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27 Jul 2017

Discard 1999 Constitution, revisit 2014 confab resolutions, says Yoruba Council of Elders

The Yoruba Council of Elders, on Wednesday, rose from its 19th National Executive Committee meeting at its secretariat in Ibadan, calling for the 1999 Constitution to be discarded.
It said the legal document represented a unitary constitution in disguise and encouraged large-scale corruption.

The meeting, which was presided over by the President-General of the group, Chief Idowu Sofola (SAN), also had in attendance its Secretary-General, Dr. Kunle Olajide; its Treasurer, Chief Bola Doherty; among others.

In a communiqué read at the end of the meeting, the elders congratulated the South-West governors on the outcome of their meeting in Abeokuta on Monday.

The YCE also commended the commitment of the governors to regional integration in agriculture, economy, education and security.

According to the communiqué, the resolution of the 2014 National Conference must be used as a template to draft a new constitution for Nigeria, stressing that it was the only solution to the multifacetted challenges confronting the country.

The council stated, “The 1999 Constitution, which in fact is the old military Decree 24, is a pseudo federal constitution, a unitary constitution in disguise and it cannot work in a multi-ethnic country like Nigeria.

“A constitution that neutralises the local government system, which is nearest to the people, has invariably consigned the people to irrelevance and put development at the grass roots in reverse gear.

“A constitution and system of government that continue to exploit natural resources to enrich the ruling class at the expense of the people cannot endure. This constitution compels corruption.”

The communiqué added, “Our country is presently confronted with daunting challenges of increasing youth and graduate unemployment, which is fuelling insecurity, kidnapping, armed robbery and separatist agitations. These challenges show that Nigeria’s problems are foundational and structural, therefore, constitutional.

“Unending piece-meal amendments of the constitution cannot work because it will merely be postponing the doomsday.

“The constitution must be discarded. The 1963 Constitution with the resolutions of the 2014 National Conference should be used as a template for a new constitution which will be submitted to the people in a referendum.”

The YCE Secretary-General, Olajide, said the present democratic structure was built on a faulty foundation that only favoured the North because more local governments were created in the region while other parts of the country had limited council areas despite growth in population and land mass.

“The people, through a referendum, should decide what they want because this present parliament will not do the right thing.

“The 1963 Constitution and resolutions of the National Conference did not recommend full-time legislators. What we have now are full-time legislators who will throw out any change that will call for part-time legislators,” the YCE added.

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