Group seeks stoppage of Saturday presidential/NASS elections
By Stephen Olufemi Oni, Ilorin
A group of concerned Nigerians, under the aegis of Nigeria Indigenous Nationalities for self determination (NINAS), has urged the federal government to stop the next Saturday Presidential and National Assembly elections, saying that it cannot achieve any meaningful development for the country under the 1999 Constitution presently being operated in the country.
Addressing journalists in Ilorin, the Kwara state capital, on Thursday, spokesman for NINAS, Dr David Salami, said no election should be held under the 1999 Constitution as the rule of law which is the bastion of good governance cannot be achieved with the 1999 constitution being in use.
Salami, who was flanked by other members of NINAS, said a new constitution that would promote the rule of law, good governance, equity, justice and transparency should be put in place before a general election is organised for the people to enjoy the full benefits of the rule of law in the country.
He opined that instead of holding a general election, what the government should do is to organise a referendum of ethnic nationalities in various zones in the country, adding that each nationality would meet and determine how their people should be governed and this would engender peace and development in their areas.
He said: “For the past 20 years, NINAS has gone out to meet with indigenous nationalities of the Middle belt, Southern Nigeria (Yoruba), Lower Niger Congress on modalities to work out the frame works to get back their stolen sovereignty that was taken forcefully by successive Nigerian governments starting from July 29,1966.
“Today, NINAS is speaking that there should be no election under the 1999 Constitution. Going to the polls in 2023 would amount to exponential regrets, one that would surpass the tumultuous eight years synonymous with economic hardship, terrorism, political brigandage, kidnappings, systemic annihilation etc.
“The 1999 Constitution has failed the current generation of Nigerians, it has confiscated the rights of the people and it will not change the situation of every Nigerian. It had failed the Nation in standing for the truth and correcting the wrongs in the system.”
While calling for the complete review of the 1999 Constitution for the Nation’s democracy to stand the test of time, Salami appealed to the people to prevail on the government to stop the election.
“The indigenous nationalities must come together and renegotiate their condition of being in the country under a new constitution because the rule of law cannot work in Nigeria unless we make a new constitution,” he added.
Salami, who disclosed that his team was representing the Yoruba of the Southwest in NINAS, stated that the group was not averse to the Yoruba Nation agitators, added that the independent they were agitating could not be achieved through violence.