Falae: Nigeria’s Future Not Sustainable Without New Constitution, State Police

Emmanuel Addeh

Former presidential candidate and former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Chief Olu Falae, yesterday argued that unless Nigeria promulgates a new constitution and make provisions for state and local government policing, the situation in the country may continue to deteriorate.

The octogenarian maintained that until there’s a wholesale rewriting of the current constitution, tinkering with it as the present administration was doing would not solve any major national challenges.

Falae who spoke when he appeared on Arise News Channel, THISDAY’s broadcast arm, explained that the idea of state policing was not new, pointing out that for many years, there was the existence of the native authority while federating units had their own police forces.

Stating that it had existed side by side the federal police force, the elder statesman, stressed that the arrangement was abolished when the civil war started.

Nigeria has been dealing with serious security challenges for years, including the emergence of terrorists in various forms, some of whom attacked St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo State last Sunday. The incident had left scores dead and many others injured. The insecurity situation in the country which has especially degenerated under the Muhammadu Buhari administration has now made travelling by road, sea, rail or air difficult for Nigerians.

Owing to this, the Yoruba leader recalled that even in universities abroad, they have their own police. He expressed surprise that the issue of regional policing was still being debated in Nigeria.

According to him, the extant constitution was so fundamentally flawed, saying no amount of amendment would make it ideal for a heterogeneous and complex nation like Nigeria.

He stated that when the government agreed to set up a national conference in 2014, he had the privilege to have been a member, insisting that although there were arguments, at the end of the day, consensus was reached on virtually all of them, with over 600 resolutions passed unanimously.

Falae said the report was still available to Nigeria to be adopted as a working document, with a view to give the country a new constitution.

“After 62 years, we are not getting better whether in terms of fighting poverty, unemployment or insecurity. It has not worked and we need to have the courage and honesty and the nationalism to agree to that and let’s have a new constitution. So, I am not interested in these amendments.

“We are not building a sustainable country. We’re not even building any country. On the contrary, we have deteriorated, national unity is at the lowest ebb, therefore, the question of building a sustainable nation does not arise and cannot arise in this situation,” he said.

Falae stressed that until Nigeria returns to the “political covenant” reached before independence, which gave considerable autonomy to regions, progress would continue to elude the country.

 Describing the jostle for 2023 as, “politics of desperation,” Falae appealed to politicians to be fair and reasonable, explaining that only the living could play politics.

However, he noted that in Nigeria, the struggle to grab power was because people don’t believe that they can get justice unless and until their tribesman was in government, unlike what obtains in some other parts of the world.

“All we need is a government maybe like that of Yakubu Gowon’s which treated all Nigerians the same way. That’s all we need, and not this tribalistic sectionalism and when we have that, all these brickbats would be over,” he argued.

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