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Don’t expect a perfect Constitution from us, Gbajabiamila tells Nigerians

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Gbajabiamila joins race for speaker

The Speaker of the House of the Representatives, Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila, has declared that the current review of the 1999 constitution by the National Assembly would not produce a perfect constitution, stressing that ‘there is no such thing anywhere in the world’.

Delivering a keynote address at the 112th Founders Lecture of the King’s College Old Boys Association (KCOBA) on Saturday, with the theme “Unity in Diversity… Stronger Together,” the speaker stated that the National Assembly would deliver a constitution that would hold institutions of state to account and put an end to the debilitating conflicts that continue to tear the nation apart.

He said: “In the House of Representatives, we are currently in the process of a substantive review of our nation’s constitution. Our objective is to deliver a constitution that more effectively organises our politics to make it more inclusive, enshrine efficient mechanisms for holding the institutions of state to account and put an end to the debilitating conflicts that continue to tear our nation apart.

“We would not produce a perfect constitution; no such thing has ever existed anywhere in the world. Indeed some parts of the world have unwritten constitutions. However, together we can by the choices we make and our actions use our constitution as a foundation document to give life to the people of Nigeria.”

According to the Gbajabiamila, Nigeria was created from the forced union of tribes and peoples without consideration for the complex cultures and histories of the communities and kingdoms that made up the union.
He, however, said that Nigerians have the power to write a new chapter of peace and prosperity, justice and equity for the country that would give every Nigerian a sense of belonging.

He said: “Until it is clear to all that the continued existence of Nigeria guarantees them certain inalienable rights, there would not be an unreserved commitment to the Nigeria project.

“We are united in our nationhood by the promise that in this union, we will have a government that protects us from harm and is concerned primarily above all else by considerations of our collective welfare.”
“The combined obligation of government to secure the citizenry and ensure their welfare is the central covenant of our nationhood.

“Unfortunately, as we all know, the Nigerian state has often failed to live up to its covenant obligations. As the social compact of our nationhood has shrunk, the bonds of our brotherhood have frayed alongside. And citizens have been left to perform the functions of the state for themselves and their families. When your security and welfare are your business and yours alone, it is tough to exist in brotherhood with the persons against whom you are competing for survival.”
The speaker who attributed the problem facing Nigeria to prolonged military rule added that Nigeria is yet to recover from the overarching legacy of the military.

“The government has operated in opposition to the people for much of our history. Interactions between government and the citizenry frequently harm the citizens, causing further loss of faith in the ability of the Nigerian state to protect its own. This is the overarching legacy of military rule in Nigeria. We have not recovered from it. Over the last twenty years of democratic governance, we have made tremendous progress. However, many government institutions, notably law enforcement, retain the character of our militaristic past, and their actions often fall short of the legitimate expectations of the Nigerian people.

“For understandable reasons, many of our citizens have come to expect too little of our politics and government. We collectively suffer from the tyranny of low expectations and the cynicism that causes us to believe that the political process cannot produce anything worthy or worthwhile. But, this political process, flawed and broken as it is, is all we have. So, even as we work to reform it, we must also sustain it and use it to build the country we desire and deserve.”
Gbajabiamila said that while citizens of other countries were willing to die for their countries, Nigerians have changed the phrase ‘I am willing to die for my country to I cannot die for my country.’”
In his remark, former Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, said that the country could not stay united unless there is equity and justice.

Obi stated that Nigeria has about 250 ethnic groups, which is far below that of India with over 2000 ethnic groups and Indonesia with 1300 ethnic groups, adding that both countries are doing far better than Nigeria’
He said: “You cannot stay united when there is injustice; we cannot stay united if you don’t allow people to operate on a level playing ground. If Nigeria is a productive country, our diversity could have been a source of strength but we are a sharing country.

“Our country is not a productive country but a country of consumption and sharing. Once it is sharing economy, it becomes difficult to be united because everybody wants to be part of the sharing,’’
In his contribution, former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), Mr. Nuhu Ribadu, said that Nigeria is a work in progress, stressing that everybody needs to do their best to keep the country united.
He warned Nigerians to avoid what happened in Rwanda and Somalia but rather emulate Tanzania, which he said is one of the most peaceful countries in Africa.

He urged Nigerians to participate in politics saying ‘many Nigerians believe that politics is too dirty but there is no alternative, people should participating in politics in order to make necessary changes.’’
In his address, KCOBA President, Mr. Kashim Ibrahim-Imam, observed that Nigeria is experiencing the worst turbulence in history and stressed the need for Nigerians to come together and find solutions to the problems confronting the country.

He also pleaded with the speaker to sponsor a bill that would transfer the management of King’s College to the Board of Trustees of the school, adding that government has no business is managing secondary schools

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Former Ogun First Lady celebrates 96th birthday

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Mama Lucy Onabanjo, wife of the first civilian Governor of Ogun State, the late Chief Victor Olabisi Onabanjo (Aiyekooto) celebrated her 96th birthday on Tuesday.

Lucy Onabanjo is the oldest surviving former first lady.

Born in Ijebu Ode on October 26, 1925, Mama Onabanjo was trained as a teacher.

It was after her training as a teacher that Lucy started dating the Late Bisi, who was working with a local newspaper called Gaskiya Tarfi Kobo (Truth is more than a Kobo).

Few months after meeting Bisi , she walked down the aisle and said “I do.”

The humble ceremony would blossom into a life of civil service from teaching to the Government House, Abeokuta and beyond.

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It’s illegal to pay petrol subsidy from federation account, Sanusi tells FG

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Former Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammad Sanusi II, has said the federal government is indulging in illegality by paying petroleum subsidy from the federation account.

The former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor spoke virtually as a panelist on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the just concluded Nigerian Economic Summit held in Abuja.

He also said the Nigerian daily oil consumption data is suspect thus there is endemic corruption in fuel subsidy payments.

“This money coming from petrol belongs to the federation account, and the federal government doesn’t have the constitutional right to pay subsidy on behalf of the federation.

“So it is a fundamental constitutional issue because this is money that should go to the federal, states and local governments. Yet money that belongs to the federation is carried out as federal government expenditure. So, there are so many complex issues, legal and economic issues. We need to stop these issues” he said.

He also advocated for the end of fuel subsidy and electricity subsidy, saying the money saved should be invested in critical sectors like education and health adding that the long-term gains far outweigh the short-term pains.

“I have said this before even as a CBN Governor under the previous government. What I say is not of a particular government. Take petroleum subsidy.

“In 2015 or 2016, Minister Ibe Kachukwu said Nigerian was importing 30 million litres of PMS per day after eliminating corruption. In 2019, the NNPC said we are importing 59 million litres per day after oil prices have gone up. And I have been asking the question, what happened between 2015 and 2019 that our oil consumption has almost double?” he asked.

He noted that “this is what also happened under the previous government. When oil prices go up, NNPC said they are importing more because of the arbitrage. Thus, when the oil prices go high, there is an incentive to inflate the number” he noted.

On electricity tariff, he said it should also be stopped as even poorer countries are paying cost reflective tariffs and enjoying uninterrupted electricity.

The Chairman, the Nigerian Governors Forum and the Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Kayode Fayemi, also agreed that subsidy payments had to end for resources to be free up for critical investments.

He also said that the government must focus on education and healthcare provision.

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PHOTOS: South-west govs visit Tinubu

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