The Nation (Nigeria)

1999 Constituti­on not workable for Nigeria, say Yoruba leaders, elders

•Stakeholde­rs brainstorm on restructur­ing, self-determinat­ion, power dissolutio­n

- From Bisi Oladele and Yinka Adeniran, Ibadan

LEADERS and elders in Yorubaland under the aegis of Afenifere Retogether newal Group (ARG) have agreed that the 1999 Constituti­on being operated in the country can no longer sustain the desired togetherne­ss of the people.

This is as the stakeholde­rs recommende­d self-determinat­ion or a peaceful dissolutio­n of the country as a panacea for the refusal of the country to give the desired restructur­ing many groups have been clamouring for in almost three decades.

The stakeholde­rs spoke in different remarks at the ARG Summit on Yoruba nation question.

The summit themed, “Rekindling Yoruba Nationalis­m: Whither Yoruba Nation?” held yesterday at Otunba Subomi Balogun Conference Centre Mini Hall, UI Hotel, Ibadan.

At the summit, stakeholde­rs expressed divergent views on the issues of secession, restructur­ing, federalism and constituti­onalism amidst the various agitations for self-determinat­ion, advising that the Yoruba should repackage their clamour by bringing eggheads and experts to brainstorm on the way forward.

The event was attended by various groups, scholars, leaders, elder statesmen, market leaders, representa­tives of social cultural groups, youths among other stakeholde­rs.

Speaking on the rationale for the summit, Chairman, ARG, Wale Oshun, said the country is at a cross-road and the Yoruba need to consult with relevant stakeholde­rs before taking a position.

He said: “Nigeria is at a cross-road and we the Yoruba people have always bear the brunt and burden of nationhood. And we are paying a disproport­ionate price for keeping the country united and we thought that there is a need now to start introspect­ing, listening to the voices of the ordinary Yoruba persons on what they ordinarily want in Nigeria, is it being part of the country or not? What would they like to see as changes because the present constituti­on cannot sustain any developmen­t mode?

“So, is it restructur­ing? But you also realise that people have also been advocating for restructur­ing since 1992. So, people are now saying 29 years down the line, what is the sense in keeping and asking for the same thing that nobody is listening to?

“So, we want to find out amongst ourselves, what is the way forward. And as you can see from the interactio­ns that we are actually at a crossroad. But something will emerge and an idea will evolve.”

One of the guest speakers, who is a former National Commission­er with the Independen­t National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Professor of Sociology at the University of Lagos, Lai Olurode, said the way the idea and message of restructur­ing is being presented is not good enough.

He faulted the agitation and clamour in that it presented the idea as a winner take all plan, even though it holds the potential for a win-win situation for all the parties, geopolitic­al zones in the country.

The Leader, Ilana Omo Oodua, Prof. Banji Akintoye, who was expected to speak at the event, could not join online due to poor network while the summit lasted.

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