The pan- Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere has declared that it will not allow presidential candidates of any political party to use the promise to restructure Nigeria as a campaign tool in the 2023 Presidential Election.
In an interview with newsmen, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, elder statesman and acting national leader of the organisation, said the issue of Nigeria’s restructuring is long overdue and must be settled before the 2023 General Elections.
On why Afenifere is taking the position, Adebanjo said that many advocates of restructuring usually use it as a campaign tool but abandoned the cause the moment they started to benefit from the skewed system.
While describing the 1999 constitution currently in use as a fraudulent document, Adebanjo argued that the federation was very lopsided and there were too much powers concentrated in the centre, which had made the other federating units very weak.
According to him, “I am not going to allow restructuring to be a campaign issue again. We must settle it. No presidential candidate should come and use restructuring to campaign again. We are not going to allow that. We must know under what constitution we are campaigning”.
“ After the military asked us to go back to the civilian regime, we now said ‘send us back to the constitution you met us’. They refused to do that. We said let us agree on a new Constitution whether we want to live together or not on one condition, you refuse.
“ I have said it severally that Buhari and his administration have a private agenda and those of us who are resisting that private agenda are the ones he is accusing of plotting to separate the country. I am not saying anything new”.
Speaking further, Adebanjo said the 1999 Constitution must be changed for Nigeria to begin to move in the direction of peace and development which has eluded the country for many years.
“What I have been saying all along is that this Constitution is not ripe for us; that is the beginning of our problem. You can’t solve any economic, security or political problem until you have the right constitution. There must be political stability”.
“You can’t have inequality and iniquity in the constitution. That is why we are going to the root of the problem, be it corruption, insecurity, economic challenges and so on and we said let us change the current constitution. The constitution itself is corrupt.
He furher advised: “Go back to the Constitution, let us agree on how to live together; if we agree to live together before we do any election. That is what we are saying”.
“I won’t go into an election again without knowing what type of country I am in. There must be a country first. Is the country one today? The answer is no! Why don’t you allow us to settle that first? Was it not the Late John F. Kennedy that said: ‘those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent change inevitable?”.
“ Because the Federal Government doesn’t want to listen to the voice of reason, that is what is giving birth to agitation for secession by Igboho and Nnamdi Kanu”, he stated.