(1) Your presence at the Ibadan rally for your Party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, on Thursday, December 6, 2018, mandates this letter. At the rally, Atiku Abubakar declared that “we will, within 6 months, start the process of restructuring of this country”; and further, that he “headed thebest economic team in Nigeria between 1999 and 2003”; a period he described as being of positive economic value to Nigeria.
(2) It must be noted that he was also the Vice President from 2003 to 2007, during which time it will be presumed that he did not head the then economic team. This being the case, it must be obvious that this would be due to the changes in the then political calculus which foreclosed any possibility of his heading the team. This also means that the economy, by itself, is not the problem with Nigeria, but the politics of it, hence the question of Nigeria as a political economy, which directly translates into the question of Restructuring.
(3) Restructuring calls into question the nature of the post-colonial State as it affects the Peoples of Nigeria. Africa’s post-colonial experience had been one of perpetual conflict between the post-colonial State and the various Peoples anchored on the separation between the People and the State, with control and dominance of the State being dependent on the hegemony of one Nationality over the other even as this is couched in “national” terms, and this taking precedence over all other existential matters; social and cultural existentialism of the Peoples play no part in the Architecture of the State, thus making the State a “foreign” entity.
(4) We must reiterate the fact that Restructuring is a by-word for True Federalism, itself being a Union or Federation based on the Peoples;a union of two or more entities, reflecting a relationship between the “national” (center) and the “sub-national” (Regional) entities. Indeed, every Union or Federation in the world is based on a Union of Peoples which may now be administered either as states (as in the US), Regions as in Germany or Emirates as in UAE. For a Federation or Union to exist, therefore, the Peoples inhabiting a geographical space must make that decision.
(5) We are all witnesses to previous attempts at Restructuring; where each administration followed the footsteps of its predecessors by making Restructuring conditional upon completion of electoral cycle. Nigeria had been going this route since 1999, where an incumbent government or any aspirant will promise to Restructure as a route to electoral victory.
(6) Need we remind ourselves what such promises via “public debates” or “Conferences” have done to our body politic in legitimizing doubtful socio-political legacies – IMF debates, Political Bureau, Niki Tobi's Constitutional review, Abubakar's consultations, Obasanjo’s “Technical Review Committee”; Yar Adua’s Constitutional Review, Jonathan’s “Confab”; APC’s Committee on Restructuring; yet none of these yielded the desired degree of Autonomy for Nationalities/Regions making up Nigeria. In each of these, it was a case of working to the answer.
(7) The question to you all, therefore, is how Atiku Abubakar’s process of Restructuring will be different from the previous promises. We do not expect any response in any personal capacity. Youall are not only high-ranking officials of the PDP, but some of you are also aspirants to the office of the Governor in Lagos, Oyo and Ogun States, while some were former and current officials of the Party at the national and “zonal” levels. Therefore, your response must be recognized as reflecting the official position from the Party and its Presidential candidate.
(8) We agree with the Yoruba truism that says one’s head cannot be shaved in his/her absence. Even if it is assumed that all Atiku Abubakar’s advisers on Restructuring are Yoruba, it will still amount to shaving our heads in our absence if we do not know exactly what your party and candidate mean by Restructuring, and if this meaning is not placed before the Yoruba people to decide upon in a Referendum within Yorubaland such that a determination could be made by the People between what you offer and what had been our aspirations, which becomes the foundation for Restructuring.
(9) You may ask why a Referendum when there is a National Assembly through whom the Restructuring will proceed via Constitutional Amendment.Asking us to look forward to some legislation or Constitutional Amendment from the National Assembly towards Restructuring will be waving a flag at the problem; for, the current Constitution is the problem that must be resolved.
(10) The process of amending the 1999 Constitution abridges the right of Self-Determination or Autonomy and therefore True Federalism in that the required concurrence of 24 states already denies Self-determination, for, these states may or may not share similar existential prerogatives with others, hence asking one to determine the course of the other jeopardizes their existence. The discourse on and advocacy for the Restructuring of Nigeria must therefore be put within the context of the Peoples to assert their right to Self-determination and the various Houses of Assembly can organize the Referendums in their states, even before the presidential elections
(11) This Referendum cannot be made subject to your candidate’s coming to power; for, restricting it to an individual prerogative will be akin to denying the reestablishment of the Peoples’ ownership of the apparatus of their own governance; the need for a Referendum on Restructuring does not depend on any individual, but a collective aspiration of the People which your Party would have subscribed to if it agrees with the Referendum, regardless of success or failure of your presidential candidate.
(12) Yes, individuals have roles to play in history, and have indeed played such roles, but then only in circumstances where the general, collective aspiration is yet to be concretized and ascertained hence the individual may become the catalyst. Once the threshold of societal pursuit is reached, as it had been for the Yoruba in the quest for Restructuring in Nigeria, such pursuit can no longer become dependent on the individual, who can then function only in tandem with other individuals in the quest.
(13) Having attained this threshold in Yorubaland, Egbe Omo Oduduwa condensed the age-long expectations of the Yoruba into this Yoruba Manifesto, aspects of which are produced below, as the foundation for Restructuring, and which we expect your Party and candidate to subscribe to, in its entirety or, in the alternative, present the Yoruba People with Atiku Abubakar’s notion of Restructuring. The Referendum will become the ground for acceptability or otherwise of either option.
What We Want:
(a) A Federal Nigeria, through a Federal Constitution, to be known as The Union of Nigerian Constituent Nationalities, with a Federal Presidential Council, whose members will be selected or elected from each of the Nationalities as Federating Units and from whom a Head of State will be selected or elected as the primus-inter-pares with an agreed term.
(b) YORUBALAND, geo-politically known as the ODUDUWA REGION and consisting of the present states of Ekiti, Eko, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo and all Oodua lands in Kwara, Kogi, Edo and Delta States to become an AUTONOMOUS Nation in a UNION OF NIGERIAN CONSTITUENT NATIONALITIES and recognizing all persons in the Diaspora, of African descent who claim Oduduwa/Yoruba ancestry, either through cultural affiliation or genealogical connection .
(c) The Central Government of the Union shall have no power to interfere nor intervene in the affairs of the ODUDUWA REGION, save as shall be agreed to by three quarters of the members of the Region’s Parliament.
(d) There shall be a Division of the Federal Armed Forces in the Region, 90% of which personnel shall be indigenes of the Region. The Divisional commander shall be an indigene of Oduduwa Region.
(e) ODUDUWA Region shall adopt a Parliamentary System of government. This Parliament shall have the power to make laws governing taxes, duties, excise, payment of debt, etc It shall have the power to make laws governing the sourcing of funds on behalf of the Region and to regulate commerce with the co-prosperity spheres within the Union of Nigeria. This Parliament shall have the power to establish Regional Police Service with responsibility to investigate Regional crimes. This Police Service shall have no superintending control over the Provincial and Council Police service, but shall coordinate activities at the Regional, Provincial and Local council levels.
(f) The Judicial power of the Region shall be vested in the Region’s Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, High Court, Customary Court and Other lower courts as the Parliament may establish. There shall be a Court of Appeal in each of the provinces. There shall be, in each province, a High Court from which appeals shall lie to the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.
(g) Oodua Customary forms of land ownership shall be respected. Exploitation of mineral resources shall be the prerogative of the host community without prejudice to the right of the Local, Provincial and Regional Governments to levy appropriate taxes for the welfare of the people of Oodua land and without prejudice to the right of the Federal Government to levy taxes.
Shenge Rahman, Femi Odedeyi, for and on behalf of Egbe Omo Oduduwa
e-mail: [email protected]
Christians for Yoruba Nation
Convener: Pastor Goke Afolayan
SOURCE :The Nigerian Voice (opinions)