International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Democratising and Legitimising Constitution Making in Nigeria: A Focus on the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria
Akindiyo Oladiran

It is globally acknowledged that every state deserves a constitution especially with the new democratic wave. Constitution is a sacred document which regulates state’s affairs to achieving a fair, just and egalitarian society. By the same token, the process of making or reviewing a constitution should be a nation’s moment of truth when fundamental questions affecting it are confronted head-on and resolved. subsequently, it should be seen as a social contract freely entered into with utmost confidence and abiding faith built into it. However, in Nigeria, inspite of the approaches to constitution making in the colonial and post colonial years, the various constitutions have not emanated from the full involvement of the Nigerian people. It has been dogged by controversies and contentions from civil society. This paper argues that constitution making and to a very large extent review is bereft of democratic ethos and lacks legitimacy in the eyes of the people. A strand of the work centres on why constitution lacks legitimacy in Nigeria. It equally takes a look at the history of constitution making. The work highlights some of the contentious issues in the 1999 constitution having chronicled the background to its making. The work concludes by suggesting the major ingredients needed for democratizing and legitimising constitution making.

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