/Imperatives of Restructuring and Need for A New Constitution

Imperatives of Restructuring and Need for A New Constitution

TEXT OF AN ADDRESS AT VOICE OF REASON TOWN HALL MEETING BY

Dr. Akin Fapohunda
Dr. Akin Fapohunda Ph.D., FNCS  

I have the profound honour of being selected to voice the reason of all the other eminent members of our body. It is a very rare privilege of a life time to be so given the task of addressing this gathering of the entire political leadership of the YORUBA NATION as the next republic beckons. In taking up this historic duty, I must let you bear in mind that the very good ideas being shared that may resonate are a collective, while any deviations and errors are my personal responsibility.

Very few will doubt the assertion that we are truly in perilous times. We are at a time that calls for sober reflection on the place of our ethnic nationality in what has become the Unitary Government of Nigeria. Yet to the discerning, it has not always been the way we are now.

It is quite correct to state that we have never been disposed to being part of the so-called Power at the Centre, since the advent of the Nigerian nation. In 1959, 1979, 1999, the mainstream segment of the Yoruba society was content with being on our own, believing in our own self determination and innate capacity to take charge of our destiny. Thanks to the epoch-making administration and the sagacity of our leaders during the period 1954 to 1962.

But on the account of the pointed demands by some tendencies amidst us, we finally succumbed and became part of the Northern-flavoured APC coalition at Abuja in 2015. But the quest obviously unravelled within 6 months and the arrowhead of our participation quickly became persona non grata in the chamber of authority at the Villa.This could be glossed over by the less discerning, but the same treatment was meted out to our South East brethren in 1961 and 1980 respectively. So we are now at the cross roads. We can only be numb to the subsisting imperatives of the impending electoral contest at our great peril.

1.0​ The Way We Are in 2019

It is important to note that our intellectual, economic and political domination have slowly, but surely been creeping upon the Yoruba Nation since the golden era years that ended in 1966. Only those with uncommon understanding are capable of seeing the dangers that have come upon us as Yorubas in the context of Unitary Government of Nigeria. Our heritage and core values have been and are still being appropriated before our very eyes while we stand akimbo: without a coherent framework of strategic responses.

In the social media, many of our compatriots to the East for instance, don’t seem to have any feelings for our sensibilities unapologetically. All the documented positive testimonies of sacrifices made in their favour by Adekunle Fajuyi, Wole Soyinka, Sam Aluko does not seem to count for anything. The tale of Subomi Balogun and Alex Ekwueme and the general handling of their property during and after the war is glossed over. Ojukwu family holdings and those of all others in our region were kept in tact. Similarly, the positive world-view of S.G. Ikoku, MCK Ajuluchukwu, Oyibo Odinamadu and Odia Ofeimun among their own brethren in our favour is scornfully put down for no reason. None of them has ever been molested or killed on our land on the account of who he/she is or language spoken.

Yet, in their hearts and minds, our brethren to the East would rather engage with those who maim, kill and plunder their lives without let throughout the years of Nigerian history.  Regardless, they find comfort and flourish in our own territory. They point to only “one event of being cheated” during the so-called election of 1952, without any mention of all acts of Yoruba accommodation of their attitudes for years subsequently. Even the UPGA linkage of 1964 was observed more in breach. As a result our care free attitude, it has now become pass time for us to be taunted with the claim that Lagos, and indeed the Yoruba territory is no-man’s land. Quite handily, they won elections to represent themselves on our territorial land. Our business spaces and proud psyche are seemingly violated as we stand akimbo.

As for some of our neighbours to the north, they are adept at taking advantage of their religious affinity with some of our people. They claim and utilize the commonality of the Muslim religion to assimilate and control, despite not being amenable to worshipping under the authority of an Imam of Yoruba extraction. Is the Alafin of Oyo or the Awujale of Ijebu Ode not far more than eminently qualified to lead the Nigerian Council of Islamic Affairs. But permanent authority lies elsewhere without any challenge so far: food for thought.

Our northern brethren always feel comfortable using and deploying Yoruba intellect and professionalism to manage the affairs of the government and even their personal business entities, but only in a patronising subordinate arrangement. Is this not as clear as the sky?

The Yorubas were short-changed during the Olusegun Obasanjo era through his nebulous patriotism that is ungrounded in reality. If the Jonathan era was insolent in its quest to deliberately insult the sensibilities of the Yoruba nation, the Buhari regime has become an anticlimax in the way the feelings of all Nigerians are being trampled upon with impunity. What do we make of the events of the past week? How shall we fare moving forward from now until 2023?

Many will focus on the simplistically trivial: a little stretch of paved road from Mowe to Moniya? Rail line with antiquated coaches dumped on us by China? Or a new paint on Lagos Airport wall. All on debt to China. But as free born citizens, are we content with hand outs and hand downs of crumbs from our masters table? Is that all we are worth?

We must juxtapose the above with the question: is the Yoruba nation and her peoples strategically safe under the regime with the following appointments and headships made with deliberate impunity:

1. Chief of Army Staff, General Tukur Buratai – Borno

2. Chief of Air Staff Abubakar Sadiq – Bauchi

3. Director General of DSS, Yusuf Magaji Bichi – Kano.

4. Director General of NIA, Rufaâ I Abubakar – Katsina

5. Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Ahmed – Nasarawa

6. Commandant General of Civil Defence Corp, Abdullahi Muhammad – Niger

7. Comptroller General of Immigration, Muhammed Babandede – Jigawa

8. Comptroller General of Prison Services, Jaâfaru Ahmed – Kebbi

9. Comptroller General of Customs, Hameed Ali – Bauchi

10. Minister of Defence, Mansur DanAli – Zamfara

11. Minister of Internal Affairs, AbdulRahman Dambazau – Kano

12. Chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Magu – Borno

13. National Security Adviser, Muhammed Monguno – Borno

14. Chief of Defence Intelligence Agency, Muhammad Usman – Kano

15. Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ebok Ibas – Akwa Ibom

16. Chief of Defence Staff: Maj. Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin – Ekiti

17. National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Col. Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah rtd – Kano

18. Supreme Court: Tanko-Mohammed – Bauchi

19.Appeal Court: Zainab Bulkachuwa – Gombe

20.Federal High Court: Abdul Kafarati – Bauchi

21.Justice Minister: Abubakar Malami – Kano

22. National Financial Intelligence Unit: Hamman Modibo Tukur – Adamawa

Suffice it to state that the quest to futuristically anticipate war may be the rationale for the total appropriation of the entire military architecture of the country by the North, as per the following:

Third Armoured Corps – Bauchi
Nigerian Ordinance and Ammunition Armoury – Jaji
Nigeria Air Force Tactical Air Command – Kanji
Nigeria Air Force Tactical Air Command – Makurdi
Defence Industries Corporation – Kaduna.

Equally of importance is the total appropriation of all tertiary military and para-military institutions for concentration only in Northern Nigeria, as follows:

1.Nigeria Police Academy, Kaduna – Kaduna State

2.Nigeria Police University, Dutse – Jigawa State

3.The Police Academy, Wudil – Kano State

4.Nigeria Military University, Biu – Borno State

5.Nigeria Air Force University, Kaduna – Kaduna State

6.Air Force Institute of Technology – Kaduna

7.Nigeria Defence Academy, Jaji, – Kaduna State

8.Command and Staff College, Jaji – Kaduna State

9.Nigerian School of Infantry, Jaji – Kaduna State

10.Nigeria War College – Abuja

11.Nigerian Institute for Policies and Strategic Studies – Jos.

12.Nigerian Civil Aviation College – Zaria.

Whereas, all these institutions are being promoted and run with funds drawn from Tertiary Education Fund (TETFUND) a body of the Unitary Government of Nigeria that derives funds largely from corporate taxes by companies that principally operate in the Southern Region.

Equally noteworthy is the fact that those who were facilitated into Ahmadu Bello University through quota and federal character watered down WAEC/JAMB scores during the 60’s and 70’s years are today made to sit atop of those that were admitted into the Universities of Ibadan, Ife and Lagos with resounding distinctions. The entire complement of those heading the Ministries, Departments and Agencies: NUC, NBTE, NCCE, TETFUND are Professors of Northern origin. We have sheepishly acquiesced to all these anomalies for far too long to our detriment. Regardless, it is in the supreme interest of our Northern brethren to immediately do away with the perception that their young children are lacking in abilities and capacities to compete with others on merit in all spheres of endeavour. The aura of 7% scores displacing those with 70% has persisted for too long without repudiation.

The Apapa Port complex is the jewel of our territory. But despite its economic value, the unfeeling Nigeria State has rendered it blighted and decayed. The pointed order by Vice President Osinbajo that the Port debacle be fixed has so far been scornfully ignored. Yet we are quiet? The NPA is headed by a Hadiza Usman.

Can we ever thrive in an atmosphere where the Head of the Nigerian State and his appointed Minister of Education have not found it fit to utter a single word or sentence so far in the months that ASUU and ASUP has been on strike, with all our youths marooned? If other ethnic nationalities of Nigeria don’t care, is the world view of the Yoruba Nation not about education? education and education for development? Is our utter silence wise?

Of more critical importance is the inability of our children after being educated in and outside Nigeria at great expense to end up in badly managed economy that can not provide employment for them, It is tragic, for many who have invested all their resources and earnings to educate their children to find themselves still fending for their children unemployed five or more years after graduation from university. A significant limitation to growing our industries is the constitutional restriction against states from generating power and the centralisation of power transmission rendering impotent state governments from intervening in the sector. Similarly a centralised policy framework has rendered the whole industry though privatised comatose. A decentralised power architecture will free the states or regions to unlock the potentials offered by more investments and better regulatory regimes.

Along with these is the centralisation of resources with centre keeping 55% of all federally collected revenues which are derived disproportionately from the South but disproportionately allocated to the North through a revenue formula skewed through a political configuration brought about by military fiat. The equality of state and local government elements in the revenue allocation formula has become clearly a constant reminder of the injustice that the military has bequeathed to the nation. A Value Added Tax that was introduced to replace Sales Tax administered and kept by the states with the promise that it will be distributed wholly on the basis of derivation, net of expenses of administration, was also by military decree turned into largesse to be distributed through the pernicious revenue allocation formula that virtually makes states from where the bulk of the tax is derived an insignificant recipient and those contributing next to nothing the major beneficiaries. In essence, we have a tax structure that encourages states to be unproductive and deprive productive ones the revenue to sustain the infrastructure that generates the revenue.It is a tax regime that will lead to ruin and poverty. The collapse of the roads to the nation’s premier Ports in Apapa and Tin Can Island is a poignant reminder of the evil of the dysfunctionality of the centralisation of functions and revenue. For everyday we do not restructure, we literally are killing the golden hens that lay our national eggs.

The foregoing is the foundation of the clarion call for a reconfiguration of the geopolitics and fiscal framework of Nigeria. This is not mere polemics as asserted glibly by others. Rather it ought to be an existential situation for us in the Yoruba Nation. There is need to immediately transform the Unitary Government of Nigeria. Any further delay in acting on this imperative is detrimental and dangerous.

In concluding this section of my presentation, I must state that the picture of distrust and the seeking of unfair advantage painted herein matters ONLY in a unitary government in which everyone is welded together by force. Whereas, in a federal structure, we need not like each other at all. We need not do things together intimately. It is possible to be different and yet co-exist. Everyone can proceed on her own voyage in pursuit of development objectives without being held down by others, outside her territory. This indeed the basis of the quest for restructuring into a federal system.

The Restructuring Question?

Several seemingly knowledgeable persons have feigned ignorance of what restructuring meant or entails. One therefore need not be weary of stating the very obvious until everyone becomes aware. Whereas we have been restructuring since the advent of the Nigerian nation in 1914. Two phases of our restructuring quest is obviously discernible.

The first phase was from 1914 to 1966. Through various constitutional conferences and consultations (among our founding fathers, the colonial or pre-independence epoch – which covers 6 constitutional instruments – 1914, 1922, 1946, 1951, 1954 and 1960), we went from no structureat all to a flavour of federal structure in 1954. This agreed framework that must have been unique to our environment was applied with minor changes until 1966. Every part of Nigeria was able to proceed with her development agenda. The positive competition of the time brought the very best of development in all the 3 (4) regions. It bears no repetition here.

The second phase started with the abrupt swing of the pendulum in the direction of what could now be regarded as the Nigerian flavour of Unitary System of Governance (post-independence constitutional epochs; encompassing 3 instruments – 1963, 1979 and 1999). This took the form of

1. fiscal changes (revenue generation and sharing methods): Derivation Formula, Royalties and VAT sharing frameworks; and

2. balkanisation of territories (creation of States and Local Governments): 3 to 4 Regions, 12, 19, 21 and 36 States; centralised take over of Local governments and it embedding in the Federal Constitution that was deliberately made immutable.

While phase I at every turn was carried out by consultation and consent, all the steps during phase II were carried out by gun wielding rulers of Northern Extraction. In 2019, we are now at the junction of a full blown Unitary System of Government, whilst being erroneously called out as a Federal System. From this day onward, lets lift the veil off what we have in operation. In Yoruba ethnology, names have meaning to the extent that it determines character. So the words out our lips from this day onwards should now be:

The Unitary Government of Nigeria.

The historic duty we have now is to commence the quest to swing the pendulum once again in the way of getting Nigeria to be a Federation. For the avoidance of doubt, Federalism is a design and flavour of a governance system that results in balance and equivalence of rights to self determination among all peoples living under the flag of a nation. There is nothing true or false about whatever is fashioned out, once it is acceptable and indeed accepted by the federating units.

2.0​ A Federal Constitution for Nigeria

The 1999 Constitution has been an albatross on our collective psyche for reasons much more fundamental than those usually canvassed by everyone: “the we the people” preamble was false. Here, I rely on the critical appraisal by Ozodi Osuji (2007) as paraphrased hereunder.

1. It is an haphazard amalgam of roles for Federal, state and local governments.
2. It conflated constitutional law, statutory law, regulatory law, administrative law etc. into one unwieldy document. What was written is not a constitution, but an attempt to write every kind of law in one form of law.
3. Constitutional law is not supposed to be detailed and specific, for if it is specific and detailed it follows that as conditions change and new situations arise the specifics of the constitution may not apply any longer. A highly specific constitution quickly becomes obsolete and a country would have to be writing new constitutions every few decades.
4. Constitutional law is supposed to provide broad outlines on how a polity is to be governed. It is supposed to outline the powers the people delegate to their government, and within those state who has what power; specify legislative powers and who has them; specify executive powers and who has them; specify judicial powers and who exercises them; and, finally, specify powers granted to the centre and those granted to the periphery (states, local governments etc.).
5. The 1999 Constitution is a lawyers delight, whereas, not all citizens are lawyers. Yet all citizens ought to have a document of a few pages that each of them can read and understand without consulting lawyers on interpretations.
2.1The 2018 Draft Constitution: a VOR initiative

The contemporary question on the lips of all Nigerians has been what restructuring of Nigeria entails in real terms. There has been a lot of chatter especially in the media space with so much lack of clarity on such terms as fiscal federalism, parliamentary system, regionalisation, etc. Outright calls have been made for return to the 1963 Constitution that very few have ever sighted.

But thanks to the Voice of Reason: a group of nationalistic and progressive personalities whose singular mission is to provide ideas and solutions based on foundations of intellect; we now have a document that painstakingly specifies what sort of governance arrangement will be of help to uplift Nigeria and all her peoples.  

The form and format of a restructured Nigeria is embodied in the Draft of the Constitution that was first unveiled to the public at an event in Lagos on July 28, 2018. If and when approved eventually after due processing with possible amendments through the democratic space, we may well be on the way to doing the best for ourselves in the comity of worlds nations.

Is our Nation Fair to Everyone?

In the end, we shall ask ourselves the following questions of our proposed memorandum of understanding – the Constitution that will lead to the re-birth of our nation: Nigeria.

1. Is it the truth?
2. Is it fair to all concerned?
3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

These were The Four-Way Test set in the early 1930s by Herbert J. Taylor as he then sought to save the Club Aluminium Products distribution company (USA) from bankruptcy; as adopted by the Rotary Club International in 1940.

The introductory section of the published draft document contains the highlights of the principal imperatives proposed for a re-configured Nigeria. I hereby set out the other salient features of the document that hopefully will restore the faith and loyalty of everyone and gradually bring harmony of aspirations across Nigeria:

1. A nation state initially comprising 6 regions in respect of which there is a very reasonable level of consensus, with each one being equal in all respects. There is however, provision for more regions in the future, subject to specified procedures: Article 06 & 08.
2. There is regional autonomy in the possibilities of internal re-configurations of States or any other administrative units to suit peculiar parameters of ethnic nationalities and peoples. The possibilities for sub-federating units would be States, Provinces or Divisions as each region deems fit. Such internal re-configurations shall have no effect on the standing of any Region among the other Federating units of Nigeria: Article 07.
3. Provision for the possibilities of territorial reconfigurations across regional boundaries in pursuant to the goal of homogeneity of culture, language and land contiguity. As an illustration, the Yorubas of Kwara and Kogi may be facilitated if they so wished to opt for the SW region: Article 07(4) & (5).
4. Distinct and separate Constitutions for each Region as may be approved by constituent units of the territory, for deposit and documentation only at the Federal Level. All matters that are supposed to be the internal affairs of the Regions are therefore excluded from the Federal Constitution: Article 06(3). This article strengthens the argument against the States as they are now being the federating units of Nigeria, as the unwieldiness of 36 separate constitutions is quite obvious. Six regional constitutions is sufficiently diverse to serve as counter force against the powers of the Federal government.
5. Possibility of amendment to the constitution by National Assembly on the one hand or directly by popular initiative by people on the other. Civil society groups are now empowered to initiate the process of Constitutional amendment: Articles 12 and 13.
6. A uni-camera legislature in a parliamentary system, with the prime function being an effective value for money performance monitoring of the operations of the Federal Government. Elected ministers drawn from the parliament are very likely to be more accountable than the present situation of their being personally beholding to their appointer. Whatever is its overriding merits, Nigeria can no longer afford the Presidential form of government and the attendant bi-camera legislature. We should stop the pretence that we are the USA of Africa: Article 69.
7. The National Assembly is to consist of members drawn equally to represent the respective Regions; 30 each from each region to be elected however each region determines. The INEC of the federation will therefore no longer be tasked with the elections of National Assembly members. The regions shall be at liberty to determine their own processes in this regard. The upper limit is set for the National Assemble is 200 members. This is cost of governance saving provision: Article 70 (1)(3)
8. National Assembly Members shall be under the full control of the Regions that elected them in terms of conduct and discipline. They shall not be subject to any influence by the Federal Government: Article 73(1).
9. The Regions shall stipulate conditions of services and pay whatever remunerations and financial benefits of her members in the National Assembly. This is a very strong pillar of Federalism, as each Region will take care of its representatives based on her resources : Article 144.
10. Article 94 has 4 stipulations are worth quoting here to highlight the cost savings measures built into the draft:
The Council of Ministers shall comprise single digit number of members. Government Ministries shall be rationalised and configured in compliance with this stipulation. The Cabinet of USA includes the Vice President and the heads of FIFTEEN (15) executive departments — the Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs, as well as the Attorney General. The Federation of Nigeria, less than California could do with just NINE ministries.
An increase beyond the single digit stipulation has to be made only vide a special request by the Prime Minister for approval by a resolution of the National Assembly through a vote of not less that four-fifths of all elected members. The condition of 4/5 majority is to elicit a real proof of need and overriding consideration.
All other subordinate appointments and designations below Ministers shall be made from the ranks of civil servantswith permanent tenure in the public service. No Personal Assistants, no Special Assistants. All staff under the Minister must be civil servants. This nullifies the present practice that bloats the personnel cost of government.
Approval of any additional Ministry granted under this Article shall lapse with the subsisting administrationunless subsequently renewed by the succeeding National Assembly.

The central thrust of the draft document is minimal government, such as would result in the reversal of the 70/30 ratio of public expenditure towards serving the needs of public servants as against the generality of Nigerians.

11. The Council of Ministers shall be part of the scale of salaries and allowances of the unified public service of the Federations as may be approved from time to time by the National Assembly. There shall be no other form or format of remunerations or compensations by any Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA’s) outside the stipulations of the unified public service scale of salaries and wages, unless expressly approved by two-thirds vote by elected members of the the National Assembly: Article 143.
12. Ministerial allocation of portfolios shall be with the prior consent of the National Assembly: Article 98.
13. Provision for Federal Supreme Court and Regional Supreme Courts as apex judicial bodies at the 2 levels of Government: Article 100. Jurisdictions in certain matters shall at the Regional Courts of first instance and terminate at the Regional Supreme Court. The subsisting situation of matrimonial and land cases and sundry civil disputes coming to the Federal Supreme Court at Abuja will be remedied.
14. There shall be no religious or customary taint to all Federal Courts, but each Region can establish religious or customary courts as they please: Article 100(6). This will give practical effect to the secularity on the Nigeria Federation.
15. The composition of the officer corps and other ranks of the Armed Forces shall be Regional Territorial configuration, such that the Armed Forces stationed in each Region shall in respect of the other ranks be exclusively composed of the citizens of that territory, while the officer Corps may for the purpose of technical speciality and operational cohesion admit up to 20% of citizens from other Regions, provided that the Head of such Regional Command shall be an indigene of that Region: Article 120(3).
16. The Headship of the Army, Navy and Air force shall be rotated amongst the Regions and no one Region shall head more than one Arm of these Forces concurrently: Article 120(4).
17. The Police Service shall be decentralized with the Federal Government, the Regional, States, Local Governments and Communities having the right to set up and maintain their own Police Services such that each Police Service shall have exclusive jurisdiction on its own territory with regards to their respective powers and functions: Article 124(2).
18. There shall be an Inspector-General of the Federal Police Service; with a guaranteed non renewable tenure of six (6) years, except through an earlier resignation and or by removal only on the account of gross misconduct resolution vide a two-thirds (67%) majority vote of elected members of the National Assembly: Article 126(3).
19. Rationalised List of Functions embodied in the Exclusive and Concurrent List of Functions: Articles 129, 130 and Schedule II.
20. Political parties shall be required to have the headquarters of the association situated in the Federal Capital Territory, with branches in at least one city each in all the six (6) Regions: Article 132(2f).
21. Constituent Administrative Units of Regions shall control and retain all  (100%) of such resources and revenues falling within its natural jurisdiction but shall only pay both Federal and Regional taxes according to laws: Article 136.
22. The Federating Units shall manage all human and material resources to be found within their respective boundaries, consideration being given to such local, regional, national and internationally applicable boundary provisions and only pay taxes as prescribed in this Constitution: Article 142(1).
23. There shall be a First Line Charge Account which shall be 10% of the total revenue accruing to the Governments of the Federation, (Federal and Regional): Article 142(2).
24. The balance of 90% shall for the purpose of sharing among the tiers of Government be reckoned as 100% and shall be distributed as follows:-

(i) 55% Derivation

(ii) 30% to the Distributable Pool Account

(iii) 15% to the Federal Government: Article 142(4).

25. The Regions or States shall be responsible for the collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) and the revenue derived therefrom shall be retained by the Region or State, but shall pay 10% as tax into the First Line Charge Account: Article 142(6).

26In view of the pervasive assimilation of corruption and corruptive tendencies, the Voice of Reason draft should of necessity contain several provisions that rise to the level of the challenge posed to the society. Of course, the political class that are the prime beneficiaries of the present order will fight against these ideas. But it is left to the critical mass of society to exercise controlling authority by prevailing on what would be the good for all.

Article 145:    Anti-Corruption Measures

(1)Government at all levels shall abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power.

(2)All public officers’ asset declarations shall be available for scrutiny by the public and shall be publishable in the mass media;

(3)All investments held by every public officer in any profit making enterprise shall be held in a blind trust; while tax clearance certificates off all public officers shall be available for public scrutiny and shall be publishable by the mass media;

(4)No public officer shall operate a bank account or own any form of movable or immovable asset outside of Nigeria, unless fully disclosed prior to and after the period of public service;

(5)All gifts in whatever form made to the public officer and or to his/her blood relations shall immediately be disclosed to the appropriate institution of government that shall be designated by the National Assembly or the Regional/State legislature. Retention or compulsory donation to the State by the public officer shall be at the discretion of such an institution whose decision shall not be interfered with by any other person or body.

Article 146:  Provision for Judicial Adjudication of Corruption and Betrayal of Trust Matters

(1)In cases of corrupt practices, criminal breach of public trust, plundering of public funds and resources, with prima faciecase having been established by the courts of original jurisdiction, the doctrine of the accused being assumed to be guilty until proven innocent shall subsequently apply.

(2)A determination of prima facie case against anyone in accordance to sub-article (1) herein shall serve as the ground for their temporary separation from public office.

(3)The guilty until proven innocent doctrine being an extraordinary provision to cure an extraordinary malaise of the times shall expire within the generation of 30 years after the effective date of this constitution.

(4)For the avoidance of doubt, there shall be no immunity for any person in any position against criminal prosecution.

Finally, the 1999 Constitution has 320 Verbose Articles: a gold mine for lawyers; while the new draft has just 149 Articles in reasonably plain language that is accessible to any citizen with reasonable education. The draft is therefore quite accessible to all citizens. It is hereby commended for evaluation to everyone.

2.2Implementation Imperatives of the New Draft Constitution

The call by the VOR is for the body of elected representatives across the Yoruba nation to immediately rise to the challenge of the times immediately after the 2019 elections. Our request is that our immediate post election agenda should be to focus on the issues that will lead to an articulation of intellectual formula for bringing redemption to us. This is an historic duty and responsibility that has to be creditably discharged by all true sons and daughters of Oduduwa as as our elected representatives, vide the execution of following activities:

1. A debate and a formal resolution adopting the principles of regionalised constitutional configuration for Nigeria that will result in a new geopolitical order, such that each contiguous region will develop according to her desires and at her own pace. There is no further justification for anyone to pretend about lacking understanding of what this would entail. The VOR draft is a veritable raw material for every meaningful engagement until national consensus is reached.
2. A debate that will lead to the design of a new political configuration for the Oduduwa Region of Nigeria that is imbued with citizens participation such as would bring about ownership of governance and polity of accountability.
3. A debate that will result in the fashioning out of socio-economic imperatives devoid of reliance on federal allocation: a new framework for self reliance principles of governance and management of development based on effective utilisation of the internal resources.
4. A debate on the desirability of giving DAWN the status of Think Tank to provide development ideas in aid of programme/project articulation and budgeting. This would entail a budget outlay for the operations of DAWN, along with a charter of anticipated deliverables to the respective governments at all levels in our region.

The above will result in the transformation of the Unitary Nation of Nigeria into a Federation of Nigerian Nationalities, such that the Oduduwa Region will be afforded the free will and latitude to determine her self-paced destiny in the quest for the development of her society.

3.0A Draft Constitution for the Oduduwa Region of Nigeria

The heart and soul of the Draft Federal Constitution for Nigeria by the VOR is the provision for:

Distinct and separate constitutions for each Region as may be approved by constituent units of the territory, for deposit and documentation only at the federal level. All matters that are supposed to be the internal affairs of the Regions are therefore excluded from the Federal Constitution: Article 06(3).

It is in view of the foregoing that we now have the historic duty and responsibility to act in preparation and readiness for the days of freedom that beckons. It is time we begin to act in anticipation for the glorious dawn of our emancipation so that the light will go forth to the Yorubas across the universe, especially to our brethren in the Brazil, Cuba, the entire Caribbean basin and the diaspora. The Regionalisation of Oduduwa land in a Federal Configuration of Nigeria is an idea whose time has definitely come. Nigeria will willy nilly be restructured much sooner than later.  It is a matter of time.

First and foremost we need to formulate our Objectives and grow it into a National Creed. In the past it was encapsulated in the slogan: “Freedom for all, Life more Abundant.” This can be distilled into the  six (6) cardinal points given below

Facilitation of all citizens into governance and public decision making
Integration of education, research and development into government and assimilation of technology into governance
Pride of place to expertise and academic excellence
Self reliance and sufficiency: leveraging on comparative advantages in the production of required products and services
Putting all, everyone to work
Reciprocal Framework for dealing and relating with other nationalities in Nigeria

Secondly, the above after necessary modifications is to be re-worked into a terms of reference that will be given to a Panel to be tasked with the drafting of the Regional Constitution of Oduduwa land.

The next step would be the setting up of the Oduduwa Regional Constitutional Drafting Bureau to work out all modalities towards giving effect to the ideas being canvassed in this presentation.

As would have been noted, all the efforts towards the drafting of the Nigeria Federal Constitution were implemented within the organs of the Voice of Reason. But the latest effort have to be publicised in order to get the word out that we in the South West are working in earnest towards a new order. It will let others know that we are grossly dissatisfied with the state of anomie that presently subsists in the Nigerian polity; and that we are seeking changes without any delay again.

4.0Beyond the Constitution: Ideas for Consideration

In the subsisting atmosphere of political docility, what in real terms will happen tomorrow, even if the draft constitution by VOR is approved with automatic alacrity? Quite regrettably, the Yoruba society has became complacent while relying of the rental economy of the mainstream Nigeria. We became content with being beggarly every month as we follow the multitude to queue at the doorsteps of Abuja for dole out for funds. We became numb to even seek a fair share of the revenue generated through the economic activities that have eroded our environment – the Ports, the Manufacturing Complexes, the trucking and haulage business, etc.

It is pertinent to ask how did we put ourselves under the yoke of internal colonisation by the various executive authorities in our land? How did we come to tolerate wasteful utilization and display of our commonwealth with brazen impunity as some children of top political office holders opulently marry themselves, while millions wallow in misery?

It is now despair everywhere among the youths and adult population. We have colossally faltered with the notion of our education being taken as a means for obtaining meal tickets. We have failed to re-define our form and content of education in line with our needs as Yoruba society.

4.1​ Appraisal of our Societal Character

On further introspection, the Yoruba society can now be generally characterized by the following truisms:

1. We are now reduced to being just buy and sell for immediate profit people. We party and celebrate with utmost profligacy. We consume conspicuously, while mostly living in squalor;
2. We at every turn shout it that “IT IS WELL,” and that “GOD IS IN CONTROL,” despite not being focused on any proactive problem solving undertakings. So religiosity is taken to a level beyond reason and common sense; such that we will rather convert business buildings to prayer centres. But we merely foolishly delude ourselves as it is stipulated in the holy book that one must “sow in order to reap.”
3. We now chiefly engage in subsistence trading on the streets – shops and shops for the few, but with most buying and selling on top of gutters, standing and selling on highway medians, sandwiched in-between road and rail vehicular movements. It is markets and markets everywhere;
4. We now unashamedly trade in and openly buy and wear second hand clothes, including under wears that are heaped on road sides and overhead pedestrian crossings;
5. We now engage and indulge in subsistence production and unprocessed foods – bread, meat, vegetables, roots and tubers. Raw meat is displayed for sale on open palms of the hand and bread heaped on bare floors. Night markets with naked lamps have returned to our villages and cities.
6. We now live in completely decayed environment, with dilapidated dwelling and living spaces, while stipulating “aso ebi” for enforced buying by many that are stupidly gullible. Should there not be thoughts about regulating our partying wastefulness, in favour of savings generation for capital investment?
7. Surrendering of our land spaces to others: our land and spaces are being sold off without any strategic consideration. Should we not reduce land leases from the omnibus 99 years? We have surrendered several organized business concerns to others – Textile, Motor parts, Pharmaceuticals, electrical electronics, even book selling; rendering us mere on-lookers across Nigeria. Rather than paltry TEN THOUSAND handouts, we need to explore the avenue of well structured Small Scale Investment Bank for our region.

The above is a portrayal of the way we have become as Yoruba society. Poverty stares us in the face everywhere.

4.2​ Legislative Agenda for the Next Republic

Our respective legislative houses ought to stop being operated in “silo” Regardless of party affiliation, there ought to be common grounds, common modalities, common services and cooperative collaboration in pursuit of common delivery of services. It should be possible to work in concert in the formulation, design, funding and implementation of programmes and projects across political boundaries.

There is need for an institutionalised Body of Speakers and a Forum for the Chairpersons of Local Governments; meeting at least quarterly to share development ideas and produce common budget lines. If ever, we are to overcome our current state of despair, the legislature ought to steer away from being a rubber stamp of budget line items in the direction of being avenue for thrashing out ideas on better ways of managing ourselves towards a society that is in search for its soul. Rather, the 2019 Legislature ought to be transformed into THINK TANK institutions for the generation of development ideas and implementation strategies across our State boundaries.

If the forgoing is embraced and adopted, we therefore need to chart our pathway to redemption by focusing on some of the following issues at the dawn of the next republic.

4.2.1Governance Management

For years, we have been unequally yoked as part of Nigeria. Our evolution into a modern society was however halted in 1966 and our societal ethos abandoned. In order to return to the path of sanity, the fabric of our society needs to be rebuilt. Elements of measures worthy of very close study in relation to how we govern ourselves will include the following:

Approach for emphasizing independent candidatures: promoting individual attributes directly discernible by electorates; rather than wealth or naked power.
Referendum at the lowest level of governance possible to determine all sub-national relationships and entities based on informed consent and consensus.
Provisions for conflict resolution and periodic review and modification of all configurations for governance.
Minimum and maximum specifications and configuration of institutions for governance: number of ministries and agencies, numbers of political appointees
Jury system of judicial management, devoid of technicalities
Adoption of guilty until proven innocent in corruption and betrayal of public trust cases
Responsibilities and expectations of deliverables with timelines for all government institutional entities
Framework for partial and non-renumerative stipulations for political functionaries
Abolition of security or any other vote that erodes the access of citizens to information on public finance.
Benchmark for standardized range of procurement costs of goods and services
4.2.2Integration of education, research and development into government and governance

The reason why we seem to endlessly argue in the Nigerian society about what percentage (2%, 5% or 25%) of the budget to be devoted to education is because we apparently have a DISCONNECT or DIVIDE between the government, governance on the one hand and the educational/intellectual segment of the Nigerian society on the other. Whereas, the correct and appropriate framework and modality is to holistically link government, governance and all its undertakings with the intellectual capital that resides in the tertiary education sector. This seems so simple, but it is truly a call for a national ideology of self-reliance and a voyage on a journey of a true transformation of Yoruba nation.

Several research institutes are domiciled in our territory. But all the scientifically-based institutes are for primary agricultural crop production. None is for the transformation of our production processes. Furthermore, all others are of themes that have virtually ceased to be of strategic relevance to contemporary socio-economic development and transformation across the world. Here they are:

a) Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), Onigambari, Ibadan
b) National Cereals Research Institute (NCRI), Moor Plantation, Ibadan
c) Forest Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN), Jericho, Ibadan
d) Nigeria Institute for Horticulture Research (NIHORT), Jericho Ibadan
e) Medical Research Institute of Nigeria (MRIN), Yaba, Lagos
f) Centre for Management Development (CMD, Agidingbi, Lagos
g) Nigeria Institute for Social and Economic Research (NISER)
h) Nigerian Institute for International Affairs (NIIA), Victoria Island, Lagos

In view of our long-standing problem with electricity, one would have expected a Power Development Research Institute all these years. This is quite strange indeed.

It is therefore time to re-appraise the institution of research institutes. The predominant focus on primary agricultural commodities, needs to be urgently transformed to those that can generate inter-disciplinary ideas and themes underpinning futuristic development. Urgent consideration ought to be given to re-worked institutes with the following themes:

Virtual Technologies
Biotechnology
Agricultural Production and Processing
Nanotechnology
Sustainable Environment and Spaces
Energy and Power
Alternative Energy
Engineering Production
Materials Science
Water and Marine Technology
Ageing Science

We are certainly going to have an ageing society by 2050. It is time we start looking at issues of managing aged populations as is being done in all parts of the world. Another very important point to note is that we should deviate from the very wasteful approach of Nigeria that separates research institutes from universities. All research institutions should no longer be stand-alone entities. Rather, they should be administratively aligned and integrated with Universities/Polytechnics in their vicinities.

4.2.3Futuristic Disciplines & Skill Sets

Owning a university has become a superficial symbol of “bigness” in our country, with everyone craving to establish it, regardless of its lack of relevance to the developmental issues that we face as a society. Most of the universities that dot the landscape of Yorubaland are essentially shell institutions with large classrooms filled with benches suited only for giving dictations and lecture handouts that merely produce crammers of knowledge for put down towards obtaining certificates. Academic courses such as Business Administration, Banking and Finance, Economics and even Computer Science are generally devoid of skills and skill set content that could be of benefit to the graduands and the society at large.

The need to acquire new knowledge will most certainly entail new learning themes in our educational institutions. The existing themes of our courses: Economics, Law, Medicine Pharmacy, Engineering, etc ought to be re-worked and expanded to include emerging disciplines and tertiary education courses such as the following:

Smart Homes & Cities Technology
3-D Fabrication Technology
Robotics and Artificial Intelligence
Electronic Commerce
Virtual Learning Management
Alternative Energy Management
Nanotechnology
Cloud and Grid Computing
Geospatial Information Technology
Data Analytics and Modelling
Hydroponics Technology
Ocean Environment Management
Power Electronics
Mass Transit (Railway) Technology
Mechatronics
Garment Design & Manufacture
Instructional Design Technology
Computer Aided Design/Manufacture
Building Technology
Medical Imaging
Multimedia Technology
Electronic Commerce
Software Engineering
Data Mining
4.2.4Urban Renovation and Rural Planning Renovation Initiative

All buildings and dwelling places across Yoruba land needs to be re-designed, re-modelled and re-built. City centres need to be de-congested, through concerted development of new villages in concentric circles off thick population centres. Our environment is littered with various contraptions and refuse-like vehicles, trucks and equipment brought in from Europe. There has to be a very massive initiative to treat and process unserviceable vehicles and other forms of household equipment as wastes.

There ought to be a Street Trading Curtailment Initiative. The street traders really have no other choice but to stay on road sides and divides. Merely chasing street traders away periodically is of no practical effect. Whereas, given an alternative choice of build or rent to own kiosks, many will do a rethink and stay off the danger of being killed by hit and run drivers on daily basis.

There is need to rapidly develop satellite villages in the vicinity of major cities. Each satellite village is to comprise clusters of activities that will afford living and working with advanced skills and skill sets, as follows:

a) Multimedia Production Centre – Screen, Ceramic, Textile, Plastic and Electronic Media Printing, Animations and Film Making, Medical Imaging, Web Design, Social Media Marketing and Map Making.
b) Dwelling Spaces Redesign and Buildings Renovation – Facilitation of Survey Plans and Land Titles, New Satellite Towns and Villages, Redesigned Living Spaces, Low Cost, Green Energy Prototype 2 Storey Buildings, Low Cost, but Functional Construction Technology, New Construction Materials
c) Textiles and Garments Production – Dyes and Yarn, Fabric Production, Uniforms and Work Clothes, T-Shirts and Ceremonial attires
d) Food, Meat and Horticultural Production, Processing, Packaging and Marketing Value Chain – Nursery and Green House Farming,
e) Automotive Repairs, Electrical Electronic Business Centres
f) Model Restaurant Canteens, Sports, Recreation and Entertainment Centres

If this model is applied for instance to Ibadan, it will mean targetting Asejire (Ife Road), Moniya (Oyo Road), Onigambari (Ijebu Ode Road), etc. for re-development with clusters of related services mixed with low and medium cost housing. Each satellite town will specialise and focus on typical sets of vocations as specified above.

Something is happening to our society and no one is speaking about it. I speak of the misguided investments in the building of Event Centres for hire across Yorubaland. Aren’t we misdirecting our investment capital in a very wasteful manner? To what ends are the weekly display of false affluence being deployed. We should be channelling the entertainment and celebration resources towards the building of production capacity. Party and Partying Tax should be on the cards for the legislature to consider.

4.2.5Mass Transit Management

There is need to streamline the Make and Models of vehicles used for mass transportation. All commercial vehicles should have capacity to carry a minimum of 20 persons. The match-box like Nissan Macron being used at Ibadan has to be phased out. This will decongest our roads considerably.

There is no portion of any of our roads that up to 20 kilometres of paved road is devoid of pot holes. Why wait until pot-holes become gullies before action? So we spend endless hours inhaling dust and auto-mobile emissions, while on “go slows.” What is the obstacle preventing the creation direct labour crews to rapidly and continually fix pot-holes and clear gutters and drainage ways.

While we obscenely focus on the very ugly opulence on Lekki axis of Lagos, is there any thoughts on the Mile 2 – Badagry corridor? I had the misfortune of returning to Badagry last August, 2018, after my last visit of December, 1991. I kept asking myself whether we as a people have innate empathy and feelings for what misery and poverty is, amidst the people we claim to serve and represent. What I saw and perceived on that trip of last years is beyond belief. We have just left ourselves utterly down.

It is difficult to understand the obstacle that makes sea transportation impossible between Badagry to Epe with 30 minutes departure and arrival schedules at each stop both ways. Had we been a very proactive society, there ought to have been the 4th and 5th Mainland Bridges in Lagos. Sadly, the 3rd Mainland Bridge is now near collapse.

The traffic situation is an avenue for a thoughtful infusion of technology for the management of our lives. In place of the wasteful daily commuting to work, is it not time we give thoughts to working out corporate incentives that will bring about the application of TELEWORKING modality, in which segmented members of the working population are facilitated and enabled to work at home for at least 3 days in a week. There is no reason why we cannot institute a 6-day working week with options for 3 days in the office, alternated with 3 days working from home. I can imagine about 30 to 40% reduction in rush-hour traffic.

4.2.6Land Holdings and Ownership Reforms

It is hereby proposed that a Land Administration and Management Agency (LAMA) be established in each of our States. The proposed State LAMA is to facilitate actions and efforts that empower individuals, families and corporate entities to own, use, develop, and further become proactive land stakeholders. The ultimate objective would be to wake up the citizenry to the idle capital that land currently represents, and create the enabling environment for bringing about systemic change very rapidly.

Domiciliation of Land Matters in one Organisation

Hitherto land matters have been handled by various functional units of government, such as Agriculture, Forestry, Land and Housing and even Justice. This should change. The issue of land should now be handled holistically and in a multidisciplinary manner, with all related expertise brought under central administration. This will bring the matter of land under a very sharp focus as the very basic foundation upon which all development will spring off.

Sensitise the Public to the Imperativeness of Cadastral Surveying of all Lands

The subsisting world view of every citizen is to hold land for its sake with no apparent intention of doing anything with it. Most family land is just held by families, whose members don’t have any idea of location and extent. Apart from hereditary norm, very few of our people have come to the realisation that land is wealth, and that the wealth is for utilisation. It seems to be a taboo to sell land. Is it not the norm to pray against children that would sell off landed property? But suppose the sale is for getting greater value?

The foregoing makes it imperative to sensitise the public to the advantages of having land ownership appropriately documented and registered with a view to facilitating commercial transactions. The ultimate goal would be the creation and sustenance of an Online Land Exchange and Market in our region, as is the case with the STOCK MARKET for shares in companies. The public therefore needs to be sensitized to the potential benefit of engaging in land transactions for commercial purposes, whose basis is cadastral surveying and title registration.

Cadastral Surveys and Registration of Land Ownership Rights and Titles

Cadastral surveys in general create, mark, and define, retrace, resurveyand re-establish the boundaries and subdivisions of land. All processes and activities that will result in accelerated survey of all lands have to be explored. While the responsibility for cadastral surveys should lie with the land owner, there ought to be creative ways of administering government subsidies that will ginger everyone towards having their land holdings demarcated and surveyed with a view to obtaining title deeds.

The land registry should be computerised for web—based access. One major problem that needs to be addressed is that of reflecting the names of every family member on land titles. This will make it easier to families to register their land holdings inclusively of every stakeholder.

Institution of a Framework for Land Tenancy for Short and Long Term Uses

Most land owners just sell land outright. No consideration for fixed term leases as is the case with buildings. Tenants are rarely permitted to plant tree crops or undertake any long term development. Even in urban areas, the concept of Built, Use and Transfer, say after 20 to 25 years is not very common.

It is therefore imperative that a framework that will facilitate long term land leases has to be worked, based on a refined and amplified “ISAKOLE” traditional rental system that will be mutually beneficial to all parties. A legal enactment of such a framework will very likely stimulate increased commercial activities.

Institution of a Framework for Zoning Lands for Best Uses

Zoning land for respective optimal uses is a fundamental void in the existing modality for land administration in Nigeria. Land best suited for agriculture ought to be zoned as such and be prevented for being utilized for any other purpose. Just as a 150 metre corridor is set as right of way for roads, protected wetland buffer corridors ought to be defined for all river courses. Areas with fragile top soils ought to be designated as Protected Lands for Environmental Sustainability.

Land Rental System for Commercial Agriculture

Despite the legality of the Land Use Act as currently embodied in the 1999 Constitution, it is the families and individuals that effectively own land across across our region. As it were, most land is held by individuals and families that often times have no desire or inclination towards commercial farming activities. Most are also generally un-willing to sell their family heritage. Those willing to sell often attach exorbitant prices as to discourage practical investment. The resultant stalemate is the lying fallow of land across this region of Nigeria.

Our legislature should give consideration to the institution of a Rental System or Framework as part of an innovative land reform. It would be that as we rent houses, cars and even persons (salary to employee is rent of human service) one should be able economically rent/lease land for say 10, 25 and or 50 years tenure from owner individuals, families.  With this modality approved and enacted into law, renters of land will be able to make long term investment in tree crops or mechanized horticultural production without hindrance. The original owners of land will also be partners in progress, since they will be guaranteed some returns emanating from their land holdings. This is an idea that is worthy of in-depth study by our legislature.

4.2.7PTA Mechanism for Primary and Secondary School Management

All public schools across Yorubaland are in various states of disrepair. Service delivery in the educational sector is below the par of decency. The point has been reached where; it has become a dis-service to humanity to pretend that all is well.

The first step towards parental and community involvement towards getting public schools into proper shape is to immediately adopt the mechanism of Parent-Teachers Associations (PTA) as an instrument of State policy for the operation and management of the necessary improvement of all primary and secondary public schools. All public schools are to be immediately facilitated to re-constitute their respective PTA across our States. A model constitution is to be worked out to guide their operations. On establishment, they are to operate as Governing Boards for all schools, with responsibility for the processing and execution of capital projects.

Our government ought to commit itself to a level of annual capital grant to each school, which will be matched through a termly contribution ranging from N500 to N2000 by parents. All projects are to be executed by direct labour using volunteer parents with requisite skills.

Another positive differential of this policy is that the PTA bodies will be quite autonomous in the regulation and management of its affairs. Even in the area of contract awards, it is most likely that a body comprising 6 parents and 3 teachers will do well to defend what is best for the students in each school.

This is an avenue for action, Without doubt, the government has to device very creative ways of getting parents to be financially involved in upgrading the status of public schools. Many more proactive steps have to be creatively devised and implemented without further delay. The business of the educational sector cannot continue as usual under the watch of our legislature and executive government.

4.2.8Pilot Take-Off of Information Technology (IT) Business Parks

Several businesses can easily share infrastructure in a cooperative manner under the umbrella of government regulations and bye laws. It is in fact more cost effective to have just one large power generator and a single Internet Service Provider serving a cluster of business entities. Hereby proposed for consideration is a  Public/Private/Participation (PPP) scheme that will  entail the respective State Governments undertaking to provide the following subsidy:

Identification and renovation of say 5 or 6 otherwise un-used or underutilized public buildings in selected locations
Installation of Power Supply Infrastructure: up to 1000 KVa of Generator for shared use
Installation of Internet Infrastructure for shared use
Approve Plans and Processes for extending Entrepreneurship, Business Development and Management Training to all businesses
Commitment to patronize and utilize resultant products and services

Companies preferably those with at least two (2) members of the Board being Yoruba citizens are to be requested to Express Interest in the setting up and managing of IT-Related Business across the land. Among the requirements to be stipulated are

Production of Business Plans that will result in employment of at least twenty (20) citizens of the respective States at the point of take-off
Evidence of ownership of requisite equipment
Evidence of having requisite working capital
Specifications of space and infrastructural requirements

Prospective IT Business owners are to be sensitized to consider the following technology-flavoured options:

Mechatronics
Medical Imaging
Electronic Textbook Publishing
Web Publishing
Web Design and Internet Presence
Digital Prints and Multimedia Production
Digital Film Editing and Production
Digital Music Production
Digital Television Production
Interactive 2-D and 3-D graphics
Digital Photography
Screen Printing
Electronic Drafting and Draughtsmanship
Telecommunication Support Services
Access Control Systems
Alternative Power Systems
Electronic Games and Learning Facilitation Software
Tailor-Made Software Package Development
Electronic Equipment Manufacture and Repairs
Computer Skill Acquisition Training Services

If implemented, at least 50 companies are envisaged for immediate operations in a typical centre. In the pilot phase, each State might consider building at least three (3) such IT Business Parks with permanent facilities based on Site and Services modality.

4.2.9Development Finance

While others may be content with rent seeking and other avenues for wealth without work, we the Yorubas are generally professionally inclined and intellectually minded. It is this our “Omoluabi” character that have not stood us in good stead in any contention with our brethren across the Niger.  It is the reason why we are helpless competing with our brethren to the East in the retailing business.

It is more than expedient therefore that a framework for development financing of investment in the manufacturing production of goods and services be explored. An avenue to savings and capital accumulation have to be found so that everyone with innovative ideas for production can attract funds at single digit interest rates.

An Oduduwa Development Bank has to be created as a matter of utmost priority to facilitate sustainable investment. The idea of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority has to be apprised for creative adoption. It is a very simple deliverable that DAWN should be tasked for mid-wifing without any further delay

5.0Creative Confrontation of the Nigerian Government

In the event that the Unitary Constitution of Nigeria is not re-worked in favour of a Federal framework, it will become imperative that a vigorous challenge of the authority of the Federal Government should commence in earnest. All avenues of action have to be explored to whittle down the powers of Abuja. I venture to posit that certain actions ought to be initiated, while waiting for the Federal Government itself to start wailing. There are so many possibilities for proactive action in the quest to steer the polity towards federalism:

What is a Federal Road, that the local residents of a community cannot commence the collection of tolls in other to effect repairs? Why suffer in silence waiting for a hapless Federal? What is stopping the States or groups thereof from taking over  all roads and their corridors, as all lands are vested in the States, vide the Land use Act that was embedded in the subsisting Constitution?
There is need to create alternative avenues of revenue generation. Why not consider toll gate to collect Transit Fees of 5,000 to 10,000 naira each from all 14 Wheel Vehicles and Luxury Buses passing through every State in Yoruba territory. The heavy duty vehicles pollute and damage the environment of Yorubaland as they traverse Apapa ports until they exit towards other Regions of Nigeria. The revenue so realized will boost the coffers of the respective states.
In the same manner, and after due study of its possible impact on increased revenue, it is necessary to spearhead the preparation and sponsorship of a bill to the National Assembly, proposing the abolition of the law which empowers the Federal Board of Inland Revenue to centrally collect Value Added Tax (VAT), substituting it with one that will restore the responsibilities for the collection of Sales Tax to States government. Alternatively, a suit should be filed at the Supreme Court seeking the same reliefs. It is time we commence the dismantling of unitary framework of Nigeria.
What is stopping groups of States from setting up their own equivalent of JAMB institution that will strictly uphold merit in tertiary education admissions? Why not give students the option of ignoring Nigerian JAMB in respect of admissions to State owned institutions?
What is stopping States from issuing Drivers Licences, as States already have Motor Vehicle Departments and Vehicle Inspection officers. What is stopping the undertaking of regional Censuses and issuing of Identity Cards? Why wait for the ineffectual National Identity Management Commission?

A very important consideration is the fact that the Yorubas have to commence strategising on how to survive economically, when eventually the South South takes control of its Petroleum resources.Sooner or later, it will come. Nigeria will never be at peace until resource control is accorded its pride of place in the Nigerian Federation. It would also be wise to commence contingency planning towards:

Legal Suit against the Federal Government seeking Self Determination Referendum for Autonomy and Integration of Yorubas in Kogi, Kwara and Edo States
An order seeking to expunge all references to Local Government administration in the Federal Constitution
Abrogation of Land Use Act suit as embodied in the constitution.

In ending this section, one is left to wonder in recent years, why there has not been any instance of the Federal Government instituting legal action at the Supreme Court to challenge any State or groups thereof for infractions of the Constitution. It is a mystery also why there were no myriad of attempts at curtailing the so called overbearing powers of the Unitary Government of Nigeria to a level that will lead to a formal challenge at the courts? All we have had are mere grumblings and lazy posturing on the pages of newspapers.

6.0Conclusion and Take Aways
6.1From the foregoing, it is quite clear that the approach of legislation and political re-engineering through the political process is the preferred pathway for bringing about the necessary changes in the constitutional framework for governance. It may be supplemented with litigation.
6.2There has been 2 epochs in Yoruba relationships within Nigeria in her modern history. The first, is the period between 1954 and 1966, during which time we experienced a steady climb of progress based on every indices of human achievements. We had self government that afforded our leaders to make choices and fashion out programmes and projects that suited our way of life and world view without hindrance by other ethnic nationalities. The system then was clearly a flavour of Federalism as classically defined.
6.3The second epoch is from 1966, lasting till date. Steadily, but surely, we lost grip on our affairs. Our prized assets were appropriated: University of Ife, Liberty Stadium, WNTV/WNBS, government run and managed primary and secondary Schools, Lagos City Council, Ibadan City Council, Farm Settlements, System of Competitive Examinations for recruitment into our Public Service, abandonment of Lagos as capital city. Much later, Lagos Metroline internally conceived by the government of Lateef Jakande was insolently cancelled. Our taxation ability was appropriated and VAT resources taken out of our territory. JAMB system of quota damaged the psyche of our youths. Federal Character system damaged our world view of merit and honour to the very best and brightest. This is classically a flavour of Unitary System in plain sight.
6.4We now have a clear choice to make. Shall we continue with the current trajectory, or make a bid for the past? From all indications and based on strident calls by all and sundry for years in the past, it would seem that we fared better during the first epoch of 1954 to 1966. The logical question to ask therefore is how do we proceed to reverse our misfortunes? What is stopping us in the quest for self government? To whom is our continuous calls and appeals for “True” or “Fiscal” Federalism, or Restructuring directed? Are we praying to God? Or we are praying to mere mortals like ourselves? If our calls and appeals are to mere mortals that are identifiable, then is it not time we pointedly face our traducers? Should we not put aside timidity or the fear of fear and begin the quest to take back our lives. Should we not begin in earnest to organise for internal understanding and cohesion of thoughts among ourselves?
6.5Are we alone in the context of Nigeria in the understanding that the past was far better than now. Are there no others like us in the other 5 geopolitical zones? Should we not begin to organise and mobilise ourselves and all others? The draft of a new Constitution effortlessly produced by the Voice of Reason is a ready instrument to negotiate with other like minded nationalities across Nigeria.
6.6The body of legislators to be elected soon therefore have the historic duty to act. If not you in the Hall today, then who? Will the distinguished leading lights of the Yoruba Society hearken to the clarion call? Shall we shake off the perception of being in the pockets of the executive government in our land? Shall we transform to be a legislature of thinkers and innovative doers.
6.7This presentation has ample content with which to act towards the emancipation of the YORUBA NATION. There are ideas and proposals on
(i) The institutionalisation of a body of Speakers of Houses of Assembly and the Chair-men/women of LGA’s for programme development and coordination across State boundaries
(ii) Setting up of contacts and outreach committee to mobilize other like-minded persons and bodies beyond Yorubaland towards mid-wifing change in the Nigerian polity
(iii) Programmes and ideas input into possible legislations for reforms and the imperatives of working out actionable steps, deliverables and timelines.
6.8Let it be stated this day, that the source of our decent into decadence lies within us and our choices. Lets us not blame any other: Fulani, Hausa or Igbo for our seeming misfortune since 1966. There is no so-called “power that be” anywhere that can defeat a united and purposeful people. Let no political affiliation or naked self interest be in our way. Whether we depart from this hall today with the conviction to act or not, this year shall be a defining moment that will be recorded in the annals of history for the future generations.
6.9Finally, it may be the quest after “a bridge too far” for anyone wishing and angling for 2023 ruler-ship in the present state of Nigeria. It is very unlikely indeed that the present contraption will subsist for that long. My dear brethren and the legislative lass of 2019, this is the Voice of Reason.
The Voice of Reason indeed.

Akin FAPOHUNDA. Ph.D.; FNCS

+234 803 312 1004, director@aflon.org

Abuja, Nigeria

Delivered: 30-January-2019.

Reference

Osuji Ozodi Thomas (2007): The Problem with Nigeria’s Constitution. http://www.nigeriavillagesquare.com/articles/the-problem-with-nigerias-constitution.html