Yoruba group reject constitution review, insist on true federalism

The Yoruba Summit Goup, a federation of Yoruba bodies, has insisted on restructuring and true federalism as against constitution review being promoted by the national assembly.

In its communique issued by the Publicity Secretary, Mogaji Gboyega Adejumo, after its recent regular meeting, the group described the proposal to amend the Nigerian constitution as a needless, irresponsible and surreptitious gambit to distract the various Nigerian ethnic nationalities agitating for Restructuring, true Federalism or self-determination.

The group queried the memoranda to amend the constitution, also describing it as fatally flawed which ab-intio contains contrived clauses and entrenched imbalances, frustrating the aspirations of 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 South East Region, originally one-third of the tripod that held Nigeria together, adds 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,” it stated.

The communique added that similar distortions also existed in the South West, comparing the 20 Local Governments in Lagos to 44 of Kano.

“As it is, the North has been given virtual 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,” it also stated.

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The totality of the Nigerian 1999 Constitution, the communique insisted, must be jettisoned and a fresh document produced to 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 the same national assembly, the evidence of which the chairman 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 communique, therefore, called on the Buhari administration and the national assembly ro set up a TECHNICAL CONSTITUTION DRAFTING COMMITTEE (TCDC) to work out within three months a new framework into a document as a basis for all ethnic nationalities to live in peace as collaborative neighbours, using existing documents in the public domain.

“The TCDC should have the mandate to produce guidelines that will facilitate the voluntary reconfiguration and realignments by ethnic nationalities, sub-ethnic nationalities, clans and communities as would later form the basis of their mutual accommodation to live together in a true federation or to actively seek self-determination in order to actualize their God-given human rights under international laws.”

The outcome of the TCDC effort, the communique maintained, is to be the subject of a National Referendum in order to secure the consent of the Nigerian people.

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“The national assembly is to adopt the Doctrine of Necessity once again, by making the Law with provisions on processes to guide the historic transition from the 1999 Constitution until the enactment of a new Constitutional order is attained. The new order shall be the basis of any further elections in Nigeria.

The YSG, according to the communique, re-affirmed its earlier position that notwithstanding the ambition by a very tiny household, the Yoruba nation and her peoples should not be part of the 2023 federal elections.

“We should not confer legitimacy to an exercise in futility at the end of which the gloating message of the conqueror shall be: “go to court.” We, therefore, wish our peoples to be wary of the insolent offers of Presidency positions, pitting South-East against South West Regions. It is a ruse!”

The group also called on all political office holders of Yoruba extraction to heed the clarion call and yearnings of their peoples for self-respect and self-determination, warning that History and practical imperatives of people’s action would harshly judge and treat all who offer themselves as willing tools and collaborate with internal colonisers.

“YSG hereby notify the United Nations, European Union and all foreign countries including UK, US, China, Russia etc and multinational lending institutions to cease and desist forthwith from any further disbursement on loans and even grants, as such subsequent disbursements shall not be countenanced as part of assets and liabilities of the Nigeria country that would most sooner than later be reconfigured or dissolved.”

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