Yoruba leaders under the aegis of Yoruba Council of Elders (Igbimo Agba Yoruba), on Wednesday, called on the Federal Government, to discard the 1999 Constitution and adopt the 1963 constitution with the resolutions of the 2014 National delegates conference, as a template for Nigeria’s political development.
They made the call in a communique signed by the association’s President General, Mr Idowu Sofola, SAN and Secretary-General, Mr Kunle Olajide, at the end of its 19th national executive council meeting, held in Ibadan.
The communiqué read in part, “The 1999 constitution which in fact is the old military decree 24, is a pseudo Federal Constitution, (a unitary constitution in disguise), it cannot work in a multi ethnic country like Nigeria.
“A constitution that virtually neutralises the Local Government system which is nearest to the people has invariably consigned the people to irrelevance and put development at the grassroot in reverse gear.
“A constitution and system of government that continues to exploit natural resources to enrich the ruling class at the expense of the people cannot endure. This constitution compels corruption.
“Our dear country is currently confronted with dauting challenges of increasing youth/ graduate unemployment fuelling insecurity, kidnapping, armed robbery and separatist agitations. These challenges clearly show that Nigeria’s problems are foundational and structural, therefore constitutional. Unending piecemeal amendments of the1999 constitution cannot work, it will merely be postponing the doomsday.
“The constitution must be discarded, and the 1963 constitution with the resolutions of the 2014 National conference should be used as a template for the groundnoin which will be submitted to the people in a referendum.”
YCE while throwing its weight behind the call for restructuring, called on the Federal Government to do the needful and chart a new course for the political emancipation of the country.
YCE further lauded the South West government of Ogun, Lagos, Oyo, Osun, Ekiti and Ondo States on the successful outcome of their meeting held in Abeokuta on Monday,
commending the governors’ commitment to regional integration on agricultural, economy, education and security.
The council also expressed satisfaction with the region’s “decision to compel the teaching of Yoruba values and ethics. YCE applauds the setting up of a committee to advance the Yoruba ethics and values as instrument of Yoruba uniqueness for strengthening the region’s identity. The Igbimo Agba assures the governors of the Igbimo’s unwavering support for their efforts to improve the living standard of our people.”
On the irregularities in the payment of pension and ill treatment of pensioners in Nigeria, it said, “the benefits and pensions of these elderly people who spent the better part of their lives in the service of their fatherland are not paid as at when due.”
While further noting the hardship and humiliation under the guise of verification, urged the authorities concerned to consider that “old age predisposes the elderly to frequent illness which further puts pressure on their meagre irregular income; the humiliation and deprivation of these retiress also fuel corruption in the public service as most civil servants tend to justify their looting of the treasury as a way of preparing for the future to avoid state of penury after retirement.”
It then urged the Federal and state governments to make the payment of pensioners as benefits a priority.
YCE also condoled with the families of two prominent Yoruba leaders; Mr Adebayo Faleti and Mr Olu Onagoruwa, who died recently, describing their “death as a great loss to Yorubaland and Nigeria.”