Politics

June 12, 2024

Democracy Day: New constitution ‘ll save Nigeria from collapse — Anyaoku, Nwachukwu, Obi

Democracy Day: New constitution 'll save Nigeria from imminent collapse — Anyaoku, Nwachukwu, Obi, others

Prominent Nigerians at MKO Abiola’s tomb in his Ikeja residence, Lagos, today, June 12..

… as Sanwo-Olu, Ayinde, others extol MKO Abiola’s sacrifice for democracy

By Olasunkanmi Akoni, Lagos

Former Commonwealth’s Secretary-General, Emeka Anyaoku; General Ike Nwachukwu, (retd), and Peter Obi have advocated “a new legitimate Federalist Constitution for Nigeria” that will truly reflect and accommodate her diversity, which drafting requires urgent attention to save the country from the brink of collapse.

The prominent Nigerians, including the leader of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Shettima Yerima, made the call at a colloquium today, June 12, titled: “Securing the future of Nigeria through a new democratic people’s constitution”.

The even was to mark Democracy Day, and was held at Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos.

Sanwo-Olu

In a similar event, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, his Chief of Staff, Mr. Tayo Ayinde, and other personalities called on Nigerians to cherish and live by the tenets of democracy for the prosperity and progress of the nation.

They gave the charge while speaking at an event to mark the 30th anniversary of the “Epetedo Self Declaration” and 13th National Discourse, organised by the Coalition for a Better Nigeria.

The them of the event was “Converting the Pain of June 12 Election Annulment to Gain of Present Administration,” and was held at Moshood Kashimawo Olawale, MKO, Abiola’s House, Ikeja, Lagos.

Anyaoku

Meanwhile, speakers at the colloquium noted that the Nigerian project “is not working positively because the country operates a constitution that does not suit its numerous challenges confronting her.”

Anyaoku, Chairman of the event, noted that Nigeria from the onset has been facing the challenges of managing its diversity without headway.

He noted that the 1960 and 1963 constitutions were drafted to address the challenges until the military came in January 1966 and scuttled the arrangements.

He stressed: “Unless a courageous action is taken to give the country a new constitution, the country will continue to move towards collapse.”

Anyaoku explained that some countries that failed to address their diversity have disintegrated, given examples of countries like Yugoslavia, Czechoslovaki,a and Sudan.

He explained that their failure to address their diversity made them break into two independent states.

Anyaoku maintained that other pluralist nations that addressed their diversity remained intact, citing examples of countries like Canada and India.

The global statesman said: “The 1999 constitution, even as amended, lacked the legitimacy to address the diversity

“Therefore, we need to get a new legitimate constitution that will tackle the challenges facing the country,” he said.

Anyaoku suggested that to arrive at the new constitution, a constituent assembly can be set up, which will comprise democratically-elected people, and not on a political party basis.

He added that membership of the constituent assembly should also put into consideration the 1960, and 1963 constitutions and the recommendations of the 2014 constitutional conference by the then-President Goodluck Jonathan.

“And if all these are put into consideration, the nation will have a legitimate constitution,” he posited.

Nwachukwu

Gen. Nwachukwu noted that attempts have been made in the past to return Nigeria to a true democracy, adding that Nigerians should pray the country has a constitution that can accommodate the wishes of the people.

“What Nigeria needs now is a true Federalist Constitution that accommodates our diversity as a nation and the time to make the change is now.

“We must all be committed to democracy. We should make good promises made by our founding fathers and promises made by our leaders reflect in our diversity,” he added.

Nwachukwu listed seven points for the new constitution to include: autonomy to federating units that guarantee freedom of speech, provide security of lives and prosperity, and forge a sustainable balanced country, among others.

Peter Obi, Yerima

Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, LP, in the 2023 general election, who was represented by Tanko Yunusa, Chief Spokesperson Obi-Datti and Director of Media LP, also spoke in like manner, calling for a true Nigeria Constitution.

Yerima, in his address, described the 1999 Nigeria Constitution as a fraud foisted on Nigerians.

According to Yerima; “We are going through a hard time. And the truth is that the North is at the worst receiving end in terms of insecurity, and poverty. Name it.

“The 1999 Nigeria Constitution is a fraud foisted on Nigerians by the military junta.

“The present Constitution lacks legitimacy. Nigeria needs a new Constitution that is generally acceptable.

“Our prayer is for us to have a country we should be proud of. We are gradually losing hope.

“Listening to Mr. President in his Democracy Day speech, talking about laying the foundation after 64 years of Nigeria’s existence, I can’t comprehend it.

“That means the next four generations will be the ones to enjoy the laying of foundation.”

Lagos State Deputy Governor, Dr. Kadri Hamzat (middle with the wreath), flanked by the State Executive Council members, family and friends of the late Chief Moshood Kashimawo Abiola after the 30th and 13th National Discourse organized by Coalition for a Better Nigeria at the MKO Abiola House, Ikeja Lagos, today, Wednesday, JUne 12.
Democracy Day: New constitution 'll save Nigeria from imminent collapse — Anyaoku, Nwachukwu, Obi, others
From left: Founder of the House of Politics (HOP) Nationwide, Alhaja Aminat Irawo; wife of late MKO Abiola, Mrs. Bisi Abiola; Lagos State Deputy Governor, Dr. Hamzat, and Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotosho, at the 30th and 13th National Discourse organised by Coalition for a Better Nigeria at the MKO Abiola House.

Sanwo-Olu, Ayinde, others extol MKO

Meanwhile, at the 30th anniversary of the “Epetedo Self Declaration and 13th National Discourse, ” Sanwo-Olu, who was represented at the event by the Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, stressed that “as a nation, we must cherish our democracy and be democrats in all we do.

“Besides, democracy is not about force but conviction of ideas. So, it is not that my views must always win.

“It means we must debate it, we must talk about it and must come together to agree about it,” the governor stated.

Sanwo-Olu also stated that public commentators must speak with the fear of God, be patriotic, love the country, and adhere to the tenets of democracy which are essential qualities for good governance.

“It is important for the citizens to be patriotic and protect the integrity of the country in order not to destroy the legacy of our forefathers who paid the ultimate price in gaining democracy, particularly the late Chief MKO.

“It is important to respect our past heroes, especially those that are still living,” Sanwo-Olu.

He noted that Nigeria’s democracy has gained its roots and given room for freedom of speech among other fundamental human rights which has helped to create a conducive environment for economic growth, stability, and sustainable development.

June 12

While commenting on the implication of the June 12 event in Nigeria, the Governor stated that it has helped the citizenry to recognize that democracy should be cherished.

He added that “those actors that stopped the process are not proud enough to explain what they did.”

However, Sanwo-Olu stressed the need to study history at school to enable the younger generations to appreciate heroes who fought for the country, both the living and dead.

Ayinde, while speaking with newsmen after the event, commended MKO for his invaluable contribution to achieving the present democratic dispensation in the country which has been waxing stronger despite daunting challenges.

Earlier, in his lecture titled; “Impact of June 12 on the Democratic and Economic Development of Nigeria,” Comrade Debo Adeniran, reiterated that the late Abiola was a pillar of strength and hope for Nigerians and Africans, who paid the supreme sacrifice for Nigerian’s freedom.

Adeniran described the late Abiola as a good man who served humanity, practiced a welfare agenda, and was an indiscriminate philanthropist all over the world.

He said this was what made Nigerians give him their vote to become the president, “as they believed he would change the economic situation of the country to prosperity.”

Lola Abiola-Edewor

The first daughter of late MKO, Mrs. Lola Abiola-Edewor, commended the immediate past President Muhammadu Buhari for recognizing June 12 and making it a democratic day, and President Bola Tinubu for his constant support to the family.

Abiola-Edewor stressed the need for Nigerians to be patient with the present administration as the president means well for the citizens, which can be seen in his policies and mantra, “the Renewed Hope”.

She, therefore, urged Nigerians to continue to support and pray for the leadership of the country to succeed, as “Rome was not built in a day”.

Abiola-Edewor added: “I can assure us all that those promises will come to pass because Asiwaju is a grassroots man and cares for everyone, particularly the masses.”

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