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|Response To Aare Afe Babalola On Nigeria: Restructure Or Reconfigure (3) by ooduapathfinder: 7:31am On Oct 29, 2023
Nigeria: Restructure or reconfigure (9), By Afe Babalola
As part of our continuous engagement with you on Restructuring/True Federalism which you have published as a series on the “Afe for Vanguard” weekly column, we hereby address the issues arising from the “Manifesto for Transformational Leadership”, your latest column, more-so when you unequivocally declared your public commitment “to continue to advocate for transformational leadership in Nigeria.” This declaration came on the heels of your being the third recipient of the Chief Obafemi Awolowo Prize for Leadership in 2019, after Professor Wole Soyinka in 2012 and Thabo Mbeki in 2014.
There is no doubt of your leadership qualities in Nigeria in general and Yorubaland in particular, thus making the following proposal worth considering.
(i) At a critical point in the anti-colonial struggles different forms of combatting and engaging the colonial authorities were deployed, from civil disobedience to labor strikes as well as cultural determinations, alongside global political and economic realities resulting from the effects of the 2nd world war which compelled the colonial powers to address the question of independence for their colonies.
(ii) For Nigeria, it was the period for direct political engagements via universal suffrage and elections. This was the point at which Awo was faced with some options, to wit: (a) the Nigerian Youth Movement, which was already “dead” thus requiring too much energy to revive (b) the Nigerian National Democratic Party formerly led by Herbert Macauley which had virtually become restricted to Lagos and affiliated with Nnamidi Azikiwe who was keen on destroying any independent Yoruba platform (c) the Egbe Omo Oduduwa which was primarily a cultural organization which would not be effective for the required political Party.
(iii) Awolowo decided that the formation of a new political party was the way to go, hence the formation of the AG as a pan-Nigerian party combining the best of capitalist development and its social imperatives with a decidedly Yoruba worldview without dissolving into Nigerian generalities. This trajectory eventually led to the AG’s victory at the 1951 Western Nigeria Parliamentary Elections, thus providing the political foundation for what we now describe as the Yoruba “Golden Era.” Restructuring/True Federalism will be a mirage unless we create the political foundation for its actualization.
(iv) With due respect, sir, this foundation is neither in “a transformational shift in the manner in which leaders are elected, the demand and expectations of the electorate, as well the priorities and focus of government programs” nor in inviting “all current and future leaders of Nigeria to uphold and commit to the following principles of transformational leadership” but in the current elite, or parts of it, taking a critical examination of current choices from which the road towards actualization is to be chosen.
(v) The elite are aware of the “Principles” you enumerated, to wit: (a) True Federalism is a necessary pre-condition for growth in Nigeria(b) "Full Constitutional Restructuring in Nigeria is a National Priority" because they have, at various times, participated in the conferences aimed at arriving at those principles, at least since 1999. The intellectuals and academics among the elite are not found wanting either, just as the people have also demonstrated their fidelity to those principles that enabled the AD to sweep the entire SW in 1999 and have been aligned with any Party that seems closest to that paradigm. Yet, it is also true that hopes in the direction of actualizing those principles have been dashed.
(vi) We cannot put this down to the “badness” of the human element or a flawed leadership, for doing so will be waving a flag at the problem. Rather, we posit that the elite, in its different dimensions, was unable to determine a point of departure as Awo did. This stems from non-recognition of epochs and the necessary choices that must be made. The Yoruba elite, unable to chart a pathway for itself, resorted to acquiescing to prescriptions of the militarized "Federalism,” attended or participated in all their conferences to "restructure," even when they dictated or imposed their criteria and directly or indirectly chose delegates while asking "them"-- whoever "they" are-- to do this and that, ranging from "return to the 1960/63 Constitution" to implement the 2014 Confab, to "restructure" etc. Thus, Awolowo recognized the epoch, that is, previous efforts only led to catastrophe, and for his True Federalist dream to materialize meant creating the political vehicle for it.
(vii) We are literally in a similar situation. As we stated in Part 2 of our response, there is no agency of the State that can or will compel any electoral candidate to run on any “Principle,” unless such an agency has been predetermined and which would have vitiated the entire quest for True Federalism. Furthermore, each candidate will have his/her definition of True Federalism which will even make it difficult or impossible for voters to decide without introducing extraneous issues deriving from what will be considered as the “badness” of the candidate.
(viii) Yet, these problems can be overcome, once a path towards True Federalism is chosen, hence, the first step towards True Federalism or either of the “Principles” is not contesting elections on such principles but reversing the atomization of Yorubaland and other Peoples into different contiguous and non-contiguous states, thereby neutralizing the Peoples as Federating Units and replacing them with state administrations. This has resulted in the dilution of the political and economic power of the Peoples in favor of political parties whose centers of gravity do not reside within their societies, with the attendant effect of inter and intra-party squabbles with no direct correlation with the development of the Peoples.
(ix) For the Yoruba, to address atomization and its attendant negative consequences which have brought us to this sorry past requires a Referendum to Federate Ekiti State with Ogun State, Osun State, Oyo State, Ondo State, and Lagos State and constitute the same into Oduduwa/Yoruba Region of Western Nigeria, within the Federation of Nigeria.
(x) To achieve the above, the Yoruba Referendum Committee proposes that the current elite can jumpstart the process, especially with your declaration to advocate for transformational leadership in Nigeria. This is because leadership emerges directly from topical political, economic, and social contradictions that exist. Hence, monetization of elections will be greatly reduced once no one will have to campaign for the office of the president all over Nigeria or all over a state for Governor. That is a Parliamentary System where the locality will be the electoral ground for contests will not only reduce monetization but will also throw up leaders responsible to their communities because they will be voted for only by them.
(xi) The above, and others, have been incorporated into the Bill for a Referendum we have sent to the Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ekiti, and Ondo State Houses of Assembly to be passed into law. The Bill is attached for reference.
(xii) We believe that, as a respected Elder in Ekiti State, along with other elders like Chief Wole Olanipekun (who recently called for Nigeria’s name to be changed which is impossible without a constitutional change), Prof Bolaji Aluko, whose True Federalist credentials are legendary, Governor Oyebanji and others can jointly initiate the process of passing the Bill into law by the Ekiti State House of Assembly. Governor Oyebanji can further influence his colleagues in the SW Governors’ Forum just as the Ekiti State House of Assembly can initiate similar procedures with their colleagues, more so when collaborative legislative sessions exist between the Assemblies.
It is our sincere hope that the above proposal will be given some consideration as you proceed in the noble efforts of finding pathways to true federalism in Nigeria.
Thank you, sir.
Yoruba Referendum Committee
DRAFT BILL FOR A REFERENDUM LAW
A Law of Oyo State House of Assembly, Ogun State House of Assembly, Osun State House of Assembly, Ekiti State House of Assembly, Ondo State House of Assembly and Lagos State House of Assembly for the holding of a Referendum on the proposal to Federate Ekiti State with Ogun State, Osun State, Oyo State, Ondo State and Lagos State and constitute same into Oduduwa Region of Western Nigeria, within the Federation of Nigeria.
A: REFERENDUM ON FEDERATION OF EKITI STATE WITH OGUN STATE, OSUN STATE, OYO STATE, ONDO STATE AND LAGOS STATE AND CONSTITUTION OF SAME INTO ODUDUWA REGION IN A FEDERATION OF NIGERIA.
1. On the…………. Day of ……… 202… a Referendum shall be held in Ekiti State, Ogun State, Osun State, Oyo State, Ondo State and Lagos State of Nigeria on: (i) Whether the Governments of Ekiti, Ogun, Osun, Oyo, Ondo and Lagos States should negotiate with each other with a view to forming a FEDERATION of STATES to be known as the ODUDUWA REGION OF WESTERN NIGERIA and (ii) whether the said REGION should negotiate with the Government of Nigeria and the remaining 30 states or any group of states that have also agreed to Federate and the administration of the Federal Capital Territory to achieve AUTONOMY/SELF-DETERMINATION for the said REGION within a Federation of Nigerian Constituent Units.(ANNEXURE)
2. The questions or propositions to be voted on in the Referendum and form of the ballot paper to be used for that purpose are to be in the form set out in the schedule herein contained.
3. Those entitled to vote in the Referendum are the persons who, on the date of the Referendum, would be entitled to vote as electors at a local government election in the electoral area/ward of the State in which they reside and/or carry out business.
4. The Governor of Each State shall appoint a Chief Electoral Officer who shall appoint an electoral officer for each Local Government Area.
5. Each Local Government Electoral Officer shall (a) Conduct the counting of votes cast in the area under his/her authority in accordance with any directions given by the Chief Electoral Officer and (b) Certify the number of ballot papers counted by him/her and the number of votes cast for each question/proposition.
6. The Chief Electoral Officer must certify:
(a) The total number of ballot papers counted for the whole of Each State and (b) the total number of votes cast for each proposition/question for the whole of the State.
7. The result of the Referendum shall constitute the entire position of the people of Ogun State, Oyo State, Osun State, Ekiti State, Ondo State and Lagos State (WESTERN/ODUDUWA REGION OF NIGERIA).
8. In the event of a YES vote on the Referendum, the Governors of each State shall appoint members into a Constitutional Council of Western/Oduduwa Region.
9. The Constitutional Council of Western/Oduduwa Region shall include not more than twelve (12) other members chosen at random throughout the Region and four (4) members from Kwara and Kogi States.
10.The Constitutional Council of Western/Oduduwa Region shall be vested with powers to present and represent the views of Western/Oduduwa Region and negotiate on behalf of the Western/Oduduwa Region with all the agencies of the Nigerian Government, non-Governmental organizations and the international Community involved in the process.
B:The short title of this Law is “Referendum Law of Ekiti State, Ondo State, Osun State, Oyo State, Ogun State and Lagos State”.
FORM OF BALLOT PAPER: Ekiti State House of Assembly, Ondo State House of Assembly, Osun State House of Assembly, Oyo State House of Assembly, Ogun State House of Assembly and Lagos State House of Assembly, have decided to consult the People of Each State on this ………. Day of ………, 202 on the proposal to Federate the Government of Ogun State, the Government of Osun State, the Government of Oyo State, the Government of Ekiti State, the Government of Ondo State, and the Government of Lagos State with a view to constituting a REGION of Western Nigeria within a Federation of Nigeria.
THUMBPRINT in the box containing: (YES)
1. I AGREE that the Governments of Ekiti State, Ondo State, Oyo State, Osun State, Ogun State and Lagos State should negotiate with each other with a view to forming a FEDERATION of STATES to be known as the ODUDUWA REGION OF WESTERN NIGERIA which shall negotiate with the Yoruba persons in Kwara and Kogi States, whether they want to be part of the ODUDUWA REGION or not; shall further negotiate with the Government of Nigeria and the remaining 30 states and the administration of the Federal Capital Territory to achieve AUTONOMY/SELF-DETERMINATION for the said REGION within a Federation of Nigeria.
2. I DO NOT AGREE that the Governments of Ekiti State, Ondo State, Oyo State, Osun State, Ogun State and Lagos State should negotiate with each other with a view to forming a FEDERATION of STATES to be known as the ODUDUWA REGION OF WESTERN NIGERIA which shall negotiate with the Yoruba in Kwara and Kogi States as to whether they want to be part of the ODUDUWA REGION or not, and further negotiate with the Government of Nigeria and the remaining 30 states and the administration of the Federal Capital Territory to achieve AUTONOMY/SELF-DETERMINATION for the said REGION within a Federation of Nigeria.
• A Federal Nigeria, through a valid Federal Constitution, to be known as The Union of Nigerian Constituent Nationalities, with a Federal Presidential Council, whose members will be selected or elected from each of the Nationalities as Federating Units and from whom a Head of State will be selected or elected as the primus-inter-pares with an agreed term.
• Western/Oduduwa Region shall be a Constituent Unit of the Nigerian Union.
• Western/Oduduwa Region shall adopt a Parliamentary System of government.
• The Central Government of the Union shall have no power to interfere nor intervene in the affairs of the ODUDUWA REGION, save as shall be agreed to by three quarters of the members of the Region’s Parliament.
• There shall be a Division of the Federal Armed Forces in the Region, 90% of which personnel shall be indigenes of the Region. The Divisional commander shall be an indigene of Oduduwa Region.
• The Judicial power of the Region shall be vested in the Supreme Court of the Region, Court of Appeal, High Court, Customary Court, and Other lower courts as the Parliament may establish. There shall be a Court of Appeal in each of the provinces. There shall be, in each province, a High Court from which appeals shall lie to the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court of the Region.
• Western/Oduduwa Region shall have its own internal security system.
• Each Constituent Unit of the Nigerian Federation shall control primary interest in its own resources with an agreed Tax Model for the Federation.
|Re: Response To Aare Afe Babalola On Nigeria: Restructure Or Reconfigure (3) by colossus91(m): 10:53am On Oct 29, 2023
This should be nice
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