By Bartholomew Madukwe
HUMAN rights lawyer and Pan-African elderstate man, Dr. Tunji Braithwaite, has expressed fear over the impending National Conference, saying that it is strewn with pitfalls on a nature that could throw the country into a calamitous depth that might take future generations another 100 years from which to climb out.
Braithwaite, who is the founder and former Presidential candidate of the defunct Nigerian Advance Party (NAP), posited that the amalgamated country called Nigeria needs to be reconfigured before any elections in the country and described the 1999 Constitution as a fraud and imposition on Nigerians.
Speaking as Guest Lecturer of the 15th memorial anniversary of Pastor S. A. Odunaiya, on the topic “The Role of the Church of Christ in the Impending National Conference” he pointed out that what is today called 1999 Constitution is decree 24, which was imposed on the country by an indigenous British-trained and moulded military.
“The road to attaining a successful outcome of the Conference is certainly strewn with pitfalls on a nature that could throw the country into a calamitous depth that might take future generations another 100 years from which to climb out. Nigeria needs to be reconfigured and the reconfiguration must be attained before any elections in the country.
“The military Junta of General Abdulsalam, in the charade of a democratic election in 1999 manipulated the systems and ensured the victory of one of its own, Gen. Obasanjo as a Civilian President of Nigeria. A man who had previously headed a military-government in Nigeria for almost 3 years, and who, subsequently was tried and jailed by his fellow comrade-in-arms for coup plotting.
”When the present fourth Republic was instituted by them in 1999, with Gen. Obasanjo as President of Nigeria, Obasanjo had the effrontery to attempt, single-handedly, to sabotage even their foisted Constitution. He proceeded in 2005 to convoke a National Conference of sorts, not for redressing the obvious structural National imbalance, nor ameliorating the anaemia social/economic condition of the mass of the people” Braithwaite said.
According to him, Obasanjo’s 2005 National Conference was a grand ploy to further tinker with decree 24 (1999 Constitution) thereby giving him an illegal third term in office.
”That was his (Obasanjo) idea of national conference, which some gullible persons in their puerile opposition to the imminent Sovereign National Conference, would have us accept as a genuine national conference.
Such persons reason that the country should dust up the relics of the dubious 2005 national conference and simply modify it to suit the yearnings of the generality of the ethnic nationalities for a Sovereign National Conference” he added.
Braithwaite denied being a politician but described himself as a Revolutionalist. He noted that principalities and powers are at work, night and day to sabotage the Conference, adding that prayers with hardwork and doggedness are the major twin sureties for a successful outcome of any lasting endeavour.
” Lt. Col. Yakubu Gowon in 1966 proclaimed that the basis for a one united country (Nigeria) was not available. The call for the Conference is not new. The call is as old as about the age of Independent Nigeria. The first Constitution of Independent Nigeria ran into serious troubles by the fact that it was deviously fabricated to disenfranchise a large part of the two Amalgamated territories in the election of the Prime Minister of the country” Braithwaite explained.
On the role of the church in the impending National Conference, the senior lawyer said Christians needed to engage God in fervent prayers to enable the impending National Conference become successful, stressing that the role of Christians should not be limited to prayers only, “we must go out there armed with faith, determination, commitment to righteousness and be fully involved in the generational duty of salvaging our freedoms” he added.