We are of the opinion that a viable national democratic consensus should be reached in support of the spirit and tenor of the thoughtful memorandum presented by the State of Osun on the review of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The memorandum was initially presented to the Nigerian Senate in 2012 by the State Government of Osun as demanded by the National House of Assembly for substantial contributions towards the reviewing of the 1999 constitution which was deemed fit to be in need of immediate amendment.
We are very much aligned with the position of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, the State Governor of Osun that the need and strident call for restructuring the Nigerian Federal system should not be reduced to mere political sloganeering but seen as a salient issue worthy of consideration by all patriots in the country. In his opinion, “It must therefore be rich, robust and backed with concrete and pragmatic proposals”.
It is unfortunate that the word ‘restructuring’ itself has come to be (mis)interpreted in some quarters as a rather offensive buzzword or shibboleth with a sinister undertone. Therefore the call by Ogbeni Aregbesola for a “rich, robust (debate)” is a very sensible call to redirect the territory of debate from fear and misunderstanding towards achieving a Nigeria blossoming with peace, tranquility and unmatchable development in all ramifications within its peers and at the international stage at large, a position it ought to have taken long ago.
There is of course, no need to reinvent the well. The memorandum is therefore, very sensible in supporting a return to the pre-1966 federalist framework. The tenor and spirit of the 1963 Republican Constitution represents the basis upon which the contending parties in a diverse entity negotiated for the nation’s independence. The rather senseless abrogation of this constitution via the absurdly depicted “Unification” decree No 34 of 1966 stirred the hornets’ nest and is without any iota of doubts traceable to the root of our perennial boom to bust economic cycles, national discord and national underachievement.
We thank the government of the State of Osun for opening this up for a debate in which we intend to be thoughtful participants.
The 1963 constitution established the Nigerian federation. It is in spirit with the mode in which the ‘union of states’ (as they say in India) of an ethnically diverse and multi-religious entity coalesce into peaceful coexistence. This spirit must be reinstated.
We thank the government of Osun for opening this up for debate in which we intend to be thoughtful participants. We thereby enjoin all, most especially relevant sectors to embrace the proposal with an open mind and do their best to make it realizable, as this yardstick for a “best” Nigeria we have at one point nurtured in our hearts.