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

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THE pan-Yoruba socio-cultural association,  Afenifere, has urged President Buhari to ensure a “brand new constitution” before talking about the coming 2023 general election.

Its counterpart from the South-East, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, echoed this stand at an event yesterday organised by the Youths Off The Streets Initiative (YOTSI) in collaboration with Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Afenifere Group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE) and Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF).

The leader of the Afenifere, Ayo Adebanjo, made the call at the inter-ethnic peace dialogue on the 2023 election in Abuja.

Adebanjo said Nigeria’s current insecurity could lead to the country’s disintegration if urgent steps are not taken to pull the nation back from the “precipice.”

While Adebanjo advised Buhari on how to put together a new constitution for Nigeria, he suggested a timeline and the modalities for getting a new constitution before October 1, 2022.

The Afenifere chief said: “It is the belief of Afenifere that it will be unrealistic and unpatriotic in our present precarious disintegrating tendencies that the Buhari government should contemplate holding any election before the proposed harmonious constitution becomes operative. We believe there should be a country before an election is contemplated.

“There is no doubt whatsoever that Nigeria is presently faced with critical threats of imminent second civil war and forceful political break-up and perhaps even more. Indicators of these could be seen in part in the scale of banditry going on in the country, in the unprecedented level of kidnapping and destruction of government properties as being witnessed presently in the South-East and, of course, the strident voices for secession.

“When the foregoing and many others that we have not mentioned are put into consideration, there could not be any controversy that Nigeria is indeed on the precipice.”

He described the 1999 Constitution as a fraud, saying the ongoing process for the review of the constitution would not restore harmonious living in the country.

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.”

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