Serving Overseer of The Citadel Global Community Church (CGCC) and Convener, Save Nigeria Group (SNG), Pastor Tunde Bakare, has described the 1999 constitution as draconian and lopsided sham which must be torn down for the country to move forward.
In his State of the Nation address tagged: “The Black Box of Nigeria’s Politics,” which was relayed from his Lagos church, yesterday, he said if President Muhammadu Buhari does not tear the constitution down and push for restructuring of the nation, not only would history record that he failed to rise to the occasion, he would have squandered a great opportunity.
He said many of those who say Nigeria’s unity is non-negotiable pay lipservice to a version of unity that serves their selfish interests.
“Our founding fathers signed a contract in 1960 detailing the terms and conditions of our union or unity following a series of negotiations. This contract was then updated in 1963 following due consultations. While the 1999 Constitution opens with the preamble: “We the people,” ‘we, the people of Nigeria’ were neither duly consulted nor did we accept the conditions under which we are now being governed. How, then, can anyone hypocritically insist that our unity is non-negotiable? Did we not negotiate it in 1960 and 1963?
“The majority of the champions, promoters and supporters of the “our unity is non-negotiable” slogan pay lipservice to a version of unity that serves their selfish interests. What they are insisting on, in reality, is that ‘our disunity is non-negotiable’ and that we must be forced to live together irrespective of the inherent dysfunctionality of the terms and conditions. The continued insistence on altering the set rules in the midst of our spirited game of national development, and the subsequent imposition of a draconian and lopsided concoction of a constitution in 1999 is the most inhibiting, corrosive spanner thrown into the wheel of our national unity and faith, peace and progress, from that time until now. I am fully persuaded, as are many fellow compatriots within and outside the shores of Nigeria, that the 1999 Constitution, whether as amended or to be further amended by the National Assembly is nothing more than a glorified death certificate.”
Pastor Bakare added that what the country needed was a geo-political structure that would provide an enabling environment for every zone to maximise its geo-economic opportunities and potentials under a strong country and that this can be achieved by a pragmatic approach to restructuring Nigeria rather than by mere zoning of the presidency.
“Once upon a time, the Berlin walls separated Eastern Germany from Western Germany until President Ronald Reagan in his indomitable manner spoke lucidly on live television to the president of the then Soviet Union.
“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall. Mr Gorbachev eventually did, and Germany is better off for it today. In the same spirit, I say to President Muhammadu Buhari. ‘Mr President, stop passing the buck to the National Assembly. Tear down this inhibiting concoction of a constitution; tear it down so we can build a truly great nation.’ This is one enduring legacy your administration can still secure before your time in power draws to a close. If you do, present and unborn generations of Nigerians will remember you for it and write your name in gold when the history of this period is written. If you don’t, history will record that you failed to rise to the occasion and squandered a great opportunity.”
He warned that those clamouring and waiting for genuine change to happen through the forthcoming 2023 presidential election without first insisting that the “imposed sham of a constitution must be torn and discarded are merely putting the cart before the horse. This is nothing but a prescription for retrogression. No tangible progress can ever be made by such an exercise in futility. It would be tantamount to building a superstructure on a faulty or shaky foundation.”