LAGOS â€” AMID calls for a review of the 1999 Constitution, a group made up of some leaders of the National Democratic Coalition, NADECO, has rejected the document and demanded in its place a regional constitution.
The group which came under the name â€˜Change Nigeriaâ€™ (CN), made the call yesterday at the Airport Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos, also cautioned against conducting future elections with the 1999 Constitution.
Prominent members of the group in attendance at the hotel included Lt. Gen. Alani Akinrinade (rtd), Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu (rtd), Chief Solomon Asemota (SAN) and Mr. Fred Agbeyegbe who delivered an address on behalf of the group.
Also in attendance were chairman of Afenifere Renewal Group, Wale Oshun, National President of Arewa Youths Consultative Forum, Alhaji Yerima Shettima who were co-signatories to the address and former governorship candidate of the Democratic Peoples Alliance, DPA, in Lagos State, Mr. Jimi Agbaje.
Making its call for regional constitution, the group said: â€œEthnic nationalities are hereby enjoined to begin to organise themselves towards fashioning out their Regional Constitutions preparatory to a Sovereign Meeting to work out a Federal Constitutionâ€.
According to them: â€œthe conduct of any further national elections under the 1999 Constitution is further propagation of illegitimacy.
â€œTherefore, we demand that before any further national elections, a sovereign national conference must be convened as the first step towards the institution of a process that would put in place a truly peoples constitutionâ€.
They cautioned that: â€œfailure to immediately initiate a process by which a fresh constitution is negotiated could spell doom for Nigeria as already predicted.
â€œTherefore, all those, no matter their ethnic nationalities, no matter their political colouration, who contributed in one way or the other to the destruction of this country should be prepared to take responsibility for their actionsâ€.
While insisting on a meeting of the ethnic nationalities in the country to fashion a new federal constitution, the group said: â€œThe key is to sit down and agree and in the case of Nigeria, it is only in that light that we can understand that seemingly innocuous phrase: â€˜we the people of Nigeria…â€™ which has continued to plague our so-called Constitution-making with its worst manifestation in the 1999 Constitution.
â€œBehold, that phrase is the architectural design for meting out to you and I, a fate tending to something worse than slavery, worse than the apartheid segregation system; it is the foundation for stealing and denying us the sovereignties which we inherited from our forebears and our virtual exclusion from legitimate participation in our own affairs.
â€œIt is the gorged cheque under which our resources are being cashed over our heads and squandered with impunity by the custodians of our stolen sovereigntiesâ€.
The group added that â€œwe have gone the wrong way and we posit that no matter how far a traveler has gone on the wrong way, he should turn back and take the right path if he intends to reach his destination. It is essential that the denied sovereignties be returned to the peoples.
â€œFailure to do so could amount to encouraging or forcing them to begin to consider ways to salvage their futureâ€.