Soyinka, Anyaoku, Nwabueze, others urge Buhari to adopt PRONACO’s constitution proposal
As the move to tinker with the 1999 Constitution (as amended) gathers momentum, eminent Nigerians, including Prof. Wole Soyinka, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, Prof. Ben Nwabueze and Gen. Alani Akinrinade, have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to adopt the 2005 proposal presented to his predecessor, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan in August 2013, by the Pro-National Conference Organisation (PRONACO).
Reminding the Nigerian leader that he was part of the team via the Mallam Sule Hamma-led The Buhari Organisation (TBO) that drafted the pro-people constitution template submitted on May 27, 2007 in Lagos by Chairman of the People’s National Conference (PNC), the late Chief Anthony Enahoro, the elder statesmen asked Buhari to breathe life into the project.
Speaking through their joint collaborative secretariat manned by PRONACO’s spokesperson and National Secretary of Project Nigeria Movement (PNM), Sir Olawale Okunniyi, they commended the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Yoruba Summit Group (YSG) and Nigerian ex-leaders for endorsing the position that was also championed by other prominent citizens like Prof. Kimse Okoko, Solomon Asemota, Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu (rtd), Chief Olu Falae and Commodore Dan Suleiman (rtd) to resolve the nation’s pressing challenges.
A statement issued by Okunniyi noted: “The People’s National Conference (PNC) convened by PRONACO in 2005 under the chairmanship of the late Chief (Anthony) Enahoro and Prof. Wole Soyinka, practically, demonstrated and created a model of legitimate procedures for arriving at a popularly owned People’s Constitution for Nigeria, when about 200 nationality groups in Nigeria converged for 18 months in various parts of the country to adopt a 29-point resolution for resolving Nigeria’s national question, which subsequently formed the basis for a proposed People’s Constitution for Nigeria, presented to the country on May 27, 2007 in Lagos by Chief Enahoro.
“PNM, led by Prof. Ben Nwabueze, and working in consultation with a group of senior citizens initiated by the late Chief FRA Williams and later chaired by Nwabueze, moved the PRONACO people’s advocacy forward with the adoption of a legal procedure for producing a Constitution for Nigeria, which was presented to former President Goodluck Jonathan in August 2013, enabling President Jonathan to announce the convocation of a national constitutional conference for Nigeria on October 1, 2013, which was formally inaugurated on March 17, 2014 and celebrated by PRONACO stakeholders.
“However, it will also be recalled that General Muhammadu Buhari, leading The Buhari Organisation (TBO), coordinated by Mallam Sule Hamma, and the late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, leading the Ethnic Nationalities Movement (ENM), coordinated by Solomon Asemota (SAN), equally participated in the PRONACO constitutional process between 2005 and 2006, and were fully involved in the adoption of the 29-point resolution of the People’s National Conference, which formed the basis of the proposed people’s constitution for Nigeria presented to the country by Chief Enahoro.”
It went on: “In the light of the foregoing, we wish to state unambiguously that the way out of Nigeria’s current constitutional morass and quagmire foisted by the Nigerian military at its exit from power in 1999 through the imposition of Decree 24 called 1999 Constitution, which today has generated so much instability, insecurity and mutual mistrust in Nigeria, is for the President of Nigeria, who incidentally was privy to the PRONACO process, to immediately initiate and drive an executive national intervention bill for urgent amendment of Sections 8 and 9 of the 1999 Constitution to allow for a new provision/clause that will enable Nigerian citizens assume the sovereign powers of referendum either directly or indirectly over the making and ownership of the Nigerian constitution so that the National Assembly can also at some point, especially after the people’s referendum, enact an Act to repeal the military decree erroneously being tagged 1999 Constitution, which has badly battered Nigeria’s democratic experiment.”
They added: “To this end, a National Consultative Summit on the constitutional future of Nigeria, involving northern and southern elders and leaders of thought, has been proposed by our joint collaborative secretariat for October 1, 2020 to harmonise northern and southern positions in fast-tracking inclusive democratic resolution of the Nigerian national constitutional question.”
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