North not Afraid of restructuring – Yakassai

Says, no Constitutional provisions to re-negotiate our unity, entity

ELDER Tanko Yakassai, an old breed first republic politician and member of the defunct Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU) party, said the north is not afraid of restructuring of Nigeria nation being agitated by sections of Nigerians. Disclosing this in an interview, the elder statesman and chairman Northern Elders Council, NEC, however explained that Nigerian constitution lacks the provisions for re-negotiation of the entity and unity of the country. He said the difficulty surrounding the agitation for restructuring revolved around the absence of the provisions for re-negotiating the Nigerian entity in the independence constitution the country inherited from the white colonialist. “Well, I don’t think the north is afraid of restructuring; one has to look back at the history of agitation for more States creation in the country which started as far back as soon after 1964 federal elections. “The agitation at that time was that the north was too big and was holding the rest of the country to ransom, and that was the beginning. “The agitation was intensified after the1959 general election. The general impression in the north was that the agitation started by Action Group, AG, when the body realised that the north which is more than 55% has to be cut down to size”, he said. Yakassai noted that after the second republic, the agitation took a new dimension particularly after anulment of June12 election in 1993 or there about. “ While it was the north that gave Abiola majority of votes, United Party of Nigeria, UPN, supporters disregarded the enrollment as an Act by the law rather than by military, simply because the head of military government was a northerner. “UPN transform itself into NADECO, and agitation was carried on by NADECO whose Chairman, Chief Tony Enahoro, who was a very staunch member of AG who raised  the motion for independent in 1953 which led to constitutional crises. “Those who knew the history of this agitation for this capturing by Enahoro under his new formed organization called  National Reformation Council, NRC, sees it as a new strategy on the part of the AG supporters to deal with north. “So now if you have the current structure and current revenue formula put together gives the north some advantage in terms of population, land mass and number of states and local government.  “So a lot of northerner see this agitation not as a patriotic means but as means to cut the north to size and deprived its naturally endowed advantages especially in terms of population and land mass that made it 55% population of the country from 1911census figure which has always been very consistent. “So most of the northerners see the agitation not as a move but as a move to cheat the north. “So if the north is against restructuring agitation it can only be seen from the point of view of this perception”, he noted. He also stated that “If you go back to history to read the instrument of transfer of power from British colonial authority to Nigerian nation state, no provision is made for the Nigeria entity to be re-negotiated. According to him, the British conquered Nigeria and took away “our sovereignty, but at the time of independence, when they agreed to return the sovereignty to us, there was no provision for re-negotiation of the unity of entity of Nigeria nation. “In the present day constitution that we have in Nigeria, no such provision exists and nobody, nobody can quote any part of constitution that allowed for the renegotiation of Nigeria entity”, he stressed. On referendum, he said, “in democratic setting, anything not in the constitution is illegal and unconstitutional, no rooms for restructuring, renegotiation.
“If you allow it, people will call for rearrangement into zonal and from there to region. “Unfortunately, there no provisions for that in our constitution. That is the reason why the whole Nigeria fought Biafrans. Because there are no provisions in the constitution. We are still operating the same constitution that was called independence constitution”, he added. Yakassai argued that the Republican constitution doesn’t exist adding that It was an amendment to the independence constitution. “Nothing like republican constitution. The constitution framework remains intact. “Some Nigerians are looking at the country’s constitution from the perspective of American constitution or nation, which came about as a result of 13 colonial territories that voted against British colonial power. “After they successfully voted out British colonial rule, they agreed to form United States of American, USA,. “Later on, when they opted out of British empire other territories started to revolt against the colonial power and joined the 13 states and create the nation. “So this is a different thing in Nigeria. The regions were the creation of Nigerian nation. At the time of amalgamation there were only two separate entities that joined together to form Nigerian nation: Southern and Northern protectorates. “The inter-region was the creation of Nigeria after amalgamation. The inter-region was more of a constituting units of the Nigeria nation. And subsequent development lead to the formation of 4 regions, 12 States and up to States today were all creation of Nigeria nation. “They are not federation units as some people term it to be”, Yakasssi maintained. The only way forward , according to him “is that there is provisions for amendment of the constitution in the constitution, it depend on meeting the requirements; there is a process. “If you look at the source of these agitation, it’s largely coming from some people in the South west together with people from South South, looking for physical federation which can be translated into resource control. “In addition, people from the South east, the Biafrans, are now agitating for a true federalism. The one from South east which they call true federalism has not been able to define what true federalism means yet because all the federation we have in this world differ from one another. “There is no federalism you term as a true federalism in the whole world. They are entirely different. American, Indian, Nigerian federalism among others are all different from each others. American federation is the original. “ In fact Nigerian federation is an artificial federation. It created itself. You didn’t create yourself. Scientists are trying to create life, and any how it’s done, even if they succeed, it cannot be original life. Similarly, a third republic member of Parliament, MP, on the platform of National Party of Nigeria, NPN, and longest serving chairman of the defunct All Nigerian People’s Party, ANPP, in a north-Western state of Nigeria also said the north is not afraid of restructuring of the country. While he strongly rejected the allegations against the north for objecting to calls for restructuring of Nigeria, the former legislator under Shehu Shgari regime, who was promised anonymity told our correspondent in an exclusive chat that the north specifically called for splitting of Nigeria during the first republic when the Premier of defunct northern region, Sar’duana of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello, was murdered. He said “If you remember the northern syndrome called “Araba”, meaning divide, you will know that the north is not afraid of restructuring in whatever guise”, He however queried, and demanded to know why the calls for the restructuring of Nigeria is being intensified now instead of the previous administrations, adding that if the agitators were sincere, it wouldn’t have been now that the anti corruption war policy of the present regime is in focus under a trusted and faithful leadership of President Buhari.

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