The Nigerian Constitution in 1960 Essay

1432 Words Dec 30th, 2010 6 Pages
The Nigerian Constitution in 1960
There appears to be a consensus among the rulers of Nigeria that the country's Constitution needs review. The review is, in fact, going on and there is not much I can do about that. However, if given the balance of power in the country, a review is the only constitutional development possible at this stage, I would then pay attention to the general character and form of the Constitution rather than its specific contents, which ñ with regards to the power and welfare of the common people no mere review can change appreciably. I am therefore limiting myself to the general features of the present Constitution. But let me first make some clarifications. The Constitution of a sovereign state is, in essence,
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It would appear, therefore, that major revolutions with definitive conclusions produce concise constitutions and that compromises and uneasy alliances produce verbose constitutions. The type and degree of verbosity depend on the type of compromise. The Nigerian Constitution, one of the most voluminous in the world, depicts a particularly bad type of wordiness: it is, in many parts, vacuous. I shall return to this. One other explanation for the verbosity of the Nigerian Constitution is that it is a document by which, in my opinion, the authors did not intend to be guided. It could therefore contain all views and opinions in any form of juxtaposition. My suggestion to Nigerian rulers is that the volume of the present Nigerian Constitution can be reduced by 80 per cent without losing anything.
Another prominent feature of the Nigerian Constitution is its tediousness. It is one of the most difficult documents I have ever read. It is not simply that the document is bulky, the sections too long, and the sentences often too complicated. It is that at the end of it all, even a well-educated person finds it difficult to determine what the Constitution is saying in several places. The explanation often provided, namely, that the Constitution is a legal document whose language necessarily has to be legal and technical ñ providing the task of interpretation to legal experts, lawyers and the courts is an attempt at mystification. If a

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