By Victor Ajihromanus
Elder statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, has blamed former President Goodluck Jonathan for not implementing the report of 2014 National Conference, saying the report has answers to some structural problems facing Nigeria.
He also vowed to support re-introduction of the 1963 constitution to replace the 1999 Constitution currently being practiced in the country.
Yakasai made this known in a virtual conference organised by Governance Index, and titled: “The Coronavirus pandemic, is it time to re-evaluate the political structure?”
The 94- year-old elder statesman said the current Constitution is not working and kicked against insinuation that the current arrangement favours the North.
Yakasai further urged sponsors of restructuring to put their ideas in a “black and white paper” so that other people can reason along with them adding that he is not afraid of restructuring.
Yakasai said:” I am not afraid of restructuring, what am saying is that I want to know from the sponsors of this idea what we need to put down for Nigerians. I don’t see any reason to be afraid, I have never been afraid of an idea that I find does not tally with mine. I will propose mine, and if something is wrong, is not working, it is for him to articulate a substitute in place of the one that is not working.
“Nigeria has been operating this federation for more than 60 years even before we gained independence. Now, if we can operate something for 60 years and that thing is not working, is it not fair to tell the people that this is why we feel the thing is not working?
“I will tell you something probably, you never heard of, why my late friend (Anthony Enahoro), did not succeed in selling his eight-point agenda because he was asking for eight republics. He called them republics, not regions, not states, each republic will have his own military establishment, police, judiciary and other things, and we saw that as a manoeuvre by some elements among our minority groups to turn the situation in favour of them.
“In my own opinion , even if they will turn the situation to favour them, they have a duty to come out and tell the people that would be affected how they will benefit from their own programme, up till now, people are saying restructuring is good, they have never told anybody what is the benefit of restructuring, I swear to God , I will support going back to 1963 constitution, but I don’t want to take people for granted that under the present arrangement that the North will have advantage in terms of representation in National Assembly, enough of that , we are talking about the future of our children, grandchildren, future generation of this country.”
He said there have been occasions where the North discussed the issue of restructuring imploring the sponsors of the restructuring to publish a white paper in the media for people to read what restructuring will look like.
Speaking about the 2014 National Conference, Yakasai said that the Conference was initiated by former President Goodluck Jonathan, adding that he expected the former President to have come up with a white paper that would mandate anyone that succeeds him to implement the report.
“The 2014 Conference was initiated by former President Goodluck Jonathan, I happened to be in that conference, till today or tomorrow, I have never been against Jonathan, I fought for him, when he has never met me, I only met him three times.
“Two times were in public while one was privately on a different matter. But, I am surprised that Jonathan did not initiate a white paper summary of the recommendations of the Conference and submit it as a document of the Government that set it up, so that when anybody takes over, it has a white paper well prepared for him.”
Also speaking, Chairman of the All Progressive Congress (UK) chapter, Dr. Philip Ideawor, lamented that the present structure is not working because there is too much power at the centre adding that every part of Nigeria has the potential to become wealthy if properly governed.
He said:”The present structure is not working because power is exceedingly concentrated at the centre, every part of Nigeria has the potential to become wealthy and contribute to the overall good of Nigeria.
“Nigeria has responsibility to become a global start for all black people.”