focus on creating a more just and inclusive society that would worked for all Nigerians, devoid of the system, he said, which left many excluded and disenfranchised.

‘We must expand the political space to include more women and youth participation. We must create a society where the fundamental human rights of all Nigerians are guaranteed and enforced without favour,’ he said, while regretting what he described as the many tragedies in the country’s history and inexcusable missed opportunities.

Calling for a review of the leadership recruitment process, Ozigbo said Nigeria was a country that told the story of enormous promise and unimaginable tragedy all at once.

‘While we can boast of numerous bright spots; the most being our tremendous human talent and capital, we also have tales of inexcusable missed opportunities.

‘It is a settled fact that a significant part of the dysfunction in Nigeria is a direct consequence of failed leadership.

‘Since everything rises and falls on leadership, as John Maxwell preaches, it is, therefore, crucial that we look into the leadership recruitment process. The system of government matters, just as much as the process through which our leaders emerge,’ Ozigbo submitted.

The immediate past president and group chief executive officer of Transcorp, said this was a perfect time for the country to reset its destiny by creating a brand new constitution that would be inclusive and dynamic.