•Says continued disrespect for court orders aggravating insecurity
•Decries current excuses of economic meltdown, high costs of goods
•Tasks Tinubu on resolutions of 2014 Conference, El-Rufai’s Panel on federalism
James Sowole in Abeokuta and Fidelis David in Akure
A pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, has expressed disdain over the recent controversy surrounding the Kano State gubernatorial election verdict and the recently released Certified True Copy (CTC) of the Appeal Court.
Afenifere, while expressing worries at the dwindling image and increasing loss of confidence in the judiciary by Nigerians, said it considered the parade of different versions of judgment on the Kano gubernatorial elections inexplicable with disturbing implications for the security of the state and the entire nation.
While decrying the current excuses of economic meltdown and high costs of goods, the group also tasked President Bola Tinubu on the resolutions of the 2014 national conference and former Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s panel on federalism
In a communique issued after the monthly meeting of the group held at the residence of its leader, Ayo Adebanjo, at Isanya Ogbo, in Ogun State and signed by its Secretary General, Sola Ebiseni, it reminded the federal government and leaders of the judiciary that most crises in the country were always associated with elections and prevarications of the judiciary.
Afenifere insisted that, “A country whose judiciary cannot be trusted to interpret laws with high degree of certainty and its judgment constantly enmeshed in needless controversy cannot expect the confidence of foreign investors in its economy.”
The group insisted on the respect of court orders on the release of detainees like Nnamdi Kanu, Sunday Igboho and others and reasoned that continued disrespect for court orders aggravated the level of insecurity in Nigeria.
The group emphasised that the federal government must restructure the country and enthrone true federalism as it was originally entrenched in the 1960 and 1963 constitutions to end the nation’s problem of grappling with double-digit inflation, foreign currency shortages, a weakening naira, widespread insecurity amongst others.
“Afenifere reiterated our position that Nigeria cannot peacefully, prosperously and progressively endure under the present military imposed constitution, having jettisoned the foundational principles of federalism by which the country attained independence and made giant strides at the beginning of the Nigerian project.
“The 2014 National Conference was constituted by delegates from a cross-section of the Nigerian federation, including the ethnic nationalities, governments of the 36 states, the legislature, executive and judiciary, the local governments, the armed forces, police and other security agencies, political parties, women and youths organisations, civil society groups, professional bodies, while the 2017 APC (El-Rufai) committee on True Federalism conducted Town Hall Meetings across the federation with both emerging with resolutions and reports on all essential issues in the governance of Nigeria as a true federal state,” it said.
Afenifere, therefore, called on the federal government to summon the courage to match and reconcile the resolutions of the 2014 National Conference and the reports of the APC (El-Rufai) Committee on Federalism for the holistic restructuring of the federation, which would be enacted into a new constitution.
On electoral reforms, it noted the recurrent rituals of hues and cry for electoral reforms after every national election and stated that Nigerians would continue to be afflicted with electoral brigandage under a constitution which over-concentrates powers at the centre and wherein the president openly appoints his party members and lackeys as officials of the Independent Electoral Commission and managers of elections.
“It cannot be overemphasised that such scenario, which will continue to set our people against one another in the evident unrestrained cutthroat competition for power. Afenifere noted the salutary efforts of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu who, as Governor of Lagos State, successfully in court challenged many anti-federal provisions of the Constitution in several areas,” it said.
This it claimed, included “the local government system, revenue of the federation, items in the legislative lists, usurpation of the residual powers of the states including town planning, advertising, by the federal government, control of internal waterways and water fronts, land use, value-added tax etc.
“Now at the central stage is the time for President Tinubu to step forward with the requisite political determination to live for history and mobilise Nigerians to truly enact for ourselves an autochthonous federal constitution.”
Afenifere said in line with its historical duty as the initiator and unrelenting leading protagonists of a truly federal Nigeria state, it has put in place necessary mechanisms to soon mobilise and galvanise Nigerians to achieve this objective and therefore called on other well-meaning organisations and citizens to brace up for this patriotic endeavour.
On economy, the group said it shared in the current economic anguish of Nigerians in terms of skyrocketed costs of goods, services and energy, decrying current excuses of the state on the economy inherited from its predecessor of the same political party.
Afenifere opined that the period of three months between the declaration of the president in February and inauguration at the end of May was sufficient to lay the foundations for the economy policies of the new administration, which soothing effects should be felt now by the people.