General Ibrahim Babangida came to power through a military coup (popularly known as a palace coup) on 27 august 1985 after he had successfully removed General Mohammed Buhari, who took over power on 31st December, 1983.
It was for a transition to civil rule programme by his government that the 1989 Constitution was initiated with a Constitution review committee, the constituent Assembly as well as political Bureau. 17 members constituted the political bureau established on the. 13th of January, 1986. This body wrote a report for the Constitution Review Committee (CRC) after going through the views of Nigerians about the country’s political future, their feelings and aspirations.
On 7 September, 1987, 46 members of CRC was constituted to use the findings of the political bureau as a basis for reviewing the 1963 and 1979 First and Second republic constitutions respectively. The CRC produced a constitution after examination was carried out by the constituent assembly established on 11 May, 1988 with a membership of 452. The report was submitted to the administration of Babangida, with some amendments and later promulgated into law with a decree backing it up.
FEATURES OF 1989 REPUBLICAN CONSTITUTION
- Presidential System of Government: The 1989 Republican constitution retained the 1979 presidential system of government.
- Two-party system: The constitution adopted a two – party system of government.
- Legislative houses: Law makers in the country’s legislative houses were to be on part-time with sitting allowances.
- Federal capital: Abuja, the new Federal Capital would not have the status of a state.
- Independence of Judiciary: provision was made for the entrenchment of the independence of the judiciary in the constitution.
- Fundamental human rights: this was also entrenched in the in the constitution.
- Citizenship: By registration, by birth and naturalization was defined accordingly.
- Process of recall: the electorate could recall any law-maker that no longer had the trust and confidence of the people.
- Adoption of school certificate: this was adopted as the minimum qualification for the offices of the president, governors and law-makers of legislators.
- 10. Compilation of election results: provision was made for a rounding off of fractions to a whole number arising from final compilation of election results/votes.
MERITS OF 1989 REPUBLICAN CONSTITUTION
- Quick decision: voters have the opportunity of making quick or better decision since two-party system was involved.
- Political Offices: the adoption of a secondary school certificate as the minimum qualification for eligibility for participation in politics and in seeking political offices has succeeded in preventing illiterates from seeking such offices.
- Cost – saving: placing law makers on part-time with sitting allowances made the system cost-saving.
- Fundamental human right: this was entrenched in the constitution.
- Hard-work: the process of recall of law-makers by the people was meant to promote hard work on the part of the legislators.
DEMERITS OF 1989 REPUBLICAN CONSTITUTION
- Ineffective law – making: law-makers are placed on part-time and allowances, and therefore could hardly concentrate on effective law-making, since their attention was divided.
2. Two-party-system: the politicians and the elaborate were restricted to only two parties. Thus limiting the people’s choice. Multi-party system makes for a wider choice.