Ayo Adebanjo, elder statesman and chieftain of Afenifere, a Yoruba socio-political organisation, says the 1999 constitution is a fraudulent document that was foisted on the country by a North-dominated military regime.
In an interview published on Saturday by Reuben Abati, former spokesman to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Adebanjo said the term ‘restructuring’ would not have come up had the military not intervened in the politics of Nigeria through coups.
He warned that the time to return to true federalism is now, else Nigeria may cease to exist.
“Of course, without restructuring, there might be no Nigeria; It’s as clear as that,” Adebanjo said.
“I often say that the word restructuring came into our political lexicon after the military coup. Why? When the military came, they suspended the constitution and then created a one-line government.
“In 1993, Abacha made that fraudulent document (constitution); he died and Abdulsalami Abubakar sustained it, which was handed over to Obasanjo in 1999. Yet they are saying we have to live together on the constitution made by the North.
“When the military was there, it was dominated by the North and they made the document. The constitution we are having now is a fraudulent document. How? Did we make it? No. Are we federal? No. That is why we say let us decide how to live together.”
Adebanjo said that it is false to insinuate that anybody who supports restructuring wants the country to separate. On the contrary, “anybody opposed to restructuring is the enemy of the unity of Nigeria,” he said.
On why he thinks former President Olusegun Obasanjo did not amend the constitution during his time in office, Adebanjo said: “He (Obasanjo) is one of those who caused trouble in this country. He only believed in himself, and he doesn’t believe in others. Anything that does not favour Obasanjo, he won’t partake in it.
“If he’s a patriotic Nigerian, he was in the best position to solve the problems of this country, but the military wanted him to cover their tracks, which they are still covering till now.
“The military is still dominating us, all because of the many things they have done. They want somebody to cover it and that was why they brought Obasanjo from the prison to cover their tracks.
“That was why he said all the enquiries made against Babangida, he couldn’t find the record even though the news said he had the record. He covered that track.”
Adebanjo added that if the calls for restructuring of Nigeria ware not heeded before the 2019 general election, then “it means the government doesn’t want the country to stay together”.