YPP Members Stage Protest At NASS, Demand Electoral Reform

 

Members of the Young Progressives Party (YPP) on Wednesday protested in front of the National Assembly demanding a restructuring of the nation’s security architecture.

Led by its national chairman, Bishop Amakiri the party members also called on the leadership of the National Assembly to ensure electoral reforms that will restore the confidence of the electorate in the nation’s electoral system.

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Amakiri while speaking with journalists during the protest appealed to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) to desist from overheating the polity.

“We are concerned about the level of insecurity in Nigeria. Also at the moment, Nigerians are calling for the rejig of the security apparatus. If the country is suffering from insecurity it also means that the economic growth of the country is stunted.

“We also believe that the electoral reform is necessary, there’s no any other time than now,” Amakiri said.

He noted that it is unfortunate for the courts to decide elections after the citizens have made their choice.

The YPP members later submitted their petition to representatives of NASS who received them in front of the National Assembly.

 

See photos from the protest below…

Nigeria’s Constitution Is Military, Illegitimate – Professor Oyebode

A Professor of International Law and Jurisprudence, Akin Oyebode.

 

A Professor of International Law and Jurisprudence, Akin Oyebode, has described the Nigerian constitution as military in nature and illegitimate.

Oyebode made the comment Tuesday on Sunrise Daily during a discussion of the Nigerian Senate’s recent decision to review the constitution.

He noted that the current constitution does not reflect the will of the Nigerian majority since it was cobbled together by a few people and imposed on the country.

The renowned academic also pointed out that it was not in the Senate’s place to give Nigerians a new constitution. “We got it wrong,” he said.

Oyebode went on to call for the composition of a constituent assembly that represents the totality of Nigerians.

The new constitution, Oyebode noted, should elaborate on true federalism.

What Oyebode actually said?

“It is not for the National Assembly to give Nigerians a constitution. It is the constitution that will give birth to the National Assembly. The job of the National Assembly is to make workaday laws for the peace, order and good government of Nigeria. So it is the constituent assembly that will deliberate and fashion out a fundamental law for Nigeria.

“If we agree that the military decree that is masquerading as a constitution is worse than useless; then of course we have to go about replacing it with a basic law of Nigeria.

“We have to elaborate on true federalism. We need devolution of powers. We should not be running to Abuja for every little thing.

“What we have been operating under the military constitution is a quasi-federal arrangement. So the constituent units don’t have the freedom to legislate on matters that affect their constituents.

“It is not the national assembly that should give us a new constitution. We the people or our representatives formed into a constituent assembly should discuss the modalities of living together. 

“What we’ve been having, talking of the Decree 24 of 1979, is an illegitimate instrument. Where did we people gather to discuss and agree to live together? We never had that. It was a product of a military dictate. What you had was the Abdusalam constitution – I believe 29 Nigerians were constituted to draft the 1999 constitution.

“Nigerians now have the right to enact to themselves the fundamental law that will regulate how they are living together. 

“If the infelicities of that constitution are well known, we would be wasting time recounting how unworkable a quasi-federal set up is for a country that has over 400 ethnic groups. And that’s why we’ve been in the jam that we find ourselves. 

“I think we have to get it right finally by setting up a constituent assembly that will produce a draft constitution which will be voted on by the generality of Nigerians.”

We Can Only Restructure Within The Current ‘Imperfect’ Constitution – Osoba

Elder statesman and former governor of Ogun State, Mr Olusegun Osoba, says Nigeria can only be restructured with the current constitution he described as being imperfect.

Osoba stated this during a recent interview on Channels Television’s Newsnight which aired on Monday.

“I am for restructuring. As long as we have a Constitution, we can only restructure within the current Constitution, as imperfect as it is first,” he said.

Speaking about the constitution of the national conference, Osoba explained that the President does not have the powers to convene such an event.

Rather, the former governor called on the National Assembly, in collaboration with the State Houses of Assembly to amend the Constitution at the federal and state levels for proper restructuring of the country.

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He explained that the move was necessary following the recommendations made by the participants of the 2014 National Conference not adopted by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Elder Statesman and former governor of Ogun State, Mr Olusegun Osoba speaks about Nigeria’s restructuring on Channels Television’s NewsNight on January 20, 2020.

According to Osoba, Jonathan was incapacitated from taking an administrative action because the National Assembly did not act on it.

He said, “The President, in a democracy, has no powers whatsoever to convoke a sovereign national conference. You can convoke a National Conference which we have had so many.”

“I have participated in so many. In 1988/89, I was in the one that drafted the Constitution for the Babangida era. I was in the 2014 National Conference.”

“We submitted (the recommendations from) that conference in 2014. Not even one administrative action did Jonathan take.

“What stopped Jonathan then before leaving office was that the report of that conference sent to the National Assembly, the National Assembly didn’t do anything,” he added.

Restructuring: Financially Weaker States Should Be Helped, Says Amaechi

 

The Minister for Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, says any restructuring plan for Nigeria must include provisions to help financially weaker states to survive and perform basic responsibilities.

According to him, that way, possible fears about the survival abilities of states will be eliminated.

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“For me, I prefer to copy the kind of restructuring we saw in Germany, which provides the basic line,” the minister who was a guest on Channels Television’s Newsnight said.

“If no state can raise up to N5million per month to pay their salaries, then all of us including the Federal Government will contribute money for that state.

“Which means, you can devolve power and revenue but if no state can raise that kind of money to sustain itself then both the Federal Government and all other states must come together to put money to enable that state to survive.

APC Government Is Not Against Restructuring – Omo-Agege

Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege,

 

 

The call for restructuring of the country has gained more support and this time, from the All Progressives Congress (APC).

This is coming from the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, on the sideline of the Electoral Reform Conference which held on Monday in Abuja.

He stressed that the ruling party was not opposed to restructuring the country while the matter was being taken more seriously.

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“This government, the APC led government is not against restructuring,” Senator Omo-Agege told Channels Television.

He added, “A couple of days ago, I believe I read the release from the Villa; that release represents the view of the APC.”

 

The lawmaker insisted that his party was not opposed to restructuring, stressing that the Committee on Constitution Amendment would be considering the report of the committee led by Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State.

He noted that the amendment to the Electoral Act was the major task before the National Assembly and the lawmakers would expedite action on it and base its recommendations majorly on the submissions of the El-Rufai led committee set up by the APC.

“The APC supports restructuring and indeed, the restructuring committee that was put in place headed by Governor El-Rufai came up with some very significant recommendations.

“Those recommendations represent the views of the party. We are going to be taking that into account as we proceed with the exercise,” Senator Omo-Agege stated.

Earlier, he informed the conference that the bill seeking to amend the Electoral Act, which he co-sponsored, might be passed by February 2020.

The event put together by the Civil Society Elections Situation Room was attended by top officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), representative of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), and members of the civil society.

The office of the AGF made a commitment that it would work with INEC while the electoral umpire promised to work with the National Assembly to ensure the early passage of the bill.

Without A New Constitution, Nigeria Will Be Burning In Five Years, Says Clarke

Mr Robert Clarke

 

 

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr Robert Clarke, says there is an urgent need for a total overhaul of the nation’s Constitution.

He stated this during his appearance on Channels Television’s weekend political show, Sunday Politics, where he warned that there might be consequences if the issue was not taken seriously.

The senior lawyer decried the level of poverty and unemployment which he said could set the nation on fire in the next few years if nothing was done.

He stressed that the crop of political elites in the country has no other option than to support a new Constitution.

“They (the elites) have no alternative and (President Muhammadu) Buhari is there, and God will give him that will.

“I am praying because, in five years’ time, I am not joking, Nigeria is going to be burning. Poverty is too much and we are not creating opportunities,” Clarke said.

He believes having a new Constitution is the right thing for the nation if it must tackle the numerous challenges facing it.

 

Change The Constitution

On the anti-corruption war of the Federal Government, he noted that the Buhari administration has made some progress but more needed to be done.

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According to the senior advocate, the present administration has been able to close the tunnel of corruption but a new Constitution is significant to tackle the menace headlong.

He disagreed with the notion that the nation’s laws were encouraging corruption, stressing that Nigeria has a faulty Constitution.

“Restructure Nigeria, change the Constitution.  Let us change the Constitution and restructure because governance in Nigeria is taking 80 per cent, that’s what the new budget has told us.

“Why should we be spending 80 per cent of our revenue on government expenses?” Clarke questioned.

“It is not the laws, the laws are made to regulate. The Constitution is the cankerworm that is eating us up in corruption.

“The Constitution we are operating upon is a corrupt Constitution; is a rotten egg,” he added while insisting that it must be “terminated”.

 

Slash Political Appointments

The SAN noted that former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan made efforts to review the Constitution by organising conferences while in office.

He, however, stated that both leaders never laid a foundation for any legal basis upon which the recommendations of the conferences would be implemented.

Clarke advised President Buhari not to “make the same mistake” but send a bill to the National Assembly, informing them about his intention to set up a parliament to look into restructuring and review the Constitution.

He added that the President should urge the lawmakers to pass a bill which he would assent to that whatever decision the panel arrives at would be sent to Nigerians and if approved, it would be brought back to the National Assembly for proper legislation.

The senior advocate also recommended that President Buhari should cut the cost of governance by reducing political appointments, as well as Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) in the country.

Shehu: If NASS Says Restructuring Is The Way To Go, The President Will Consider It

 

The Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, has explained how the government plans to go about restructuring the country.

While the matter has been widely discussed and advocated for by many, Mr Shehu says the government is not opposed to it but only has a different approach from those advocating for it.

“Yes (restructuring) is there in our party’s manifesto but I think the difference with those advocates is the mechanism for achieving this,” he said on Channels TV’s Independence Day edition of Politics Today.

According to him, many of advocates call for a restructuring that is independent of the National Assembly.

But the government believes that anything outside the parliament is not representative of the will of the people.

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“I guess that some of them think that this can be achieved through a process that alienates the parliaments.

“Our sense is that an elected government in a democracy must work with the elected parliament and that anything outside the parliament, not elected by the people is not representative of the popular will of the people because the parliament is the repository of the popular will of the people.

“So, if the Nigerian parliament says this is the way to go, the president will consider it,” Shehu said.

Without Restructuring, No Meaningful Progress Will Be Achieved – Edwin Clark

Raid: Clark Accepts Police Apology, Demands Detailed Investigation (Full Statement)
A file photo of elder statesman, Edwin Clark.

 

 

Elder statesman, Edwin Clark, believes restructuring is the only way forward if there will be development in Nigeria.

Clark, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, believes restructuring the country will help address its challenges.

“Without restructuring, no meaningful progress will be achieved in this country,” he said in reaction to the Independence Day speech by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The elder statesman faulted the President’s address to the nation, noting that there was nothing in the speech that he had not said before.

He noted that while it was worth commending that Nigerians have continued to live together in the last 59 years, a lot of issues needed to be addressed.

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Top among the issues highlighted by Clark are restructuring for a better nation and the security of the lives and properties of citizens.

Contrary to the government’s position on the war against Boko Haram insurgency, he insisted that the insurgents have not been decimated.

According to the elder statesman, there are security problems in the northern and southern parts of the country, including the activities of armed herdsmen.

“Not a single herdsman has been captured. They are moving around everywhere – both in the North and South and with the problem of insecurity in the North-West, things are not okay,” he said.

The elder statesman added, “We must put politics aside, as for the security of this country; the Federal Government cannot do it alone.

“That is why many of us are suggesting that we should have a security round-table talk. The problem in Nigeria today is not in the North alone, it’s a national problem which requires everybody to talk about it.”

He also called on the government to tackle poverty and unemployment, as well as reduce the number of out of school children in the country.

Restructuring: The National Assembly Failed Nigerians – Senator Adeyeye

The Senator representing Osun Central in the National Assembly, Senator Olusola Adeyeye.

 

The Senator representing Osun Central in the National Assembly, Senator Olusola Adeyeye, has blamed the Parliament for failing to address the issue of restructuring.

Appearing on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, the lawmaker lamented the fact that the outgoing Eight Assembly could not effectively vote in support of taking the nation on the path of true federalism.

“It’s a failure on the part of the National Assembly of which I am a member and a principal officer,” he stated.

Adeyeye, who is also the Chief Whip of the National Assembly, explained that a lawmaker may have the intention of pushing calls for restructuring, it is however subject to a majority vote.

He recalled a situation in the Seventh Assembly where the issue of renouncing Nigeria’s citizenship was before the floor of the Senate.

According to him, most lawmakers voted against the proposed 18 years considered as maturity on the basis that Islam recognised any married person as being mature.

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“No matter how passionately you feel about any issue, votes are taken. You win some, you lose some. And I like to remind this republic that one of the most controversial issues in the Seventh Assembly was in the issue of our effort to increase the age at which a Nigerian can renounce citizenship.

“You have to be an adult. And we tried to spell adulthood at attaining the age of 18. We took a vote and it passed. Senator Sani Yerima from Zamfara State took exception. He said that the law of Islam says once you get married, you are an adult and that the vote we are taking is an assault on the fundamental rights of Muslims in Nigeria.

“A call for a second vote (came up). Some of us approached Senator Mark and begged him not to allow a second vote. Of course, Senator Mark had been long in government. He understood that that could be an issue that could consume all of us.

“He allowed a second vote. Unfortunately, every Muslim from the north except one who had voted yes previously reversed himself and that exercised now lost by 3 votes,” he stated.

Senator Adeyeye further said that sometimes, we get so emotional about all the noise that we don’t look at all the substance of what is going on, and part of what had gone on especially in the last 4 years.

He argued that while the failure to push the issue of restructuring was a minus on the part of the National Assembly, the legislating of a country is not a straight-jacket process.

“The business of amending the constitution lies primarily in the National Assembly, however, in any country, amending the constitution is never a straight forward and an easy problem,” Adeyeye opined.

Anyaoku Calls For Free And Fair Elections, Nigeria’s Return To True Federalism

 

 

Elder statesman and former Commonwealth Secretary-General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, has asked the Federal Government to reconsider its stance on the call for restructuring and return to true federalism.

According to him, the country is under-performing and lacking national cohesion like never before, a situation he believes can only be resolved by restructuring its present governance architecture.

He said, “Judged by all the relevant indices, Nigeria today is clearly underperforming and lacking national cohesion as never before.

“If our country is to succeed on the road to political stability and realisation of its rich development potential, it must, by restructuring its present governance architecture.

“It must return to the true federalism that it practiced in the years before the military intervened in our national politics”.

With the general elections just days away, Chief Anyaoku who was speaking at a symposium to unveil the new logo of The Nigerian Tribune on Tuesday, also called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure a credible exercise.

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According to him, the international community is watching to see how far the nation’s Constitution is respected.

He said, “As our country is preparing for the general elections in two weeks time, I have three observations to address the Nigerian government, INEC and others.

“First, Nigeria’s friends and the whole of the international community are watching… watching the behaviour of Federal Government and its agencies, including especially the police, the army and the other law-enforcement instruments, to see how far we respect the country’s Constitution, our Nigerian government, like all other governments over the world, while of course guiding its sovereignty should pay heed to the views of the international community otherwise, the country will return to the pariah status which it happily exited in 1999 when it once more embraced democracy.

“My second observation is that INEC had earned deserved compliments for its commendable handling of the last gubernatorial elections in Ondo and Anambra States.

“But it must be admitted that it attracted criticisms for its conducting subsequent similar elections in both Ekiti and Osun.

“I urge INEC to remain aware of the fact that the credibility of the results of our forthcoming elections will depend on the level of impartiality and transparency it demonstrates in ensuring all aspects of the elections are free and fair, thereby making the results to truly represent the will of the people”.

Restructuring Can Be Achieved Through Legal Process, Says Osinbajo

Vice President of Nigeria Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday said the devolution of power from Federal Government to State Government in Nigeria can be realised through peaceful legal processes.

According to the Vice President, restructuring can be achievable, if states in the Federation can stand up to the Federal Government and claim their rights before the courts of law, even without tampering with the constitution of the nation.

Osinbajo said this in Ibadan, Oyo State capital, during the 80th birthday colloquium of elder statesman, Bisi Akande.

The Vice President hinged his position on the success of Lagos State against the Federal Government during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Governor Bola Tinubu which gave the state the power to create its own local community development authorities, establish state tax laws and state urban development plan laws.

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“The process of creating stronger sub-nationals is possible even without constitutional changes. Even with our current legal and constitutional framework, much is still possible.

“In the period from the civilian government of Chief Bola Tinubu in Lagos, in which I have the privilege to serve till date, the government of Lagos State has demonstrated that it is possible to have restructuring, especially fiscal federalism and devolution of power to states, but by the process of litigation as oppose to going through the legislature.

“As of 1999, my very first with Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, he made it clear that as far as he was concerned, what was most important was for the state to pursue fiscal federalism and devolution of power for our State. He wanted me to study it and then to look at how it could be done, and we spent a lot of time and resources, looking at how to do it.

“We realised that going to the national assembly would be a waste of time and we then decided to go through the process of litigation. As a matter of fact, we went to the Supreme Court the Federal Government at that time opposed all the moves made by then.

“Fortunately for us and we thank God, we were able to record successes, which today are the major significant achievements that we can say we have scored in terms of restructuring our country, especially in fiscal federalism and devolution of power,” he said.

Governor Abiola Ajimobi also at the event said, “The path to nationhood rests on what I will call the essence of governance, which is creating opportunities for the citizenry to thrive, to realise their potential in an atmosphere of peace and tranquility.”

Kaduna Governor Nasir Elrufai also at the event said restructuring should center around reform and improvement of national efficiency. According to him, it is important also to a conducive political growth.

“Restructuring should be about the reform and improvement of our national efficiency. Reforming our governance structures is a crucial part of making our political system conducive to the pace of growth and development that our country needs.

“Along with better structures, fitted and efficiency and devolving responsibilities to the level of government best able to handle them, we must also invest in constructing a new national consensus and adapt our attitude to hold the values that enhance us all,” El-rufai said.

Dignitaries at the event described the celebrant, Akande as a notable Yoruba leader that kept up the values of selflessness, an attribute they said he imbibed form late Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Bola Ige.

We Need A Proper Restructuring Of This Country – Edwin Clark

Elder statesman Edwin Clarke addresses a meeting at his residence in Abuja on December 23, 2018.

 

A former Federal Commissioner for Information, Mr Edwin Clarke, has insisted that the restructuring of Nigeria remains the way out of the challenges confronting the nation.

He said this when he received the presidential candidate of the Action Democratic Party (ADP) and members of the party who visited him on Sunday at his residence in Abuja.

The elder statesman said, “We need a proper restructuring of this country; where everybody will be equal, where appointments will not come from one particular place and others are just waiting.”

Ahead of the general elections in 2019, Mr Clarke believes the problems in the country might continue irrespective of who wins the election next year.

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He, therefore, stress the need for a constitutional amendment that would guarantee equity and justice for citizens, irrespective of their ethnic or religious background.

“Once you have a Nigeria where some people are superior, and others are inferior, then you don’t have a country,” the elder statesman noted.

“We believe in one thing, and that is the Constitution Nigeria has today; if that constitution is not changed, all will not be well.”

Mr Clarke also called on politicians and relevant stakeholders in the forthcoming polls to ensure the process was free and fair.