By EmekaUmejei – Shout-Africa Correspondent, Lagos – A pan Nigeria group, Project Nigeria Movement (National Consensus) has warned that the country is headed for collapse unless the people are allowed to write their own constitution.
The group comprising the patriots, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Yoruba Unity Forum is led by eminent jurist, Professor Ben Nwabueze(SAN).
The group made its position known after its meeting at Alaga House, Yaba, Lagos yesterday, where it frowned at the ongoing lethargy in governance across the country.
The group which acknowledged on ongoing Boko Haram threat, Fuel Subsidy and constitutional review, emphasised that unless the Nigerian constitution is democratised, democracy will collapse.
In his remark, Nwabueze says the Nigerian constitution needs to be democratised for democracy to thrive.
“First and foremost we must have to democratise the Nigerian constitution. There cannot be democracy where we have not democratised our constitution. Though Nigeria gained democracy in 1999, the constitution is yet to be democratised,” Nwabueze said.
“Our first concern is to democratise this constitution through a peoples’ conference. There must be a referendum and all the ethnic nationalities will be involved to evoke a peoples’ constitution. It may be a long a process but it must be done.”
Stating further, Secretary of the group, Olawale Okunniyi, who briefed the press, says except the issue of constitutionalism is resolved; democracy may not survive in the country.
“Except we resolve the issue of constitutionalism, we may not be able to have democracy,” Okunniyi said.
He emphasises that the group would engage all facet of the society in its quest to give Nigerians a peoples’ constitution.
“We are going to harmonise all the constitutions including PRONACO, Constitutional Conference and resolve the process of making constitution.”
Corroborating others, Representative of NLC President, Chris Ajaero says that the whole issue surrounding fuel subsidy is fraudulent.
“We have all determined to stop this second effort removal of subsidy on petrol at all cost. Besides, the whole story about subsidy is full of fraud,” Ajaero argues
“At the first instance, Government said they budgeted over N240billion for subsidy and by September government has spent over N900billion on approaching a trillion naira mark and these expenditures were carried out without appropriation. We are calling on the national assembly to explain to Nigerians how come these expenditures were incurred.”
Stating further, Ajaero says removal of fuel subsidy will inflict more hardship on Nigerians.
“Nigeria is the only second Oil producing country to sell petrol at N65 per litre,” says Ajaero.
“So, these and more problems, especially the hardship that it is going to inflict on Nigerians, these are some of the reasons that labour decided to engage Government despite government last moves to break the ranks of the labour movement which we are resisting.”
In his submission, Dr. Kunle Olajide says Government has never kept fulfilled its promises on fuel subsidy since the enthronement of democracy in 1999.
“We have been treated to the story of fuel subsidy since 1999 but all the promises have never been fulfilled,” Olajide said.
“Corruption has grown in leaps and bounds since 1999. Corruption is the problem with Nigeria and the ordinary people shouldn’t be made to suffer for the inefficiency of government.”
According to Olajide, any industrial crisis in the country will lead to the total collapse of Nigeria, hence the group has embarked on a battle to save Nigeria from collapse.
In his contribution, National chairman of Action Alliance, Senator Sulaimon Salawu stresses that removal of fuel subsidy is not what is required to save the Nigerian economy.
“Removal of fuel subsidy is not what is required now. To avoid collapse of this federalism, we need a people’s constitution,” Salawu said.
Professor Angelicus, Onasanya, concurs with others, even as he acknowledges that Nigeria needs to act and talk to save the country from collapse.
“We need to act now, we need to talk now. The present structure of Nigeria cannot deliver prosperity. It is my humble submission that the structure has not and cannot deliver peace, hope etc,” Onasanysa said.
“It is a structure that is destined for doom. It is time for us to it right and do it right now.”