Afenifere, Ohanaeze, others insist on new constitution to end agitations - SALIENT TIMES ONLINE

Afenifere, Ohanaeze, others insist on new constitution to end agitations

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By Our Correspondent

Apex Yoruba and Igbo socio-political organisations, Afenifere and Ohanaeze Ndigbo as well as other ethnic nationalities, yesterday, distanced themselves from the ongoing constitutional review process by the National Assembly and called for a new constitution for Nigerians to end the various agitations in the country before the next general election.

They made their positions known in Abuja at a dialogue organised by a civil society organisation, Youth Off the Street Initiative, in collaboration with other ethnic nationalities and international partners.

At the dialogue, the Chairman of Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, who stated that the country was saturated with tension and anxiety due to clamour by groups for one thing or the other, said such could be reversed with a people-made constitution.

 “If any new condition is made on the basis of federalism, there will be no more agitation.”

The leaders outlined some critical issues to be addressed.

Adebanjo said: “In the obnoxious constitution, the governors are named as the chief security officers of their respective states with all the security apparatus in the hand of the Federal Government, how do they deploy personnel to curb security challenges?”

The Afenifere leader further stated that the constitution which President Muhammadu Buhari had presented for review was not made by Nigerian nationalities and, therefore, requested for a brand new constitution made by Nigerians.

The Middle Belt Forum (MBF), Ohanaeze Ndigbo and the Niger Delta Forum, all adopted the position of Afenifere. 

They urged ethnic nationalities to organise themselves and present a document towards the making of a peoples- constitution before November 2021, and form the basis for convening a national conference.

Dr. Bitrus Pogu, who spoke on behalf of the Middle Belt Forum, said the region had been used for too long and had come to terms with some realities.

Speaking on behalf of Ohanaeze, George Obiozor, also adopted the position of Afenifere and called for a constitutional conference to address agitations.

The dialogue was titled,” Nigeria’s 2023 Presidential Transition: Inter-Ethnic Peace Dialogue.”

According to the convener, Kennedy Iyere, the country is at a crossroads and on the verge of witnessing another civil war and forceful disintegration.

“The strident calls for constitutional restructuring and power shift in 2023 have attained a feverish pitch, compelling urgent intervention to douse existing tension and rescue Nigeria from the precipice.”