Saturday, 9 September 2017

North Advises Yoruba, Southerners To Tread Softly On Calls For 1963 Constitution

Northern elders and youths have cautioned the Yoruba, their South East and South South neighbours over their clamour for the country’s restructuring, as well as return to the 1963 constitution.

The two groups, which vehemently opposed the recent resolution of the Yoruba at a summit tagged, “Restructuring: The Yoruba Agenda 2017,” alleged that sustained agitation for restructuring would, in the final analysis, not augur well for the growth and development of the nation.

Secretary General, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) Anthony Sani, told The Guardian, yesterday, that calls for restructuring by the coalition of Yoruba groups, and those from South East and South South, as well as the return to 1960 and 1963 constitution were “puzzling.”

Arewa youths’ position was made known by President of the Arewa Youths for Progress and Development (AYPD), Comrade Danjuma Sarki, who said though “the constitution we are currently operating was hurriedly put together by the military in order for them to hand over power to civilians,” there were better ways to improve on it.

Sani said the calls were “puzzling in the sense that these are people, who profess to be jaunty face of democratic values, and who are expected to know how democracy works. I would not be tired of saying that while there are national consensus on problems of a nation, there are no similar national consensus on solutions to these problems. Hence the significance of multi-party democracy, which allows each political party to present a distinct method of solution as contained in the party’s manifesto, which it used
to canvass for electoral mandate.”

Sani argued that, “for the Yoruba to now call for restructuring of the country on the basis of the 1963 constitution, gives an impression that they do not know how to make their desires possible in a multi-party democracy.”

He maintained that, however good and laudable restructuring of the country may be, it has to be decided by Nigerians through a democratic process; no few people can make that decision on behalf of Nigerians.

“I am not sure if their restructuring is the panacea for the national malaise we are in. I say this because Nigeria practiced the confederate arrangement as symbolised by regionalism and parliamentary systems of government during the First Republic. These were abolished and supplanted by a unitary system by General Aguyi Ironsi, who felt the centre under confederation was too weak to keep the nation under one roof.”

The ACF scribe added that, “the North and the West, under Chief Awolowo decided to create a federation of 12 states, which was a compromise between confederation and the unitary system,” noting that “since then, the states multiplied to 19, 30 and now 36, while we practice presidential system of government.”

Sani, who said some of those clamouring for the rejection of the 1999 constitution that is a clone of that of 1979 participated in its making, queried how the Federal Government under 1999 constitution, prevents state governments from living to their potential?

He said: “Lagos is developing today under the 1999 constitution, and nobody has stopped them from deploying what they collect from the federation account and internally generated revenue for development at their own pace. Is the Coalition of Yoruba groups claiming state governments misapply their own allocations because the sources are not from the states? This does not make sense. And can we honestly say the 52 per cent for the centre is truly too much in a country with many centres of centrifugal forces capable of putting it asunder? As far as I am concerned, there is nothing like true federalism that is universally accepted. That is why there are no two federal systems that are the same. Each federal system depends on the circumstance of its emergence…”

On how the nation can best be restructured under the present reality, the ACF Secretary General remarked: “as it is right now, the term restructuring means different things

Source: the guardian