THE Pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, on Tuesday, insisted that Nigeria must renegotiate the basis of its staying together as a country saying the problems bedevilling Nigeria would not have arisen if the original Constitution agreed upon by the country’s founding Fathers had not been jettisoned. This was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of its meeting held in the country home of its acting leader, Pa Ayo Adebanjo.
Those in attendance were the Deputy Leader, Oba Oladipo Olaitan; the Assistant Secretary-General, Mr. Leke Mabinuori; former governor of Ondo State, Dr Segun Mimiko; Chief Cornelius Adebayo, Chief Supo Shonibare, Abagun Kole Omololu, Senator Kofoworola Bucknor-Akerele, Senator Gbenga Kaka, Chief Dayo Duyile, Dr Yomi Atte, Prof Opeyemi Agbaje Comrade and Mr Jare Ajayi.
Speaking at the meeting, the Acting Leader, Chief Adebanjo x-rayed the state of the nation and noted that Nigeria is going through a lot of trauma.
In its communiqué, Afenifere said: “It seriously and comprehensively considered the current political trajectory of the country. The meeting was in no doubt that most, if not, of the problems bedevilling Nigeria would not have arisen if the original Constitution agreed upon by our founding Fathers had not been jettisoned.
Afenifere recalled that during the struggle for independence and the mantra of ‘One Nigeria’ was being sung, Chief Obafemi Awolowo insisted that federalism is the only system of government that could sustain Nigeria as a country.
The Federal Constitution enabled Nigeria to progress very well until the military scuttled the republican federal Constitution in 1966.
“We have been consistent in opposing military midwife Constitution. Afenifere, through Alliance for Democracy, AD, participated in the 1999 elections, not because we believe in that Constitution but to let the South West stand politically in Nigeria.
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“That was why we advocated for Sovereign National Conference, SNC. Although, the past administration of Dr Jonathan Goodluck did a National Conference rather than the SNC that we advocated. It is on record that the report of the said Confab was never implemented.
“This is why we have again consistently been calling for a renegotiation of the basis of our staying together as a country.
“Afenifere is presenting this matter in two ways: The country should go back to the 1963 Constitution that was abrogated by the military.
“In the alternative, the meeting of ethnic nationalities and related Stakeholders should be conveyed. Such a meeting would provide an opportunity for all of us to redefine the basis of staying together.
“We are still very much convinced that it is in either of the two propositions that solutions to numerous problems afflicting Nigeria lie.
“Afenifere has been consistent in its call for a replacement of the present Constitution and restructuring. In other words, we are consistent – and now still insisting – that restructuring that berths true federalism must take place before the 2023 elections.
“We have no doubt whatsoever that no matter the party that takes over in 2023, the problems of Nigeria will remain, if not aggravated if the present Constitution is not changed to devolve power with true federalism entrenched.
“For sure, Afenifere believes in the unity of Nigeria but not at the expense of Yoruba interest. To us, the truism, ‘charity begins at home means so much to us.”