First Republic Minister, Chief Mbazuluike Amechi and a former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Obong Victor Attah on Thursday faulted the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria.
They declared that the Constitution was imposed on the country by the military hence the mistrust among the different peoples of Nigeria.
The elder statesmen, who spoke separately at the 20thAnniversary of the Elliot Uko led Igbo Youth Movement held yesterday in Enugu with the theme “How to make Nigeria work,” called for a change of the current Constitution being used to run the country.
Amechi, who just clocked 90 years said: “Today we are living in a country that is full of danger. We are living in a country where there is no peace; today we living in a country where the majority live in fear.
“We are riding in a ship that may tip over and sink any day. Today, we are living in a country where the rulers refuse to listen to the loud cries of the ruled; today we are living in a country where the rich are getting richer and the poor getting poorer; today we are living in a country where the corrupt and criminal elements are in control; today we are living in a country that is ruled with a Constitution that is not the Peoples’ Constitution.
“In 1978 the military appointed a Constituent Assembly under the chairmanship of Chief Rotimi Williams. The Assembly produced a Draft Constitution, sent it to the military government and they edited it, removed what they did not like, added what thewy wanted and published the Draft Constitution as a Decree, by an illegal government that was never elected instead of putting the Draft to Nigerians for plebiscite.
“Again in 1998, the military appointed another Constituent Assembly and when they produced their result in 1999, the military edited it and published as a Decree. So the Constitution of 1979 and 1999 are not the Constitutions of the people of Nigeria. So I say it loud and clear that Nigeria is today ruled as an elected illegality.”
He suggested that for there to be permanent peace, the country must meet to renegotiate the basis of the union in a fraternal way.
“Those in authority are reluctant or unwilling to meet and find solution. The Afenifere, Ohanaeze, Niger Delta and Middle Belt organisations along with Southern Nigeria Peoples Union have all met and been demanding a restructuring of of the country. These elitist organisations cannot force or compel the powers that be to agree to restructuring, when the present position designed and crafted by their military leaders and handed over to them suits their purpose,” the nonegenarian posited.
On his part, Obong Victor Attah in his submission said that the greatest danger in the country today is the danger the country’s Constitution poses to it, adding that the Constitution has put us in a state of hopelessnes of which we must find a way out of it.
Attah frowned at the break up of the country but enthronement of a Constitution to would reflect true fedwralism.
According to him, such a constitution must adequately treat the issue of resource control, security (state police) and youth development.
The former governor made a strong case against regionalism, saying that we “should leave the states as the federating units. He as well disagreed with the view that only four states are viable in the country and insisted that all the states are viable.
“I don’t know how they arrived at that. There are countries in the world that any state in Nigeria is better than. The only problem is misplaced priorities where one person in government will haver over 35 paid assistants.”
Attah advocated for a new Constitution that has nothing to do with religion, and say no to unified salary structure because “standard of living is not the same all over the country.”
At the event were a delegation from Odua Peoples Congress (OPC) led by Alhaji Abdulsalam Ambani.