By Chukwudi Nweje
Afenifere has reiterated that President Muhammadu Buhari would remain the number one enemy of Nigeria so long as he opposes restructuring of Nigeria.
Speaking at a press conference, yesterday, its acting leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, in an address entitled, ‘Obasanjo’s provocative statement, catalyst to Nigeria’s breakup: Niger Delta resources don’t belong to Nigeria’ said the best advice the former president can offer, as an elder statesman is to counsel President Buhari to restructure Nigeria.
“I will passionately appeal to General Obasanjo to join hands with the other patriots to bring pressure to bear on President Muhammad Buhari to ensure change of the present fraudulent constitution by restructuring the present unitary constitution to the federal system agreed to by our fathers founding fathers before the 2023 elections. This will enable the nation move forward peacefully in unity and progress.”
He faulted Obasanjo’s argument that the resources in the Niger Delta belongs to Nigeria.
“When General Obasanjo asserts that the Niger Delta Resources is not owned by Niger Delta but Nigeria, is the General suggesting that God created the resources in Niger Delta when Nigeria came into existence in 1914, or it was there before the amalgamation?”
Obasanjo had last December said Niger Delta cannot lay claim to the crude oil found in the region as it belonged to the whole country not the region. He noted that there cannot be two sovereign entities within a country, and stressed that the situation cannot change until the Nigerian federation is dissolved.
But Adebanjo noted that Nigeria went through various unitary Constitutions with their accompanying problems under colonial rule until a federal constitution was promulgated in 1954.
He said some aspects of the 1954 constitution were incorporated into the 1960 and 1963 constitution, which he said encouraged fiscal federalism.
“Our colonial masters brought the various ethnic nationalities together through various constitutional reforms under a unitary form of government from 1914 to 1950 under Macpherson Constitution when Nigeria was divided into three regions namely Northern Region, Western Region and Eastern Region. The Macpherson Constitution collapsed following a motion by the late Chief Anthony Enahoro for self-government for Nigeria in 1956. Our founding fathers, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Sir Ahmadu Bello and Chief Obafemi Awolowo went to Lancaster House in London.
“It was at this conference that the defects in Macpherson unitary constitution were dissected and they settled for a federal constitution which became operative in 1954 with the establishment of the three autonomous regions headed by premiers. The provision of this federal constitution with some amendments was incorporated in the 1960 and 1963 Independence Constitution.
“The residual powers in the constitution reserved for the federating autonomous regions. Revenue allocation was agreed to be on derivation which you now refer to as resource control with the payment of 50 per cent (Section 140, 1963 Constitution) to the region where the revenue was derived.
“This was the peaceful co-existence position of the unity of the ethnic groups until 1966 when the military took over the government and abrogated the constitution agreed to by our founding fathers and set up the present 1999 constitution. The obnoxious provisions of this constitution have been the cause of instability in the country.”
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