The National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) has warned about the dangers associated with further delay to restructuring of the country to foster true federalism. They insisted, there is no alternative to it.
The umbrella pro-democracy group said only the representatives of the ethnic nationalities can write a new constitution for Nigeria and not the National Assembly that is toying with constitution review.
The group warned the Federal Government against blackmailing Southern and Middlebelt leaders that they are behind the agitations for disintegration.
It’s Secretary, Ayo Opadokun, said the organisation has endorsed the Southern Governors’s resolution and resolved to forward a strong letter to President Muhammadu Buhari to reiterate its rejection of the 1999 Constitution that was imposed by the military.
According to NADECO, since ethnic nationalities have no independent institution for crisis resolution and redress of justice, it has resolved to transmit a letter of complaint to eight world personalities and institutions.
They are the United Nations Secretary General, the UN Security Council, the President of the United States and Speaker of Congress and Leader of US Senate; the European Union and Parliament, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and the House of Commons, the Presudent of the Christian Association of Nigeri(CAN), the President of Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs of Nigeria, and two leading traditional rulers in each of the six zones.
NADECO warned that “any delay to prevent the occurrence of national crisis and upheaval in Nigeria with about 200 million citizens would be detrimental to the peace and wellbeing of its region.”
It was at its June 12 symposium at the Ndubusi Park, Alausa, Ikeja, yesterday with the theme: Federalism: Antidote to National Insecurity.
Speakers included Dr. Fred Agbeyegbe, Dr. Amos Akingba, Prof. Sylvester Odion-Akhaine, Mrs. Jumoke Anifowose, Olawale Oshun and Col. Tony Nyiam.
Also at the symposium were Nelson Ekunjimi, Raji Oyewumi, Tessy Urabir, Linus Okoroji, Samanta Kanu, Dr. Kolawole Afolabi, Foluso Aminu, and many artisans and peasants.
A minute of silence was observed in honour of the NADECO leader, Admiral Ndubusi Kanu, who passed on in January.
Opadokun recalled that NADECO came of age to anchor the struggle for the re-validation of the historic free, fair and credible election, which was annulled by the military.
He said the poll gave a pro-Nigerian mandate to the late Chief Moshood Abiola, who ran on the platform of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP).
He lamented the lack of justice and fairness in the unitary system, saying that only restructuring can restore true federalism.
Agbeyegbe described successive administrations since 1999 as obstacles to restructuring, warning that only a people’s constitution can reposition the country.
To Nyiam, the over-centralisation of security is injurious to federalism, urging Nigerians to continue their agitations for devolution of powers.
He said: ”The idea of having a centralised electoral commission undermines federalism. A centralised electoral commission can be manipulated by the central government.”
Akhaine, Head of Political Science Department, Lagos State University, Ojo, said the wish of the people and constitution framework are the key factors required for the consummation of a federal principle.
He added:”The people must agree before they can be in a federation.”
The university don also said that in federalism, only the central and states or regions are component units, adding that local councils should be the creation of the state.
He emphasised that, in Nigeria, only the federal and states are two tiers of government.
Oshun, Third Republic Chief Whip of the House of Representatives, said the constitution review embarked upon by the National Assembly is a joke.
He added:”The National Assembly cannot write a constitution for Nigeria. We can only have one country if we harken to the wish of Nigerians to put a people’s constitution together to give effect to restructuring and true federalism.”