From Clement Adeyi, Osogbo
Former Osun State governor, Chief Bisi Akande, has attributed the current economic recession and poverty, bedeviling the country to certain deficiencies in the 1999 Nigerian constitution.
The former Acting Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) spoke in Iwo Town in Osun State at the weekend during the conferment of a Role Model and Achievements Award on an Iwo-born renowned educationist and philanthropist, the late Benjamin Akinola.
He lamented that the 1999 constitution in particular, which he described as bad, served as a platform for socio-economic inequality and now constitutes the major obstacle to peace among various federating components. He said the constitution stimulated demands for ethnic self- determination and economic security otherwise known as resource control or restructuring.
He noted that those who wrote the constitution failed to consider the fact that political domination and subjugation bred revolts, community disharmony and national insecurity.
Akande, who attributed the current hardship in the country to the dictates of the constitution, lamented that only a few people benefited from the increasing national wealth, while majority continue to suffer from poverty, penury and deprivation, which, he lamented, fueled agitation, disharmony and violence among the aggrieved.
“What we are saying, for instance, is that the constitution, which (according to 1999 census) gave Lagos State with 5,725,153 population 20 local governments, also gave Kano State with 5,810,494 population 44 local governments .
“The same constitution, which gave Anambra with 2, 796,510 population 21 local governments, also gave Jigawa with 2, 875,559 population 27 local governments.
“Such constitutional provisions seem capable of denying the federating components of Nigeria equal opportunities for accessing the national revenue allocations; hence the agitation for restructuring and resource control.
“Such agitations may not be healthy for community harmony, national security, peace and economic development.”
He, however, assured that the APC-led administration was in politics to influence the change for the better.
“The constitution that can move Nigeria forward is the constitution that recognises the culture of the people in relation to their occupation,” he added.
He said no nation practising federalism could develop in a circumstance where all or larger percentage of existing power is being concentrated into a single hand, as case of unitary system of government.
He noted that until the constitution was passionately and circumstantially reviewed in consonance with the nation’s needs, the nation would remain stagnant.
Akande added that it was high time those at the helm of affairs reviewed the constitution, that would consider proper distribution and deconcentration of power from the central to the federating units, as being practised in other countries of the world.