Politics

How Tinubu, Akande, Osoba missed opportunity to rewrite 1999 constitution – Adebanjo

Afenifere chieftain, Pa Ayo Adebanjo said President Bola Tinubu and his South-West counterpart governors missed the opportunity to rewrite the nation’s constitution when Nigeria returned to democracy in 1999....CONTINUE.THE.FULL.READING OF THE ARTICLE>>>

Adebanjo stated this in an interview on Channels Television on Friday.

According to him, the former governors failed Nigerians because they were too frightened to insist on a people’s constitution when they had the opportunity.

Recall that Tinubu served as the Lagos State governor from May 1999 to May 2007.

Adebanjo noted that Tinubu was among the six governors of the South-West who “chickened out” from demanding a Sovereign National Conference after the then military Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar, decided to return the country to democracy after the death of ex-military dictator Sani Abacha.

Adebanjo, however, said Tinubu now has the opportunity to rewrite the 1999 Constitution now that he is in office as Nigeria’s President.

The elder statesman said Tinubu now has an opportunity to rewrite the mistakes of the past by ensuring that Nigerians decide on a constitution they agree to govern their co-existence.

He said Nigerians deserve a better constitution, as against what he described as the “military-imposed constitution” still operational in the country since 24 years ago.

Adebanjo noted that a brand-new people’s constitution will end the menace of insecurity, adding that a people’s constitution will make room for state police.

He said, “There was a clamour for a Sovereign National Conference at that time (in the buildup to the 1999 election). The military said they were going back to the barracks and we said, ‘Well, go back to the barracks with your constitution; it’s your baggage and return us to where you met us.

“If you are not going to do that, schedule another conference and we will agree on how to live together’.”

He said the Yoruba socio-political group Afenifere refused to take part in any deliberations with the Abdulsalami Abubakar regime but later agreed to take part in the 1999 election after getting assurances that there will be a Sovereign National Conference thereafter.

Adebanjo said, “So, we contested that election on protest. This is why I disagreed with Ex-Governors (Bisi) Akande and (Segun) Osoba. When we were campaigning for them to be governors, it was on the heels of federalism, and Sovereign National Conference.

“We insisted that the constitution must be changed. So, when we (Alliance for Democracy) came in, we got the mandate of the people; we won the election in the whole of the Western Region;

“…We told all our governors including Bola Tinubu not to go to Abuja until the Federal Government changed the constitution but they chickened out; they were involved in the paraphernalia of office… that is the beginning of the struggle of Nigeria.”

Adebanjo said all the six state assemblies in the South-West at that time passed a resolution for a Sovereign National Conference but “all our governors disappointed us.”

He said, “If the Western Region didn’t take part in any of the activities in Abuja, the Eastern Region will follow us and we will all be forced to come back to the table again.

“They (South-West governors) chickened out, they sold the Nigerian people, they disappointed us. And that is why I said the wrong at that time, Bola Tinubu is in a position to rewrite it now by changing the constitution now to what we wanted it to be.

“And it is not a long thing to do; take the 2014 National Conference Report, take the (ex-Governor Nasir) El-Rufai Constitution Recommendation of the APC, set up a committee to reconcile the recommendations and we will move on.”

“We are now talking of insecurity, kidnapping, how can insecurity be solved when those fighting it are in Abuja? It is not possible. All the governors have been clamouring for state police, for the policing system to be localised…When security is localised, they will take care of their people.

“We copied our federalism from Britain and the United States but have you heard of the Inspector General of Police in America? All you have is the Cosmopolitan Police.”

On claim that the governors would abuse state police, Adebanjo said, “The constitution says that governors are chief security officers of their states but you deprive them of the role.”

Adebanjo said Nigerians are tired of empty promises and reassurances, adding that “We are tired, we want double action. Until we go back to agree on conditions for us to live together, we will never get peace.”

About the author

Bunady

JOLOWO BUNALAYEFA PIUS is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for BUNADY NEWSLITE GLOBAL ENTERPRISE (Bunady.com). He started his Blogging/Journalism career at God's Own Wireless Company 2012. He's a graduate of Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba Akoko Ondo State, with a major in History And International Studies. You can contact him for press events, advertisement promotions on Email: contact.bunady@gmail.com

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