Amidst the security challenges facing the country and the perceived poor response from the federal government, the leadership of certain socio-cultural groups has demanded a brand new constitution.
At a zoom conference organized at the weekend, the Yoruba socio-cultural organization, Afenifere, Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU), Anioma Redemption Group, Midwest Movement, South South-Groups amongst others submitted that the existing constitution was an encumbrance to the fight against the menace of banditry and kidnapping Nigerians are contending with.
Spokesman of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, while contributing to the topic, “Killer Herdsmen Invasion Of Southern Nigeria And The Middle-Belt Region, Causes And Solutions,” said only a new constitution that promotes federalism which accords autonomy to the federating states would give a true sense of belonging to both the major and minority ethnic components of Nigeria.
Odumakin further maintained that the present arrangement fuels mutual suspicion.
He said the envisaged new document should give latitude to every aggrieved ethnic unit to opt-out of the federation.
“According to him, ‘the Southern region of the country can’t continue to leave together with Northern Nigeria with the 1999 Constitution.
“We cannot live together with this constitution, let us write a new constitution with an option to opt-out if you are tired. What we have in Nigeria is a clash of civilizations.”
The Afenifere spokesman further accused President Muhammad Buhari of “executing the agenda of Fulani people in Nigeria.”
President of SOKAPU, Jonathan Asake, spoke in a similar vein.
While demanding a new constitution, he said the agenda of President Buhari was to promote the narrow interest of his Fulani race and supplant every other region to their dictate.
He argued that the plot has been achieved, substantially in the Southern Kaduna, adding that Buhari’s regime was taking cover under the 1999 Constitution to continue to allow Fulani to invade communities across the country.
He said: “There are deliberate plans to supplant and change the demography of Southern part of the country and Middle Belt, the 1999 Constitution should be brought down to tackle problem facing the country.”
Anniko Briggs, who aligned herself with the submissions of other speakers said
her aim right now was the survival of her Ijaw people, as he claimed that “Nigeria is dead already.”
Briggs said: “My aim is survival of my own Ijaw people because Nigeria is dead already, it is our own individual ethnic group that is alive. Nigeria has failed already, and I don’t want my people to fail with Nigeria. I want my people to survive.
“God did not make Nigeria, Lugard did.”
The Niger Delta activist further declared that the menace of the herdsmen was a battle of occupation to promote a hegemony and “warned that our independence is paramount and therefore should not be sabotaged by any group.”
Former Managing Director at Daar Communications Plc and President-General of the Midwest Movement, Dr. Don Pedro Obaseki, also agreed that there was a need for a new constitution to replace the 1999 Constitution.
He expressed concern over mutual ethnic suspicion in the country.
Former presidential candidate and publisher of Ovation Magazine International, Chief Dele Momodu, who also attended the conference described the present scary development as very similar to what the nation witnessed under the Buhari military regime.
Secretary, Eminent Elders Forum, Dr. Akin Fapohunda, called for a return to the 1963 Constitution and advised Nigerians to insist on a restructured polity before the next general elections.
The discourse was organized by Njenje Media Group and moderated by its Chief Executive Officer, Maazi Tochukwu Ezeoke.