The Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE) on Thursday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sponsor an executive bill that will introduce referendum into the country’s constitution and forward it to the National Assembly so that the nation can effectively entrench true federalism.
They also urged Buhari to forward another bill to the National Assembly for the establishment of the Constituent Assembly Commission, which would lead to the appointment of Constituent Assembly Commission members.
In a communique issued at the end of a crucial meeting and signed by the President and Secretary-General of YCE, Justice ‘Demola Bakre (retd) and Dr Kunle Olajide, respectively, YCE implored Buhari to ensure inauguration Constituent Assembly, with a view to producing a draft constitution, explaining that the draft constitution should be presented to Nigerians through a referendum.
But, YCE applauded Buhari for ensuring the conduct of free and fair governorship poll in Edo State in September, just they urged him to create level playing ground for the credible and acceptable governorship election in Ondo State on Saturday.
According to the communique, “we hope that from henceforth the Independent National Electoral Commission (INE), and security agencies will be professional in their duties during elections. We urge the National Assembly to present the Electoral Amendment Bill to Mr President soon and also urge the President to assent it into law promptly.”
“The YCE is also worried about the state of the economy and increasing debt burden. We appeal to the President to halt any further request for a loan and to look inward. We observe the use of hostile and harsh languages by the spokespersons of the presidency against Nigerians expressing concerns about Nigerians. The YCE urges Mr President to restrain his aides from further threatening the Nigeria people from speaking on the nation.”
“We also noted with concern that daunting challenges presently confronting the Nigerian nation in spite of the seeming efforts of the present administration”, stressing that the challenges amongst others include insecurity, poverty, youth employment, dilapidated infrastructure, and poor power supply.
“The YCE is convinced that the ‘Centralised Unitary 1999 Constitution’ is the bane of all the challenges confronting the Nigerian nation. The 1999 Constitution lied against itself by claiming that ‘We the people of Nigeria’ when it was written by a few people handpicked by the military administration.”
“It is an only proper federation, where the federating units retain their autonomy, explore, exploit and deploy their resources according to their priorities and pay a royalty to the Federal Government for the few unifying responsibilities assigned to the centre can there be progress.”
“In the First Republic, the Federal Government (the centre) only had 16 items on the exclusive list, the rest were residual; now on the exclusive list, there are 68 items. A principal default of the centralized 1999 constitution is that states and local governments were created arbitrarily by the preceding military administrations.”
“The council noted that as at 1983, Lagos and Kano had 20 local government areas each, adding that in 1999, Lagos still has 20 local governments, while the Kano of 1983 has been split into two states, Jigawa and Kano, with both having 77 local governments, saying: “Therefore, the political system, evolving from the dysfunctional 1999 Constitution is unjust ab initio, leading to disproportionate representation in the House of Representatives and Senate, unjust revenue allocation to different local governments and states, translating to unjust and pro-North political systems,” the communique concluded.
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