The Pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, has said it would not think about 2023 elections until there is a new constitution in place.
Its acting Leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, told reporters in Lagos that restructuring is its goal, urging former President Olusegun Obasanjo to join other patriots in mounting pressure on President Muhammadu Buhari to pursue constitutional reforms.
Adebanjo advised that the current unitary constitution should be discarded for a federal system, as agreed by the founding fathers.
Accompanied by Senator Femi Okunrounmu, Chief Supo Sonibare, Pastor Adebayo Adenekan, Chief Tunde Onakoya and Lanre Anjolaiya, the elder statesman objected to Obasanjo’s remarks that the oil in the Niger Delta belongs to all Nigerians.
He said: “Nigeria does not own Niger Delta resources and the nation can only thrive if a change is made to the 1999 Constitution.”
Adebanjo added: “With my recent interaction with Gen. Obasanjo, I can appreciate his passion for a united Nigeria. But a united Nigeria does not exist from his perspective or understanding only.”
The elder statesman recalled that there was no Nigeria between 1914 and 1950, saying colonial masters brought the various ethnic nationalities together under a unitary system.
He said the conflicts over the form of government the nation needed led to the summoning of Nigeria’s political leaders – Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe, Sir Ahmadu Bello and Chief Obafemi Awolowo – by the then Colonial Secretary, Sir Oliver Lyttleton, to Lancaster House in London.
Adebanjo said the conference highlighted the flaws in Macpherson Constitution, making the leaders to adopt the 1954 Federal Constitution that created the three autonomous regions, each of which was presided over by a Premier.
The Afenifere leader said 50 per cent of the resources found on the land belongs to Niger Delta and not Nigeria, as earlier agreed.
He warned that failure to acknowledge this ownership might lead to commotion or breakup of Nigeria.
Adebanjo said: “The provision of this Federal Constitution with some amendments was incorporated in the 1960 and 1963 independence Constitution. The residual powers in the Constitution are reserved for the federating autonomous regions.
“Revenue allocation was agreed to be on derivation, which you now refer to as resource control, with the payment of 50 per cent (Section 140, 1963 Constitution) to the region where the revenue was derived.”