By Cyriacus Nnaji
The regular meeting of the Yoruba Summit Group undertook an in-depth review of the state of Nigeria in relation to the interests and aspirations of the Yoruba Nation. Notable issues were appraised.
According to the communiqué released by Mogaji Gboyega Adejumo, the Publicity Secretary on behalf of the Group after their Regular Meeting held on Thursday, September 10. 2020, took in-depth assessment of policies, bills of present government and issues concerning the Youruba as a nation.
Issues considered included the Waterways Bill pending in the National Assembly, recurrent quest to amend the 1999 Constitution, the impending landmark 60th Independence Anniversary date of October 1, 2020, and the mechanism of Yoruba’s involvement in the polity of Nigeria as it is unraveling politically and economically under the watch of the Buhari administration.
Part of the communiqué read “As we were preparing this communiqué, Global Terrorism Index screams “Nigeria has Emerged as the Most Terrorised Country in Africa…. ranked 3rd most Terrorised Country in the World!”
We reiterate once again, the solution to Nigeria’s problems does not lie in 2023 election neither does it lie in the charade embarked upon by the NASS under the guise of a Constitutional Review.
The YSG strongly believes that the current exercise to amend the Nigerian constitution is a needless, irresponsible and surreptitious gambit to distract the various Nigerian ethnic nationalities agitating for Restructuring, true Federalism or self-determination.
How can you ask people to submit memoranda to amend a fatally flawed constitution which ab-intio contains contrived clauses and entrenched imbalances which will nullify the aspirations of many major ethnic groups in the country, especially in the southwest?
There is an unfair representation of many ethnic nationalities in the NASS because of our flawed census figures and unfair geographical division of the country into states and local governments done by military fiat by soldiers of northern extraction following successive coups.
For example, the current situation whereby all the federal legislators in the southeast region, originally one third of the tripod that held Nigeria together, add up to just the number of legislators in Kano state should not be employed to amend a constitution which requires a 2/3 majority vote of the National Assembly. Similar distortions also exist in the southwest when we compare the 20 local governments in Lagos to that of Kano with 44. As it is, the North has been given a veto power over all the other regions combined. This shouldn’t be. That is why there is always the refrain “Go to the National Assembly” from the North whenever unfairness or imbalances in the polity are pointed out.
The totality of the Nigerian 1999 Constitution must be jettisoned and a fresh document produced, which will truly reflect the wishes of “we the people”.
Presently, every signal from the government, contradicts a desire for genuine change – from the President’s pronouncements since he came, his various actions, the way various bills being smuggled into and sometimes by the legislature into the NASS, particularly, the vexatious Water Bill, a very clear Anti-Restructuring venture embarked by this administration and supported by same National Assembly, the evidence of which the chair of a committee had the audacity to call it, “A Done Deal”, with same National Assembly asking the people being dispossessed of their land to come with memoranda — To do what exactly? Accord legitimacy to illegality and fraud?
The way forward: The Buhari administration that has the Senate and the National Assembly under her control should set up a Technical constitution drafting committee (TCDC) to work out within three months a new framework into a document as basis for all ethnic nationalities to live in peace as collaborative neighbours, using existing documents in the public domain.