Wole Olanipekun (SAN), a former president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), speaks on the ongoing constitution review exercise by the National Assembly, the features of 1960, 1963, 1979 and the 1999 Constitutions, widespread insecurity in the land, among other national issues. He spoke to SEGUN KASALI and LANRE ADEWOLE in Lagos. EXCERPTS:
EVERYONE can see what is going on in Nigeria, but statesmen like you are expected to see deeper, considering your contacts and connections. Sir, what exactly is going on in Nigeria?
I am worried and sincerely so. I am burdened and honestly so. A few weeks back, I was so burdened in my heart that I could not sleep. I woke up at about one o’clock at midnight and I was migrating from one end of the bed to the other, thinking of nothing individualistic, but about Nigeria. Very early in the morning, I had to call one of the governors in the South-West and I opened up to him and I said “where are we heading for?”. And I was able to do that because I had a past and let me put it this way “I have a past.” I came from a cradle called “the old West.” I was in Nigeria but I did not see the influence of an almighty and all-appropriating Federal Government. I was under the shadow that was very humane and pragmatic. If there were no sincere leaders in the political, business, and legal profession, we would not have been where we are today. Those of us who saw a better Nigeria while growing up, owe it a duty to have conscience to the country, to God and humanity, to counsel. And that is why once in a while we speak out. More particularly in my own field as a lawyer, it is becoming so embarrassing by the day. What are we going to hand over to the younger generation?
Before now, did you make an attempt at making things better?
When (Olusegun) Obasanjo came into power, coincidentally between 2002 and 2004, I was the President, Nigerian Bar Association. We paid a courtesy visit and told him that this 1999 Constitution is fake and will not lead Nigeria anywhere. We told him that we were ready to assist him to bring in place a workable constitution for Nigeria. But, he declared me a persona non grata under his tenure. And to me as a lawyer, I believe what the lawyer call the grundnorm, which is the constitution. It is the fundamental law of a nation. I believe also in history; how did Nigeria evolve? My father was not born a Nigerian but became a Nigerian in 1914, by the virtue of the amalgamation of both the Southern and Northern protectorates, and we have been managing. And the founding fathers decided that Nigeria should run a federal system of government. Simply put, in a federal set-up like the USA, Canada, Australia et al, the federating units come together to say we want to associate together and form a union and in forming this, we have to share a certain percentage of our own resources to the centre. In a federal system of government, you don’t serve as impediment to others. Everyone operates at its own wavelength. Now, Nigeria has many constitutions. There was the Richards Constitution of 1946, which was imposed on us by the colonial masters. Nigeria did not have any input in it. The Clifford Constitution also did not improve our laws.
As at that time, Nigerians resisted that constitution on the ground that they did not have any say and that it was not a federal constitution, which they didn’t bargain for. So, the colonial masters were forced to convene another constitutional meeting not conference and this led to another one called Macpherson Constitution of 1951 which was fairly a federal constitution. After that constitution, the Northern Nigeria, Western Nigeria and Eastern Nigeria jointly agreed that they were going to operate a federal system of government. That indomitable scholar, Elias, who spoke to Macpherson Constitution, said “The Constitution is designed to give a greatly-increased measure of responsibility to Nigerians for the conduct of their own affairs and while granting increased autonomy to the three regions to build a united Nigeria, it has been a matter of great satisfaction that the proposal of the new constitution had been worked out and with such a great measure of agreement within Nigeria and Nigerians.”
So, where and how did we go off-course?
Let us remind ourselves that the Western Region obtained its independence from Britain in 1956. The Eastern Region did same, while the Northern region came later. Nigeria was to become an independent nation in 1957. North said it was not ready and that was why the independence of Nigeria was delayed till 1960. In the Concurrent Legislative List of the 1960/1963 Constitution, there were arms and ammunition, bankruptcy and insolvency, census, commercial and industrial monopolies, control of voluntary movement of persons within the territory. Now, you heard the Southern Governors say that they have banned open grazing and some people say that is illegal and unconstitutional. What is illegal there? It is their right. Even, Fingerprints, Industrial Development and Labour were under the concurrent list. Now, the Federal Government even has the National Industrial Court that deals with labour matters all over the country. Where are we heading for? The legal and the medical profession, prisons, maintaining and securing public safety and order, registration of business names, statistics et al. When you now look at the 1999 Constitution, all these have been appropriated by the Federal Government. Let me take you through a few of the sections of the regions. You would marvel at what powers the region had and that was why Chief Obafemi Awolowo in 1955 was able to introduce free primary education to the West and consequently moved on its own. Now, under the constitution of the old Western Region, you have the qualifications of all the offices; to be a member of the parliament etc. Now, it is the constitution of the federal government that defines all that. You have the high court, remuneration for governors, and others, in the constitution.
Under Section 65 of the Western Region Constitution, you have provision for the appointment of agent-general in the United Kingdom that was the ambassador for Western Nigeria in the United Kingdom. The Northern and Eastern Nigeria also had their own ambassadors.
So, the influence of regions wasn’t overshadowed?
I want to repeat again that people like us were under the influence, custody, guidance and swimming in the ocean of Western Region. We didn’t know anything about the almighty federal government even though we knew in civics that Sir Tafawa Balewa was prime minister. We are now talking about state police as if it is something that never happened. Have you ever heard that under the 1960 Constitution not just the regions but also the provinces were entitled to have their own police formation?. Are we operating federalism in an anti-clockwise manner? I remember that the old West had its own native police. The federal police were called Olopa Eko (Lagos Police). This is the constitution making it explicit and now we are begging the Federal Government because by the imperative of the 1999 Constitution, it says “There shall be only one Police Force,” forbidding, any other police formation. Where does that happen anywhere? That is virtually why we are having mayhem in the country. It is not practicable, not reasonable for a police in Abuja to see what is happening in other areas of the country. Under any constitution in the world, the primary responsibility of government is to secure lives and property. You remember what America did in Katsina in Nigeria of recent; it just came and delivered alive one citizen! Even as bad as this 1999 Constitution is, that is the primary duty of government. And in any event, what does government exist for if government cannot secure my life, your life and everybody’s lives? It is the primary purpose, while every other thing is incidental. And how can the government secure lives under this system whereby every power has been appropriated by the federal government. Nothing like residual powers? The American Constitution is so clear on the powers of each of the states. In Canada, it is the same thing. In Britain that operates a parliamentary system, the county councils have their powers.
I have read the constitutions of the world. Section 77 of the Malaysian Constitution, says the legislature of a state shall have power to make laws with respect to any matter not enumerated. Section 5 of Argentine Constitution says that each province shall enact its own constitution. Ethiopian Constitution says all powers not given expressly to the Federal Government alone or concurrently to the Federal Government and the state, are reserved for the states. That is it all over the world and America is still explicit.
Ok, we are not even at a crossroads; it’s almost like a no-road. What is the way out, sir?
The National Assembly members say they want to amend the constitution. They are not being honest. And it is high time we told them, ‘stop deceiving Nigerians.’ We want to amend something that has no foundation. The engineers come around to say that the foundation of the building is faulty and you are trying to amend the roof. Then, let us look at the 1999 Constitution. It says that “We the people of Nigeria having firmly and solemnly resolved to live in unity.” Who are the ‘we’? No specification. Where did we meet? Now, let us go back to the 1979 Constitution. Let us look at the preamble-compare and contrast. It says “we the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, having firmly and solemnly resolved to live in unity so, so and so.” For the 1979 Constitution, we know the source and authors. There was a Constitution Drafting Committee of 50 wisemen- Chief Awolowo of blessed memory declined to serve for reasons which were very tenable. So, Chief Rotimi Williams, was the chairman of the committee. After that, there was a Constituent Assembly. Different members of different communities and constituencies, chaired by the late jurist, Justice Udo Udoma, while the vice-chairman was Chief Rotimi Williams. So, you know the authors of the 1979 Constitution. Now, I ask you: who are the authors of the 1999 Constitution?
But the Abdulsalam military leadership gave the proposal for 1999 Constitution to a group headed by Justice Niki Tobi, to work on, for about a month.
Where did they meet? Was it at the Constituent Assembly? Is that the way to treat a nation? Would you now say that the authors were Niki Tobi and co? For the purpose of argument, I have never seen a book in my entire life without authors. Even the Bible, written by diverse people, all the books, have their names-from Genesis, Exodus, Deuteronomy, etc. Come to the Quran, you know the author. The Quran itself as revealed to Prophet Mohammed by Angel Gabriel otherwise called Angel Jubril. We have the Hadith. You have the analytical deductions. You also have the consensus of the opinion of jurists. I challenge Christians and Muslims in the National Assembly to first of all, tell us the authors of the 1999 Constitution before they can amend. It has been said over and over again that you cannot put something on nothing and expect it to stand. I challenge them. Okay, when you want to amend, are you going to amend the preamble to say ‘we the people of Nigeria hereby assembled at the National Assembly?’ I was in Rwanda last week with my wife. Rwanda is progressing. It has discovered itself. Kigali is one of the leading cities in the world: neat, orderly and decent. The people no longer talk about their past because they have put their past behind them. You remember the genocide of 1992, 1993 and 1994. But, they still had to appreciate that in their preamble to their constitution. They said: “We the people of Rwanda in the wake of the genocide that was organised and supervised by unworthy leaders.” Come on! Two, they swore to fight the ideology of genocide and all its manifestations and to eradicate ethnic, regional and other forms of division. Are we doing that? Returning to fight dictatorship by putting in place, democratic institutions and leaders freely elected by ourselves, are we doing that? So, before we can make progress in Nigeria, we must appreciate a lot of things.
The 1963 Constitution was working fairly well. The military struck. We must let people know the damage of the incursion of the military into the country’s politics as a nation. We must put that in our constitution if we want to be honest. We must put it there that we killed so many people. In 1966, we wasted lives. We must admit that there was a civil war. We must also admit that as at now, we are in a war without declaring a battle and that what is going in Nigeria is a genocide. We must also appreciate that there is inhumanity of man to man. There is wickedness. There is oppression. There is corruption unlimited, unrestricted and unimagined. There is no love for the nation. These are my prognosis.
When you talk of restructuring, my idea of restructuring is so different. You have to restructure the psyche of everyone of us. You have to restructure the presidency. You have to restructure the National Assembly. You have to restructure the police, armed forces and schools and let power go back to where it should be, particularly, the states. You have to allow people to function without stifling opinions. You have to respect the feelings of others and play down religion. Then, we just sit down to agree on all these modalities and the modules.
But we aren’t talking, instead, we are arguing.
The southern governors had their Asaba Declaration recently and some people are saying,‘look, they can’t do it.’ I am surprised if governors cannot decide what happens in their states, then what power do they have? Let me read the Forestry Law of Ondo State to you which applies to every state in the South-West. Section 42(1g) of the Forestry Law of Ekiti State is also section 42(1g) of the Forestry Law of Ondo State. Look at what it provides-whoever in any forest reserve, except with the authority in writing of the prescribed officer, trespasses in any part of the forest reserve, in which trespass can be prohibited by the order of the Military Governor (now the Governor) for any period specified by the Governor, shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine of N200 or to imprisonment of 12 months or both. I was Attorney General of Ondo State. Any trespasser to any of the forest from Ore to Ondo to Akure to Okitipupa to Ilaje to Owo to Ado to Ijero to Moba to Omuo to Ikole to Ifaki to Efon were being prosecuted on a daily basis by the Ministry of Justice, including the citizens of the state. And people are now saying we cannot talk. At a point in time, people like us were saying let us come together and let us talk. But, what do we do when people are saying no we can’t talk? Dr Kayode Fayemi, the Governor of Ekiti State, made a point clear that we have problem in Nigeria because of inequality and oppression. I agree with him. Then, how do we end it? He is a leading member of the All Progressives Congress (APC). He is the chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum. Now, how do we do it? Justice and fairness are the two words so potent, so heavy and so deep. In the absence of these two, what are we? St. Aquinas said it: “Human beings are like a gang of animals.”
Justice and fairness can only be restored by going back to the basics and again, asking ourselves questions. It is not possible for the 1999 Constitution to lead us to any Eldorado. To me, the Federal Government and whoever is there, not Buhari per se, who becomes the president tomorrow and operates this constitution, will do the same thing. Have you seen a country that will be regulating its local governments? It is not the business of the Federal Government but the state governments. Have you seen a constitution that will create local government for Ikere where I hail from? It is never done anywhere.
What about the legal system sir?
Have you seen a constitution that even when it comes to my own profession, it has unitarised the legal profession? It has unitarized completely the judiciary in Nigeria. And some people are saying that there is no difference between the 1999 and the 1979 Constitutions. Under the 1979 Constitution, appointment of the Chief Judge of a State was the responsibility of the state. Under the 1999 Constitution, you have to go to the National Judicial Council (NJC) for the appointment of the Chief Judge of a state. Under the present dispensation, we have the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, federal high court, National Industrial Court, Security and Exchange Tribunal, all federal courts. Tribunals are also established by the Federal Government to adjudicate on who wins elections into the House of Assembly in Osun State, where you come from or who represents you in the House of Representatives or who is a senator in your area. Tell me, where is that done? And even lawyers keep quiet. We also have the Code of Conduct Tribunal that has now been so empowered to remove anybody, including governors. It was Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) yesterday, it might be anybody tomorrow. It might even be the President, because precedents have been laid. We have the High Court of Federal Capital Territory that has now amassed and appropriated humongous responsibility. If there is a matter in Osun state, you can take it there. Where is that done anywhere? When you how look at section 251 of the 1999 Constitution, it has given unrestricted powers to the federal high courts to the disadvantage of the state high courts. In 1979 Constitution, the jurisdiction of the state high court is unlimited. Now, under the 1999 Constitution, the jurisdiction of the state high court is subject to the jurisdiction of the federal high court. Where is that done?
On ordinary labour matters, if there is a problem between Osun State Government and the staff of the Osun State television and that staff is sacked or the state government wants to sack that staff, Osun State Government has to go to the National Industrial Court, when there is a high court in Osun State. The state high courts are now left with what we call agrarian jurisdiction (laughs).
It looks like Abuja is taking nearly everything over.
Before our very eyes, everything is now being controlled by Abuja, including primary education, with the Federal Government controlling the syllabus. Federal Government has to decide in my own area in Ondo, whether or not we can teach history about the past culture, values, the antiquities, memoirs of the Yorubas. Come on, where is that done? We say we are in a secular state but are we secular? Political parties should be institutions- Republican and Democrats and Labour and Conservatives. Do our political parties have ideologies? No. Do they have structures? No. Are they democratic? No. Are they dictatorial? Yes. Are they impulsive? Yes. Can you compare today’s politicians with Awolowo, Sardauna and the likes? No. Do they have orientation? No. Is there a difference between the leading political parties? No. They are practising harlotry. Have you watched the video clip of how the Western Region House of Assembly was inaugurated, the queen was represented; the mace was presented, Anthony Enahoro made the speech, followed by the leader of opposition, Adegoke Adelabu and then followed by Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Our children don’t even know any of those things. Did you see the aura, the decency and the grandeur?
The President of the Senate, whom I respect, said he does not believe in restructuring. Then, what are you amending? Then, he challenged the southern governors to first of all go and give freedom to their local governments. Wow! Look at my own profession- for the past two months, the staff of the judiciary nationwide have been on strike. Courts have been under lock and key. I am a pundit that judiciary must be freed. It is part of a new order. What they are asking for is tokenism. We are asking that it should be a constitutional imperative. We are saying it should be part of the norm, part of the culture and that judiciary should be on its own. Judges themselves must be independent of all powers and principalities.I don’t even pray that we have a more evil day than we have now. But, they are postponing now. And they should read history.
Some of the provisions of the 1963 Constitution may not fit into the times we are now. So, how do we balance the 1999 Constitution you deem unworkable and the 1963, which isn’t wholly applicable?
I am not even saying we should adopt 1963 on a wholesale manner. No, but it is a good starting point. This one, (1999 Constitution), is not a starting point. And when did we agree that we should continue this presidential system of government? Have you ever watched the proceedings of the parliament in the Western Region? Awolowo, as premier, was sitting there. Opposition was on the other side. He would raise an issue, debate and defend it. He had to be there, compared to the parliament in Lagos. Should it be this elaborate if we had agreed to this presidential system of government? Should it be this expensive, mercurial, dehydrating, suffocating and mesmerising? We are practising merchandising. Can the economy cope with this extravagance or can the extravagance also cope with this economy? That is where the 1963 Constitution comes into play. You can adapt it to the situation. One good thing you can pick from (General Sani) Abacha is the division into six geo-political zones. So, they could cope with a regional government. You come back to the old times which are better times. It was the minorities then that had fears. Even the so-called majorities now are so fearful. There is no other alternative to having a new normal. I am not saying I know it all. At least, I have given my own suggestions. Are they listening? I have defended them all. Is it APC, PDP, CPC, APGA, or Zenith Labour. But, the time has come to face the reality. Graduates have no jobs; they are roaming the streets. Policemen are being killed. Soldiers are being slaughtered here and there. And again, we must appreciate the sovereignty; sovereignty of different ethnic groups in Nigeria; sovereignty of the governors who represent their people. There are many sovereignties within the federation. Each governor is sovereign within his own sphere of influence. That is what the Federal Government of today does not recognise. In International Law, every state governor is a sovereign. He enjoys immunity like the President. And that is the basic principle of International Law. One sovereign state cannot adjudicate over another state. It is forbidden in International Law. But, the Nigerian President is worshipped, like a deity. It started with (Olusegun) Obasanjo and that cannot be democracy.
Personally, are you for a return to the parliamentary system of government?
Oh sure! We can moderate it. I have given my reasons. Nigerian cannot survive under the present presidential system of government as practiced. It is too flamboyant. It is too expensive; it is too luxurious.
Again, your personal preference. Are you now advocating that the geo-political zones should have their individual constitution?
Oh yes. They are entitled to. So, why should we deceive ourselves? Don’t we have the anthems? Does Arewa not have an anthem? Does the West not have an anthem? Is the Deltan group without an anthem? They should have their own constitutions. Then, there must be respect and reciprocity of respect for the constitutions. There must be fairness. Do you know what? Even if we are to go with the 1999 Constitution, one of the things we suggested to Obasanjo was that we are going to make it truly a Federal Republic; we are going to amend it for him and for Nigeria and we said he should let there be a tenure of five years for president and governors.
Perhaps, that was why he snubbed you?
He snubbed me. He said look at this lawyer. He has spent eight years now. Has he not left the place?
Is five years single term not too short?
My dear, anything you cannot achieve in five years cannot be achieved till eternity, assuming you have eternity.
Are you trying to side-step the idea of second term?
Yeah. I was the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) for two years and I satisfied my conscience in two years. I was a pro-chancellor for four years and I satisfied my conscience. What exactly are we talking? If you want to serve, why do you have to be there for eight years?Former American President, Jimmy Carter, spent four years. Even in Nigeria, we are feeling his presence and impact. Then, the institutions must work, either parliamentary or not. Nigeria does not have working institutions.
Is that not due to the impunity of those who are running the country?
It is the impunity of all of us. We are docile. We don’t appreciate things. Nigeria is the only country where a governor comes to your area for the construction of a new road and you are praising him as if he is next to God. Your money; your rights and your taxes. Do you know that a lot of things have become Nigerianised, even the way young boys here; the way people beg for money? The way people harass. The way they kill.
You are advocating devolution of more powers to the states. Do we have the quality of governance at that level to manage these powers?
This is because we have monetised our electoral process. People, who know what it takes to offer selfless services, cannot come out because they don’t have the means. We are not even allowing the young ones to breath. What was the age of Awolowo when he became a premier? And you know what we remember him for today was during his premiership stint in Western Nigeria; his performance, not as opposition leader in Lagos but as a premier. So, how can you say do we have the materials? Yes, we have the materials.
You are saying if we put the right system in place, it will produce the right quality?
How do we persuade the ruling class we have now to buy into this wonderful idea?
They have no choice.
How do we stop the ongoing review process?
Which process? The process will stop itself.
But some of the zonal hearings have been concluded?
I know that they will amend the constitution. They might put whatever they think, and fancy. But, it won’t work.
But, that will keep us where we are now.
Well, that is why you are also interfacing with me.
Can judiciary come into this?
What are we going to ventilate in court? In fairness to the court, what are we going to ventilate? The constitution says that the National Assembly shall make laws for the peace and progress of the country. What they are doing now is not aimed at the peace, progress and stability of Nigeria. But they have a right to be wrong. Just like the court which has a right to be wrong. We are telling them but they don’t want to listen. Under a normal situation you want to amend the constitution of Nigeria, special invitations should be extended to people like us, without being immodest. It should be extended to the Afe Babalolas of this world, Nwabuezes of this world, to the Sagays of this world, to the Oyebodes of this world. That is the way it should be done.
So, no contact was made with you, sir?
No, they won’t because they know my opinion. They won’t want me there, and I have asked you that when they bring out the amended constitution, are they going to amend the preamble?
But, can’t they use the zonal hearing to cure the “We the People” preamble?
That will be fraudulent. All the constitutions I have read to you are fresh and not amendment.
So, we should sit down and write a new constitution?
Oh yes. We have no choice. We can use the 1963 Constitution as a working paper. And we ask ourselves-where did we get it wrong? And mind you, what was the reason for the coup of July 29,1966? Aguiyi Ironsi was trying to unitarise Nigeria. Is that not where we are now? A unitary system of government cannot work in Nigeria. The Yoruba people have been sovereign before Lugard and his mistress came to Nigeria. Ditto for the Hausas and Igbos.
Are you making a presentation to the National Assembly?
I am not going to do anything because they will not listen. Except you are advising me now. I don’t want to blame the governors as such. They are incapacitated. A governor points out that somebody is planning evil in his state and that person had been apprehended. So, what does that governor do? He would have to run to Abuja, and there is one Nigeria Police Force. Federal Government sends down the police officers but the states fund them more often than not. In my own little way in Ikere, I have rehabilitated police stations there not once or twice, and now we are making efforts to rebuild one of those burnt during the EndSARS protest.
I have a very brilliant senator representing me at the National Assembly, Biodun Olujimi. She has not called me to say,‘egbon, what do you see about this?’ I have somebody representing me in the House of Representatives, but he has not called me. I am not indicting Olujimi. She calls me on some things but she has not called me on this. And I challenge everyone of them how many people have they called on in their different constituencies. Nigeria belongs to all of us. And where their supposed wisdom ends, others’ starts therefrom.
Are you part of the summit Chief Afe Babalola is working on?
I have not been invited.
Is there any possibility that you can get like-mind to write a constitution, not for government, but for the generality of Nigerians?
I have got calls from different quarters that we should do something like that and then pass it to them. John Nwodo is so passionate about it. He called me several times to say, “Wole, can’t we do something?” See, I respect the views of Afenifere. But, the dilemma here which might also be the dilemma of Afenifere, is that since 1999, I have been talking about restructuring and now we are coming to the situation whereby people are saying we don’t even want restructuring. So, what do you do? And in any event, this (proposed) constitution will take care of restructuring.
So, the new rule book will take care of the agitations for secession?
I have this suggestion: Buhari still has two years to spend. Let him complete his tenure. We have two years to work and interface. But, let say bye bye to the 1999 Constitution. And let us all agree that Obasanjo, (Umaru) Yar’Adua, Goodluck Jonathan and Buhari will be the only four presidents Nigeria will produce under the 1999 Constitution and under this arrangement. Rwanda we are talking about got themselves sorted out in one year. And within the one and the half years, we will get ourselves sorted out. We have the 1963 Constitution and we have the Jonathan’s 2014 National Conference papers. And we have to listen to those who are protesting and give them assurances and reassurances that we will change. They are protesting against injustice in the country. And we have to involve the youths. As a student of the University of Lagos, we booked an appointment to see General Yakubu Gowon right here at Doddan Barracks in Ikoyi, Lagos. We routed our application through the Students’ Affairs Office. Oprah Benson was our Student Affairs officer. Ebenezer Babatope was the deputy. And within two hours, Gowon replied us that he wanted it and his doors were opened. We came here to Doddan Barracks and we addressed him. That was even under military dictatorship, and I addressed him and that was how we became friends. He was at Ikere on April 26 as my guest. Now, everything government does is right. We have killed the psyche of our people. When you criticise government, they would shout. I was at an event, where Comrade Adams Oshiomhole was having the Nigerian Labour Congress summit and he invited me for the opening ceremony. And Obasanjo was there too and the dignitaries filed out to exchange handshake with Mr. President. I was standing next to Oshiomhole. After greeting Oshiomhole, he just jumped to the next person (laughs).
Sir, how would you answer the 2023 question in the face of all these?
Whoever, whether advertently or inadvertently, consciously or deliberately, knowingly or unknowingly, allows himself to take over the leadership of Nigeria under the present unitary structure rather than joining forces with well-informed and intentioned Nigerians for total rehabilitation of this unworkable constitution, will sooner or later come to the realisation that he is inheriting a burden garnished with a yoke, the ultimate result of which will be counterproductive to him and our people. Within now and 2023, we should and must put in place our own equivalent of a Magna Carta and institute a Marshall Plan for the re-engineering of this polity in diverse areas, including security , economy , education , basic ethics and ethos and values, as well as godliness, et al.
We need to publicly say sorry to and compensate the families and relations of those who have been killed, hacked down, raped, kidnapped, abducted or even harassed by or through bandits and banditry. Rather than threatening or harassing those who are genuinely complaining about injustice, inequity and unfair treatment, the patriotic thing to do is to reach out to them and seek reconciliation, with a promise and a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) entrenched in a new constitution that there shall be a definitive stop to injustice and cheating. The centre in Nigeria is daily grabbing and appropriating too much power and influence to the disadvantage and even disintegration of the assumed federating units and regions. Apart from issues relating to currency, immigration, foreign affairs and other ancillary subjects, all other matters, including security and policing must come to the Concurrent Legislative List and all residual matters must be left to the states and regions. For now, we must not only commend the Amotekun initiative by the South-West governors but also encourage and promote more of Amotekun outfits in our cities, towns and villages. We can do all these between now and 2023 if only there is sincerity of purpose. Democracy should be about governing the living and not the dead.