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Nigerians have lost faith in N’Assembly on constitutional amendment –Afenifere

…tackles FG on restructuring

The Pan Yoruba Socio-political group, Afenifere, yesterday tackled the Federal Government over the claim that President Muhammadu Buhari will not be intimidated on constitution conference and restructuring. Also, the group said the failure of people to submit memoranda for amendment of the Constitution to the National Assembly was because of loss of faith on the lawmaking body by Nigerians.

The Secretary of the group, Chief Sola Ebiseni, said the clamour for secession by different groups in the country was because of the failure of the Federal Government to accede to the demand for restructuring by ethnic nationalities. President Buhari’s spokesman, Mr. Garba Shehu, had said the president would not be blackmailed or intimidated into convening a conference or listen to those agitating for the bifurcation of the country. But Afenifere said it was one of the campaign promises made by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to restructure the country and that was the reason for the setting up of the Mallam Nasir el-Rufai committee to restructure the country.

The mainstream Yoruba group faulted the claim that the President would not be pressured to accede to the clamour of Nigerians for restructuring because the current vexed constitution had provided a mechanism for amendment, through the National Assembly, which anyone desirous of change should approach. Pointedly, Ebiseeni said the Southern Leaders, Middle Belt Forum, Arewa Consultative Forum and the Northern Elders’ Forum, have all reached a national consensus on the imperative and inevitability of restructuring. His words: “In the face of continuing insecurity and general misery in the land, the President’s response was, as usual, so uninspiring and insensitive that Garba Shehu may be right that no situation could push the President to improve on his government’s lacklustre performance, particularly on the fundamental issue of security of lives and property and the nation’s economy.

“Truth be told, however, Nigerians have looked beyond President Buhari on salvaging what is left of the country. If the people do not bother to submit further Memoranda to the National Assembly, it is because they no longer see the need as the National Assembly cannot be a judge in its own cause, being itself a subject of restructuring. “If the National Assembly has no courage to look into the reports of the 2014 National Conference and of the el-Rufai True Federalism Committee of the ruling party, no such exercise by the National Assembly is worthwhile. “Buhari and his government needs to be reminded that the call for conference of the people to take back their country, even with an elected government and parliament in place, is neither unknown nor new to history.

“India is a federation like Nigeria. Buhari is neither as popular, politically suave, nor as respected as Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Nehru was forced by the people to appoint the States Reorganisation Commission in 1953 which recommendations reorganised Indian states along linguistic groups. “Our small western neighbour, Republic of Benin, under the elected government of President Mathew Kerekou, commissioned a National Conference in 1990 which recommendations birthed a new constitution of the people which has since endured. Those nations are not even threatened with such a level of failure as the Nigerian State is today.”

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