JUNE 12: Nigerian constitution full of contractions, gives too much power to center – Yemi Farounbi - News at its peak

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JUNE 12: Nigerian constitution full of contractions, gives too much power to center – Yemi Farounbi

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Former Ambassador of Nigeria to Philippines, Ambassador Yemi Farounbi has described devolution of power to regions and reduction of items on exclusive list as the roots to Democracy, calling on Federal Government to act on restructuring as best way to solve socio-political challenges in Nigeria.

Farounbi stated this in Osogbo, Osun State capital during a Public lecture organised by the Ministry of Political Affairs and Intergovernmental Relations and Civil Societies Coalition to commemorate June 12 Democracy Day.

The former Chairman of the Social Democratic Party in the State said the items on exclusive list are too much and that has made the center to be more powerful. He also advocated for a holistic review of the 1999 constitution, stating that it “consists many contradictions”.

“The items on the exclusive list are too much and that has made the the center (federal government) too powerful. Powers are supposed to be close to the people and not far from the people as we have in Nigerian system.

“How would you explain the contradiction that Governors own all lands in their state but resources in the lands belong to the federal government? The constitution must be reviewed.”

Farounbi added that the Democratic setting that led to June 12, 1993 election, the most important aspect of that election was the primary, calling on political party to emulate the process.

In his lecture on importance of nation building, Dr Tunji Ogunyemi said the making of any nation is a gradual process, stating that no Nation is made, even the advanced countries.

“No Nation is ever made. All nations are in the process of being made, including the advanced state. This means the idea of perfect and nearly perfect state is not realistic.”

In his address, Governor Gboyega Oyetola who was the Special Guest of Honour at the event, noted that nationhood and democracy rest on strong institutions, equity, justice, political will and fairness, and that the absence of these kernels was responsible for our wobbled nationhood and democracy. Oyetola said everyone must find the courage to institute them in our polity to build a strong, virile and prosperous nation that we desire.

The Governor emphasised that “the time has come for us as a people, to focus and rely on our shared values and the things that bind us together to build a nation and a democracy that will deliver values and good life to the masses and enable Nigeria takes its place in the comity of nations. We must ensure we overcome and do away with the inherent failings in our system – ethnicity, religion, graft, etc. – which have continued to threaten our nationhood and democracy.

“The road to nationhood and democracy is in looking through the rear-view mirror to correct the anomalies in our journey so far, including those that made the fate of June 12 to befall us, and having the political will to birth a nation and a democracy that will truly make us to occupy our place as the Giant of Africa.”

“With dozens of natural resources in commercial quantities buried in its soil, thousands of human resources in the nation, a burgeoning population of youth who constitute over 60 percent of the nation, the profile of the nation as the most populous black nation in the world, there is no doubt that Nigeria has all it takes to lead the world if it gets governance and leadership issues right.”

In his remark, the Oragun of Oke-Ila, Oba Adedokun Abolarin emphasized on training and involvement of younger generation in in Democratic setting.

Earlier in his welcome address, Commissioner for Political Affairs and Intergovernmental Relations, Hon Taiwo Akeju highlighted the significance of June 12 in the history of Nigeria democracy.
Akeju, who was among pro-democracy activists that were detained during the struggle from r restoration of June 12, said the sacrifice and unity among Nigerians remains commendable. He urged all Nigerians to continue to protect democracy.

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