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Aare Afe Babalola (SAN), The founder, Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, has on Wednesday said the 1999 constitution was responsible for the myriad of problems plaguing the country, saying the legal framework was antithetical to socio-economic growth and development.

The legal luminary, who spoke in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, added that the constitution was a major obstacle to the country’s unity, stability and progress, while noting that only a transactional and not the best-qualified leaders could win the presidential election under the defective constitutional arrangement.

He emphasized that it is only through an organic federal constitution that credible and transformational leader can emerge as well as a true Nigeria evisaged by the founding fathers.

He said: “On April 18, 2022, I urged the Federal Government to suspend the 2023 general elections and to raise an interim government of six months that will fashion out a new Constitution for the country.

“I still stand by my suggestion that any election conducted under the 1999 Constitution cannot, and will not produce new leaders with new ideas.

“Any election conducted under the 1999 Constitution will merely result in recycling the same people who brought Nigeria to grinding poverty, mass unemployment, underfunded education, insecurity and huge external debts.

“I am an elder statesman, a SAN, the highest taxpayer in old Ondo State, the highest taxpayer in present Ekiti, owner of the best private university in Nigeria and many more.

“If I contest for political office today, I will fail, not because I am not qualified, but because the system will make me not to win.

“I have no sympathy for any Nigerian aspiring to rule Nigeria in any form, whether as a legislator, governor or president.

“The fact remains that the 1999 Constitution on a large scale is the root cause of economic, social, political and religious problems in the country today.

“Our experience since 1999 has taught us that we are in urgent need of a new Constitution.

“The new Constitution should provide for stringent conditions in respect of age, academic qualifications, character and personality, as well as family background of candidates, especially for the presidency and the National Assembly.

“So, unless a new Constitution similar to those of 1960 and 1963 Constitutions, with necessary amendments, is put in place, none of the aspirants, and indeed no angel can save Nigeria from total collapse,’’ he said.

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