1999 Constitution Defective —Akeredolu
Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, CON, has identified the law regulating interactions among component units and agencies of the state as the major reason for backwardness in the country.
Governor Akeredolu lamented that the current socio-political structure in the country is hostile to development.
He added that there would be no end to the misery of the people unless the basic law is tinkered with to reposition the country to prepare for the production of goods and services.
The Governor spoke at the 59th Founders’ Day
Anniversary Lecture, Award, and Endowment
of the Adeyemi Federal University of Education, Ondo, held on Saturday.
He was represented by his Special Adviser on Union Matters and Special Duties, Mr. Dare Aragbaiye.
The Alumni Association of the Institution presented the Governor with a Distinguished Award of Honorary Fellowship of Adeyemi Alumni Association.
The Governor’s Special Adviser on Education, Dr. Olawunmi Ilawole, and member of the House of Representatives, representing Ondo East/ Ondo East Federal Constituency, Hon. Abiola Peter Makinde, also received the distinguished Award.
Governor Akeredolu, who delivered the Anniversary lecture, noted that the component units of the federation must be able to chart the course of development in their localities.
He said every State should be free to explore its areas of strength for the benefit of the indigenes and inhabitants, saying States should not be reduced to pathetic beggars in a Federation as the situation is at the moment.
“A defective law cannot engender peace and progress. It is, more often than not, the source of the seemingly intractable crises.
“There can be no development in a place where the law and its application are skewed, heavily, against the majority of the people. When the law becomes an instrument of repression, the society is imperiled.
“A codification which alienates the people from its intendment is not only repressive but also fraudulent.
“There can be no meaningful achievement from the existence of a set of regulations whose purpose is to sustain the privileges enjoyed by a parasitic few at the detriment of the majority.“ the Governor said.
Governor Akeredolu explained that the existence of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, represents an experiment in audacious mendacity.
According to the Governor, the subversion of the people’s Will cannot engender progress in any society if the essence of development is the amelioration of the challenges faced by them.
He said any law which imposes the whims and caprices of a select but partisan few on the majority of the people, cannot be used to advance the cause of the society.
“The current civilian dispensation commenced after the departure of the military on the 29th May, 1999. The 1999 Constitution, as amended, was promulgated to law by the regime of General Abdulsalam Abubakar, GCFR, in the same year.
“If there is any document whose existence represents an experiment in audacious mendacity, it is this so called Constitution of the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The Constitution tells manifest lies against itself. It purports to represent the wishes of the Nigerian people but nothing can be farther from this obvious lie.” Governor Akeredolu said.
The Governor recommended the 1963 Republican Constitution as a veritable guide for the desired development.
He said the independence era witnessed phenomenal development in all the three Regions, saying great achievements were achievable because the policies and programmes of the Governments were owned by the people.
Governor Akeredolu called on the in-coming Administration of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to be courageous to confront the problems headlong.
“The in-coming Administration has its job clearly defined. It is inheriting not only a heavy backlog of disaffection and complaints from the citizenry from all parts of the country, it has sold its campaign on the promise of a Renewed Hope.
“This clearly points at its readiness to address existential issues which bedevil the country at the moment. The expectations are high but the obstacles which have been erected to militate against progress are enormous.
“The tasks are going to be arduous but not insurmountable. The President and his team, as well as the Governors in the States, must be courageous to confront the problems headlong.
“The Federal Government must divest itself off the overwhelming but self-imposed duties for the country to breathe. The States must be encouraged to explore their domains and be creative.
“The Federal Government must ban importation of all items which the country is capable of producing. The taxation on luxury goods must be heavy.
“The States must be allowed to operate fully without hindrance as it is the case from federal agencies which encroach steadily on their sphere of influence.
“The States should control their resources and pay taxes to the Federal Government. Proceeds from sales tax, Value Added Tax, must be distributed according to contributions.
“Any State which feels incapable of proceeding as a socio-economic cum political entity may seek to join others. The States must be allowed to assume their full identities. They are no junior partners to the Federal Government. They enjoy coordinate powers.
“The development of Nigeria will continue to be an imagined possibility unless these measures are considered, all efforts geared towards development will amount to reinforcing failure.” The Governor said.