By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
As some Nigerians yearn for a new constitution ahead of 2023 general elections, a Civil Society Organisation, One Love Foundation, OLF, Wednesday, called for balancing of items on both Exclusive and Concurrent Lists of the 1999 Constitution.
The call was made by the Founder and President, OLF, Patriot Patrick Eholor, while speaking with Vanguard on the need to address daunting challenges the 1999 Constitution has thrown the nation into.
According to Eholor since independence in October 1960 till date the nation has witnessed a chequerred federalism that has favored a certain section and put other parts of the country through so much pains.
He said: “Against the run of play. This phrase best describes the practical running of federated Nigeria. The corporate entity of Nigeria is in disillusionment because of the injustice and inequity that prevails.
“Where there is injustice and unequal level playing field to achieve peace and prosperity becomes Utopian. Empirical study of progressive nation shows that holistic nurturing of the principles and ideals of true federalism forms an integral part of their development strategies where citizens are treated fairly and equally.
“Sustainable progress prevails on the strength of these ideals and principles. The Nigeria case is a nightmare. Our concept of federalism is retrogressive and practically troubling.
“Since independence in October 1960 till date the nation has witnessed a chequered federalism that has favored a certain sect and put other sects in the federation through so much pains.
“The independence constitution of 1960 and the federal constitution of 1963 had exclusive and concurrent lists of devolution of powers. Then there was 41 items on the exclusive list and presently there are 68 items on the exclusive list. The government at the centre is wielding so much powers and control of the resources of the federating units.
“This has created abuse at the centre resulting in mismanagement and unfair sharing and allocation of the national resources. Any transparent leadership must come to equity table with clean hands. The unfair system has created a big muster that is tilting Nigeria towards a failed state.
“Too much powers at the centre. There is need for a balancing of the Exclusive and Concurrent Lists of the Constitution so that the regions or states can have powers and resources to operate successfully. That led to the confab of 2014.”
He further stated that, “A beautiful opportunity to correct the wrongs and was well constituted. Deliberations well articulated by the constituents. Good resolutions, well agreed and handed over to the then President Goodluck Jonathan for execution but was rather dumped in the national archives. It has continued with the present administration.
“Without equity and justice there will be no peace and progress, because the status quo favours certain sect who happens to be in power .the constitution review and implementation of the 2014 Confab is being dragged. It’s to their advantage that the status quo remains.
“This deliberate act has degenerated the nation into anarchy and lawlessness. The oppressors are pretending and the oppressed have lost the taste of life, ready to die for the course of liberating themselves from injustice.”
He also raised the alarm that, “The nation is trending to collapse. There is enough evidence to awaken the leadership to act. Failure to act wisely or pretense is not an option.”
He added that the international community is watching and highly disturbed with recent developments.
“Let us save Nigeria for posterity. Well meaning Nigerians and advocates of peace, justice and equity must rise to the occasion. The leadership must stop playing federalism against the run of play”, he stated.