At book launch, Alaafin canvasses abolition of 1999 Constitution
The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III, has joined other Nigerians in calling for the abolition of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), stating true restructuring could not take place if the constitution still remains the nation’s law book.
At the launch, yesterday in Lagos, of translation of the document into three indigenous languages namely: Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo, and a unity book titled, “I love Nigeria my country,” authored by the convener, Prince Ade Ajayi, the monarch contended that the Constitution was not federal but unitary in nature.
Oba Adeyemi, who deplored the absence of top government functionaries at the event, regretted that Nigerian leaders have, over the years, shabbily handled the issues of restructuring so dear to the hearts of the citizens.
He said: “If we are sincere, the founding fathers of the nation, (Tafawa) Balewa and (Obafemi) Awolowo, at different times, stated that the present make-up of Nigeria cannot work, and will never work.”
That is the submission. And the only perfect thing we have done and nearer to the philosophy of Nigeria was the 1954 Constitution where the country was regionalised – the Western, Northern – and Eastern regions. Then, the Western Region has its way of governance, and not depending on other levels.”
The revered traditional ruler went on: “When the Army struck through the late Major-General (Aguiyi) Ironsi, they abolished the federal system and said Nigeria was becoming a republic. From that time, it (country) lost bearing. The Eastern, Western and Northern Nigeria were autonomous. Gowon only brought back the federation, but never with the regions.”
While commending the author for a good job, the Alaafin expressed disappointment that writers are not duly honoured, citing the treatment meted to the late Bishop Ajayi Crowther, who translated the Bible into Yoruba, but never got an exceptional respect from Nigerians that crossed his path.
The author, Ajayi, said the translation was to ensure every Nigerian, who could read and write is aware of rights and be able to defend them.
He added that the work was also his contribution to national development.
In his remarks, the chief launcher, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, represented by former Legal Adviser to the Lagos State All Progressives Congress (APC), Ademola Saddiq, recommended the books to Nigerians, saying they were would foster constitutional literacy in the country.