.Ozekhome, Nigeria

James Ogunnaike

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mike Ozekhome on Thursday declared that Nigeria needs a new constitution and renegotiation of its existence through a referendum if the country must progress as one entity.

Ozekhome made the declaration in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital while speaking at the ‘Ladi Adebutu Good Governance Symposium’, held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library.

The legal luminary said, “owing to the operation of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) which he called ” false document from the pit of hell, noted that Nigeria currently operates under a “suffocative system”.

The symposium with the theme “Local Government Autonomy: A panacea for national development,” was organised in honour of former PDP Governorship aspirant, Hon Oladipupo Adebutu in Ogun State.

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He noted that Nigeria as a nation may disintegrate if nothing is done to change the current situation, stressing that “it is a lie to say Nigeria is indivisible.”

Ozekhome said “I agree that Nigeria should stay together as one country. But, please, if we must be together as one country, we must re-negotiate the terms. It must be under agreed terms. That’s where a constituents of peoples assembly comes up.

“And for those people who are afraid. The National Assembly members are afraid. They want to amend. Can you amend a  bad document? A child of illegitimacy and bastardly Decree 24.  Even if  you give it one million amendments, it cannot solve our problems.

“Rather, let them (National Assembly) use section 4 of the Constitution which says “The National Assembly shall have powers to make laws for the peace, order and good government in Nigeria and there any part thereof.”

“Do you have peace, order  and good government in Nigeria today? So, they can therefore make a law using section 4, promulgating constituents of the people. That same law provides a referendum.

“The National Assembly is saying it cannot give a new constitution. It can facilitate and midwife under section 4, the process that gives people a new constitution subject to a  referendum. That’s my position and that is what will make Nigeria work.”

Speaking on the theme, the legal luminary blamed governors for the underdevelopment at the grassroots.

He said governors “like an armed bandits always waylay council allocations from Abuja” and leave rural dwellers impoverished.

In his remarks, a renowned political scientist and media scholar, Prof Ayo Olukotun blamed lack of the autonomy of councils on what he called “feeding bottle governance and distributive democracy.”

He asked proponents of LG autonomy to be committed and resilient, saying it would take a long time battle to achieve the goal.

In his welcome address, Adebutu accused President Buhari of paying lip services to the implementation of the LG autonomy.

The former House of Representatives member added that Nigerians must collectively tackle misgovernance at the grassroots if the country must get it right.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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