National Political Reform Dialogue: My Observations


Sani Ibrahim Taura



Just like the current political reform conference, National conference in Nigeria has been adopted with the sole aim of addressing multifaceted problems confronting the country.


In 1958, for instance, 106 Nigerian delegates attended a conference in the city of London that took a very hard look at what was then the Nigerian federation and opted for independence. Thereafter, there were the constituent Assemblies of 1979, 1989, and 1994/95 in Nigeria.



However, of recent, the agitation for a national conference, and later the Sovereign National conference (SNC) is sought from a section of the country where the call is seen to be hysteric and pronounced. The South-west were seen to have a vanguard led by Prof. Wole Soyinka and co, going by their opinions that the call is necessary since Nigeria runs the risk of becoming just a passage in history. In short, their argument was, given the near-collapse of the Nigerian project, under the military and the history of the instability in the polity, coupled with the hostile relationship among the desperate ethnic nationalities in the country Nigerians need to deliberate on the future of the expiring un ion. They therefore advocated for the SNC.


What they had wanted for the SNC was a broader representation of the broad framework of a national group or their linguistic expressions that can produce a broad based constitutional frame work under which the mood of the nation would be captured and duly reflected in establishing a government with sound political legitimacy, particularly as the various provisions of the 1999 constitution are inconsistent with the practice of federalism.


The current NPRC therefore seems to have been piloted by the present Olusegun Obasanjo Regime to address a national question aforesaid. The question that can readily come to all discerning minds is: is the current NPRC aimed at constitutional review? This answer therefore brings in to question the moral and legal justification of the dialogue by the discerning observers.


But what is at stake is that for the fact that it clashes with legislative duties as provided under section 9 of the 1999 constitution, the constitution it self is a military breed so incoherent and incomprehensive enough to address the multifaceted  national problems affecting the country. The hitherto inaugurated Presidential committees on constitutional review (PCRC) that ought to have addressed the issue was superseded by the present NPRC based on their on their recommendations.


My submission here is that: there is urgent and rightful need to make an avenue for a constitutional review that can address the multifaceted problems bedeviling the nation.  The NPRC to my observations should look in to the following:-


  • Governors’ incessant trip to foreign nations was observed by technocrats to have been draining our Foreign Exchange earnings thereby fuelling inflation. This behaviour should be regulated in such away that it is undertaken for specific issues that will impact positively on our national development.

  • The supremacy of the constitution may not provide an enabling environment for some state laws to operate. The Shari’ a states provide for death penalties as well as other penalties that is inconsistence with the provision of the constitution.

  • Basic educational qualifications for candidates in an election recognized by the constitution may not go down well with some educationally disadvantaged states, with candidates at the grassroots level unable to meet. A flexible autonomy at the LG A on state basis my save some states with few literates.

  • Legislators reelection mandate be regulated.  There seems to be perpetual legislators within the system.

  • Funding of judiciary and legislative arms at both state and federal level to be independent for instant at a particular dedicated account or so may curtail executive manipulation.

  • Economic under other financial crimes commission should be strengthened and decentralized to states to continue with their good work of checking corruption.

  • An incessant grazing reserve trespassing had made farmers/ Fulani clash a recurrent decimal in the country. The existing legislation should be empowered in order to checkmate any collaborative traditional ruler, politician or any other influential persons who encroach or sell any grazing reserve or cattle route.

  •  Press freedom is over exercised, regulations ought to be made to curtail a situation whereby character assassination by the press would be reduced to the bearest minimum .The press freedom law should have a provision that can take care of armchair journalism.

  • Ex-military/ civilian presidents and governors should not be recycled, however ex-governors may contest for higher post like that of senate or president.

  • State and local government joint account has been accessibly manipulated and abused to an extent that projects made by the accounts are not duly assessed/ differentiated, while some governor’s hijacked same. This vital source of financed can be regulated for healthier development.

  • The role of traditional rulers should be properly defined on security and other issues, they are the most effective vehicle in for grassroots mobilization in supporting government programmes.



Sani Ibrahim Taura


Jigawa State,