Ekiti State Governor, Mr Biodun Oyebanji, on Friday, maintained that unless the country reverts to the 1963 constitution abrogated by the military, the country cannot move forward.
Oyebanji stated this in Akure, Ondo state capital, during a book presentation titled: ” Aketi: The courage to lead in trying time” written in honor of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu by Prince Ebenezer Adeniyan in Akure, the state capital.
The Governor who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Dr Abibat Omolara Adubiaro, said most of the challenges confronting the country at present would not have risen if the 1963 Constitution had not been jettisoned.
He noted that the Federal Constitution enabled Nigeria to progress very well until the military scuttled the republican federal Constitution in 1966.
According to him, development will continue to elude the country unless the nation returns to the 1963 constitution which ensures true federalism and guarantees peaceful co-existence among tiers of government in the country.
Faulting the federalism practiced in Nigeria, the Governor called for the restructuring of the country for a more perfect union that is just, fair, equitable and functional, saying restructuring is a holistic surgery for the healthy living of the country.
He said this will give room for a more effective, balanced, prosperous and peaceful nation that guarantees happiness for all.
In his paper titled “Reawakening the Restructuring Debate: Setting a National Rebirth Agenda”, the Ekiti governor lambasted those calling for federalism when seeking office only to abandon the agitation once they get to the office.
According to him, the word ‘restructuring’ has been long belaboured to the point of cliché in the nation’s sociopolitical lexicon as a nation, saying the clamour for ‘restructuring’ or return to ‘pure’ federalism has permanently been in public domain for over 30 years.
He, however, maintained that the return to 1963 Republican constitution before it was truncated by General Agunyi Ironsi’s regime would ensure that all the federating units live harmoniously in a country sharply divided by tribe, religion and politics.
He said: “For me, however, the call for restructuring is the call for a more perfect union that is just, fair, equitable and functional. I see restructuring as a holistic surgery for the healthy living of our country for a more effective, balanced, prosperous and peaceful nation that guarantees happiness for all.
“Even though it has been argued in some quarters that there is nothing like ‘true’ federalism and that the call for true federalism was a theoretical construct, I hold a contrary view.
“I do agree that every federal system is unique in its power relations between the federal government and the federating units, yet, it is correct to refer to the original federal arrangement as conceived in the 1963 republican constitution, in terms of power relations, as representing the “true” federal system for Nigeria.
” I do believe that our political independence forebears studied widely about all federal systems, reviewed our own unique situation and came up with what best suited and true to our socio-cultural and historical reality. For me, the challenge is the operationalization of the concept by the political establishments.”
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