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Afenifere urges Obasanjo to join clamour for new constitution before 2023 poll

By Rotimi Agboluaje (Ibadan) and Kehinde Olatunji (Lagos)
13 January 2022   |   2:55 am
Pan-yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, has appealed to former President Olusegun Obasanjo to join other patriots to pile pressure on President Muhammadu Buhari

[FILES] Former Nigeria president Olusegun Obasanjo

Says statement on N’Delta resources inciting

Pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, has appealed to former President Olusegun Obasanjo to join other patriots to pile pressure on President Muhammadu Buhari for a new constitution before he leaves office.

According to the leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, though prominent Nigerians have indicated an interest in the Presidential seat come 2023, Afenifere will not support any candidate because it does not believe in the constitution on which the election would be based unless there is a change.

While describing the constitution as fraudulent, in a speech, yesterday, at Lekki, Lagos, entitled ‘Obasanjo’s Provocative Statement, Catalyst to Nigeria break-up’, Adebanjo alleged that as long as Buhari rejects restructuring, he remains the country’s number one enemy.

Obasanjo had insisted that it was wrong and unconstitutional for Edwin Clark or the Niger Delta region to lay claim to crude oil or any mineral resource in the area.

But Adebanjo expressed shock that Obasanjo was quoting from a military-imposed constitution, saying the constitution had been described as deceitful and rejected since its introduction.

“With my recent interaction with Obasanjo, I can appreciate his passion for a united Nigeria. But a united Nigeria does not exist from his own perspective and understanding alone.”

Nigeria has existed before the President of the country and our founding fathers had equally great, if not greater, passion for a united Nigeria.

“The obnoxious provisions of the 1999 Constitution have been the cause of instability in the country,” he added.
ALSO, in a statement made available to The Guardian in Ibadan, Oyo State, the National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Jare Ajayi, expressed disappointment that Obasanjo cited Nigeria’s “flawed” constitution to make the statement.

Adebanjo said the attempt by Chief Edwin Clark to put the record straight was rebuffed by Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), which supported the statement by Obasanjo.

“Before the issue degenerates into disputation between two respectable elder statesmen (Obasanjo and Clark), I owe a duty to our founding fathers to throw some light on the historical constitutional evolution of the country to help us move Nigeria forward,” Adebanjo stated.

He emphasised that the amalgamation and the decision of the founding fathers to live together under the conditions agreed to in Independence Constitution made other parts of Nigeria to lay claim to Niger Delta resources.