By Godwin Onyemaechi
The Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE) on Wednesday appealed to Nigerians, especially elders and youths to desist from issuing inflammatory statements capable of heighten tensions in the country.
The group made the appeal in a memorandum submitted at the South-West Zonal Public Hearing of the House of Representatives Special Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution in Lagos.
The memorandum was signed by Justice ‘Demola Bakre and Dr Kunle Olajide, the President and the Secretary-General of YCE respectively.
The elders, however, said that mere dialogue could not save the situation Nigeria had found itself but a totally new constitution.
“The 1999 Constitution must be withdrawn and replaced with a truly people’s federal constitution. The people, who are globally expected to be central to democracy, are at the fringes of the fraudulent 1999 constitution.
“Continuous ritualistic amendment of 1999 constitution can never remove the fact that Nigerian people are not part of the decision-making.The various indices of human development index in Nigeria has continued to deteriorate.
“A new federal constitution written by the Nigerian people with the experience of the last 60 years must replace the 1999 contraption,” the Yorruba elders said.
He lamented over the concentration of powers at the centre at the detriment of the federating units, saying the centre has been grabbing powers at the expense of the local government and states where people live.
Also speaking at the public hearing, Mr Rasak Olokoba, the Convener, Coalition of Oodua Self Determination Groups (COSEG) said that the current amendment could not guarantee a peaceful society except a brand new constitution.
Olokoba said that the 1999 constitution was fraught with irregularities and did not represent the aspirations of the Nigerian citizen considering its false foundation.
“The insecurity pervading our country can only be resolved by genuine constitution making process that affirms equity, justice, and fairness which are lacking in the 1999 constitution (as amended).
“We came to conclusion that the 1963 constitution drafted with the burning nationalist spirit remains the most appropriate and fit for the country.
“Our position is that 1963 constitution possesses a common consensus that accommodate fundamental and contextual framework in addressing present day realities in Nigeria,” Olokoba said.
According to him, since one cannot build something on nothing, continuous review of a flawed document like the 1999 constitution would remain an exercise in futility.
The convener called for total resource control by the region and remittance of certain percentage not more than 25 per cent, to the centre.
He added that there was the need for regional police model that would be totally under the control of the region.
Also, a Journalist, Samson Toromade proposed a reactivation of recall process to make people’s elected representatives to be responsive to the yearnings of the electorate.