Former Secretary-General of the Yoruba Council of Elders, and Secretary, Yoruba Agenda Committee to the on-going National Conference, Dr. Kunle Olajide, has said many of the issues being canvassed by various delegates would be resolved by consensus if they are brought forward for discussion.
Contrary to insinuations gaining the ground that the conference would evolve nothing tangible to solve the myriads of problems confronting the nation, Olajide disclosed at the weekend that many delegates at the conference, through their contributions, even at informal levels, have come to the stark reality that “all of us must be our brothers’ keepers to salvage the nation from the precipice.”
Olajide in an interview with journalists in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, also hinted that there was no going back on the conferenceâ€™s moves to arrive at a people’s constitution, which would replace the 1999 military constitution.
He said the revelations from delegates so far, had shown that notwithstanding the prejudices of the past, Nigerians appear to be moving in the same direction.
“And I can boldly tell you that most issues by various groups, tribes, ethnic nationalities and others will be determined by consensus. Everybody has seen that there is fire on the mountain in such a way that what you hear or read daily in the national dailies are the horrendous stories of murder, man’s inhumanity to man, injustice, armed robbery and kidnapping others.
“The nation is in crisis; the state of the nation is terrible. The weaknesses of Nigerian nation were caused by the structure of the federation. The structure of the federation forced on us elitist federal government riddled with corruption and conspiracy amongst others vices. The form and system of government is inimical to the development we yearn for. Most Nigerians have lost their souls and all these were caused by unfortunate concentration of wealth in the hands of the few.
“The national conference will bring a kind of fresh air and break the gap between the haves and have-nots in this nation. We have five weeks to discuss Mr. President’s memo; and since nobody has monopoly of knowledge, the National Assembly members are to make laws for us but the much-talked peoplesâ€™ constitution can only come from the conference to replace the one by the military which was faulty.”
Reminded that the National Assembly may kick over the conference’s attempt to evolve new constitution, Olajide said, â€œwe are talking about a democratic people-oriented constitution. There is no election in Nigeria that has gathered the kind of best brains and collections you have at the conference. They represent the best you can boast of in Nigeria today.
â€œThose who wrote the 1960 constitution were selected and not elected too. And particularly in a country where elections are fraught with irregularities you need the national conference.
By 2015, the tenure of the National Assembly would lapse and they will come back to their leaders (majority of who are in the present conference) and their people for renewed mandate. Positive decisions that will move this country forward are going to be discussed at the conference. Politicians think of next election alone but statesmen think of the future of the nation,” he said.