…Yoruba Summit Group agrees with NEF on wastefulness of NASS constitution review
…2023 election’ll be a farce without restructuring —PANDEF
…Insists on implementation of 2014 National Conference recommendations
…Nationwide consensus’ll make more impact —Igbo group
By Chioma Onuegbu
Pan-Yoruba Summit Group, YSG has joined forces with the Northern Elders Forum, NEF to decry the constitution review exercise embarked upon by the Senate, saying “there is now a unanimity from all sections of the country to jettison the 1999 Constitution and fashion a new one acceptable to all Nigerians.”
The group said holding the polls without restructuring the polity will spell doom for the country, and aligned with the position of the Northern Elders Forum, NEF, that the Senate’s ongoing move to review 1999 is a waste of scarce resources, adding that it could be part of plans to abort restructuring of Nigeria before the next general elections.
On its part, Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, reiterated its stance on restructuring of the country, stressing that the 2023 elections would be a farce without restructuring.
Meanwhile, an elite Igbo group, Alaigbo Development Foundation, ADF, led by Professor Uzodinma Nwala, has said such decision will be better if it is a nationwide decision so as to make more impact.
Tricks, delay tactics
In a statement signed by Publicity Secretary, Mogaji Gboyega Adejumo, the Yoruba Summit Group said yesterday: “We are aware of all the tricks and delay tactics that can be used to dampen the clamour for restructuring of this country, mostly on this review embarked upon when 2023 is around the corner.”
On its position on restructuring and the posturing of the National Assembly, YSG said: “NEF’s recent comments on the planned review of the constitution by the Senate, shows “there is now a unanimity from all sections of the country to jettison the 1999 Constitution and fashion a new one acceptable to all Nigerians. The banditry and insurgency ravaging the North, coupled with the dire state of the economy may have concentrated the minds of our northern brothers to what we have been saying all along, we need to sit down together to determine anew how different sections of our country would live together.
It added, “Therefore, for this moment and for a future uncertain, for posterity and the prescient nature of our wisdom in foretelling a coming catastrophe, as was wont of our late sage and Leader Papa Obafemi Awolowo, we have come to this irreducible, irreplaceable conclusions, that:
“The ship of state is veering off precariously into a precipice, and that Nigeria is at the very edge of a political subsidence.
“We are persuaded that nothing short of restructuring can save this country. Any attempt to go ahead with elections in 2023 without addressing the issue of Restructuring would spell doom for Nigeria.
“Notwithstanding the interests of some elements in our midst, It would be presumptuous to assume that the masses of the educated Yoruba Nation will dive headlong into being part of the 2023 elections, when all elements of its execution — the military, paramilitary, INEC, the judiciary have been rigged and appropriated by a single very tiny minority Ethnic Group in a small corner of the country. The emerging resolve of the Yoruba not to be part of vassal state that Nigeria has become, is better managed with due accommodation before any further degeneration and obvious consequences. Our quest shall henceforth be to mobilize the masses of our peoples not to participate in any further elections until the goal of Restructuring or Self-determination is attained.
“The Yoruba Nation is therefore, making the clarion call for confidence building steps to taken by the Buhari regime immediately, especially as the historic 60th Anniversary of Nigeria as an independent nation beckons on October 1, 2020. Steps towards an urgent meeting of all nationalities has to be taken now to determine the nature of our relationships. Unless this peaceful step is heeded to, so that Nigeria heads in the right direction thereafter, the clear alternative would be for self-determination quests to proceed rapidly without any further restraint. It has become patently untenable for the Yoruba Nation to tolerate further incompetence and impunity as has been foisted on all other Ethnic Nationalities across Nigeria.”
Need for constitution drafting committee
“If the Senate is honest and serious about solving the constitutional problems, they have enough information and resources at their disposal to use and do what is right without a time-wasting call for memoranda. The 2014 CONFAB Report and the Draft Constitution by Af¹nif¹re, Voice of Reason, among others, are available and in the public domain.
“NASS should set up a Technical Constitution Drafting Committee to work out a new framework as a basis for all ethnic nationalities to live in peace as collaborative neighbours, using existing documents in the public domain.
“The committee should be mandated to produce guidelines that will facilitate the voluntary reconfiguration and realignments by ethnic nationalities, sub-ethnic nationalities, clans and communities as would later form the basis of their mutual accommodation to live together in a true federation or to actively seek self-determination in order to actualize their God-given human rights under international laws.
“The outcome is to be the subject of a national referendum in order to secure the consent of the Nigerian people.
“The National Assembly should adopt the doctrine of necessity once again, by making the law with provisions on processes to guide the historic transition from the 1999 constitution until the enactment of a new constitutional order is attained.
“The new order shall be the basis of any further elections in Nigeria. This means that there should be no election before this exercise is completed. Waiting till 2023 without providing a brand new framework for mutual coexistence is a gamble no patriot should be willing to take.
“The YSG hereby extends a hand of fellowship to our brethren in the Northern Elders Forum and other community leaders in the Southern and Middle Belt Regions toward making the above proposals for peaceful and orderly change possible, so that all communities can have their faith restored in a nation where justice, fairness and equity shall reign once again.”
Recently, the YSG after a meeting on the state of the nation had said “the ship of state is veering off precariously onto a precipice, and that Nigeria is at the very edge of political subsidence; nothing short of restructuring can save this country; any attempt to go ahead with elections in 2023 without addressing the issue of restructuring would spell doom for Nigeria.”
2023 election’ll be a farce without restructuring – PANDEF
National Chairman of PANDEF and former military administrator of Akwa Ibom State, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (retd), spoke yesterday in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, while reacting to the position of YSG that it would not participate in 2023 election if the country’s constitution was reviewed without restructuring, PANDEF had always expressed the opinion that the implementation of the over 600 recommendations of the 2014 National Conference would solve the myriads of challenges plaguing the country today.
He explained that reviewing the Constitution would be repeating what was said in the 2014 National conference.
He said: “I think I listened to what the Northern Elders Forum said on this issue and perhaps they were saying it will not be of much use to us. And I don’t know the angle the YSG took its position for non-participation in the elections, but for us in PANDEF, it is restructuring we want.
“We believe we should restructure this country, that is one. Also, we believe that the 2014 National conference brought more than enough for us to use, so to that extent, the Constitution Review, if they view it properly, it is just going to be a repeat of what was said in the 2014 national conference.
“We are saying, why not implement the recommendations of the 2014 conference instead of calling for another one. Over 600 recommendations were made during that conference, so what are we going to bring out again that is new?
“They went and put the report away somewhere, and nobody is talking about it. We believe that if they were serious and honest, by now they would have cleaned it up and signed it, then we know that there is hope for this country.
“So, for PANDEF, we are saying restructure, if there is no evidence of restructuring, the 2023 election will be a farce. Those that are reviewing the constitution again, PANDEF is not submitting anything, we have always said we want restructuring of this country. That is our stand.”
Nationwide consensus’ll make more impact — Igbo group
On its part, ADF’s Director of Media and Publicity, Abi Onyike, said anchoring the 2023 polls on restructuring “is a good position to take.’’
“The ADF believes that the proper thing to do now is to reconstitute the Nigerian federation to have regional autonomy.
“A new constitutional order will emerge. All ethnic nationalities should assert their rights to self-determination so that there would be a proper re-negotiation of the federation.
“The mainstream Yoruba political group led by Bola Tinubu cannot support this splinter position because of their alliance with the Caliphate Northern hegemonists. So, the splinter group championing restructuring before the election in 2023 may not gather the required momentum. They may soon fizzle out.”