The Nigerian Senate on Wednesday made sweeping decisions on 33 items to be amended in the 1999 constitution, but the Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE), same day, asked urged Federal Government to jettison the amendment and urgently begin the process of restructuring the country.
The YCE stated this after its 19th National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in its Ibadan headquarters. The elders described the 1999 constitution as a pseudo-federal constitution which is actually a unitary constitution in disguise.
The communique issued by the council reads in part: “A constitution that virtually neutralizes the local government system which is nearest to the people has invariably consigned the people to irrelevance and put development at the grassroots in reverse gear. A constitution and system of government that continue to explore natural resources to enrich the ruling class at the expense of the people can not endure. This constitution compels corruption.
“Our country is presently confronted with daunting challenges of increasing youth unemployment which is fueling insecurity, kidnapping, armed robbery and separatist agitations. These challenges clearly show that Nigeria’s problems are foundational and structural, therefore, constitutional. Unending piecemeal amendments of the 1999 constitution can not work. It will merely be postponing the doomsday.
“The constitution must be discarded, and the 1963 constitution and the resolutions of the 2014 National Conference should be used as a template for a new ground rule which will be submitted to the people in a referendum.”
The council hailed regional integration efforts of governors in Southwest states and vowing to support their efforts.
The YCE also condoled with the families of the late Alagba Adebayo Faleti and Dr Olu Onagoruwa. The duo passed away last week.
The council described Faleti as a cultural icon of Yoruba land, Yoruba language exponent, poet and dramatist. It also described Onagoruwa as a foremost solicitor and advocate, a human rights activist and fighter for press freedom.
The council’s communique was issued by Secretary, Dr Kunle Olajide, on behalf of the President General, Chief Idowu Sofola (SAN). Other NEC members at the meeting included Prof. Adetohun Ogunseye, Chief Mrs Bola Doherty and Chief Ayo Ojebode