The ARG is one of many groups canvassing for a SNC.
A Pan-Yoruba organisation, Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG), has condemned the call for a Sovereign National Conference (SNC) by Senate President, David Mark.
In a statement released on Thursday, the group said Mr. Mark’s sudden call for the convening of a SNC is suspicious as the senate president had few weeks ago described the SNC as not workable under the 1999 constitution.
“Mark, at the NBA annual conference in Calabar had said Sovereign National Conference is not workable under the 1999 Constitution. But in his speech on Tuesday, Mark not only agreed that SNC is possible under 1999 Constitution, he saw it as a way for Nigeria to stop playing the ostrich and to “confront structural distortions,” the statement reads.
The group described Mr. Mark’s proposal as piecemeal and a democratic robbery.
“We condemn Mark’s morbid obsession for the false inviolability of 1999 Constitution, a recurring theme in his speech. We wish to restate, for the umpteenth time, that Nigerians are not made for the law and as such, their fate cannot be sealed, as Mark wants, by the Constitution. His job will be more fruitful if he directs the affairs of his office by the conviction that NASS represents the people and not the constitution,” the group said.
The group also flayed Mr. Mark’s description of the SNC as a sectional agenda.
“We do not believe that SNC will serve Yoruba interest the most. In fact, the Ijaws stand to benefit more. But of what use is prosperity when there is no peace? It therefore makes sense for peace that the Ijaws keep their oil proceeds and pay royalty to the Federal Government,” it said.
Further, ARG said Mr. Mark’s version of the SNC is even more suspicious as it is stripped of the “God-given sovereignty”.
“He offered no reason for this democratic robbery other than his morbid fear that doing so can lead to fragmentation of the country. However, the current situation in the country is such that the constituent ethnic nations do not need Mark’s sermon to agree to stay together as a nation and he cannot stop them if they decide to part ways,” the statement reads.
The statement said the fear expressed by Mr. Mark would not have been an issue if he had carried out his assignment adequately as required by law.
The organisation said its call for an SNC is predicated on its believe that “The lot of this country will not change for good until we find the courage to summon all ethnic nations to the table of brotherhood to fashion out a new constitution as the current effort at constitutional review is a futile exercise that can never foster our nationhood.”
“We agree that SNC will bring its own challenges but those are blessed difficulties, the type that everyone prays for because it brings peace and prosperity. Convoking SNC is not a favour done to Nigerians but a golden service that will be cherished forever. It is not a question of “if” but “when” and we believe the time is now. Nigeria must restructure or it will rupture.”
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