The Afenifere Renewal Group, ARG, has described Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso’s comment claiming the immutability of the 1999 Constitution and called on all Nigerians to condemn it as selfish and unpatriotic.
In a statement on Sunday, the group blamed Mr. Kwankwaso and other “self-seeking” Nigerian politicians for endorsing the 1999 Constitution when it suits him and calling for its amendment when it does not.
In a media interview recently, Mr. Kwankwaso was quoted as saying that “any Constitution other than the 1999 Constitution should be rejected because anything less than that is an instrument by those who think it will help them.”
“Kwankwanso, one of those who believe the 1999 Constitution is perfect for Nigeria, has had two reasons to call for its amendment recently,” the ARG said in a statement signed by its Publicity Secretary, Kunle Famoriyo.
“He changed his stance on the agitation for state police when his security aides were withdrawn by ‘order from above’ during the Kano Emirship commotion. He also called for amendment of the impeachment laws when a raft of impeachment wave threatened governors of his party, All Progressives Congress, claiming Nyako governorship in the process,” the statement said.
“These two calls for constitutional amendment, coming at a time that Kwankwanso was at the receiving end of the imperial and despotic powers of the 1999 Constitution, seem to suggest that the Constitution must exist only to serve his personal good and that of others with similar stance. It does not bother them if and when others are the victim of the Constitution’s despotic powers,” the statement continued.
“This selective philosophy from a man who wants to become Nigeria’s president is no less selfish and denigrating as the politics that currently dominates Aso Rock,” it added.
The ARG said that Nigerian politicians have not proved that democracy is indeed a better alternative to military rule, adding that “All Nigerian presidents since 1999 have found the 1999 Constitution handy in justifying dictatorial tendencies, with the current president claiming he is yet to even use 10 percent of the (despotic) powers of the constitution.
“This is a dangerous pointer to the fact that Nigerian politicians are still not faring better than military dictators who churn out decrees and amend them to suit their dictatorship ego.
“Neither Kwankwaso, nor any Nigerian politician, need be at the whipping end of the Constitution before patriotic sense prevails on all of us to fight to entrench true federalism in Nigeria. For Nigeria to survive, it must provide an equitable basis of existence for all federating units. The 1999 is evidently inequitable and needs, not piecemeal amendments, but a total reworking.
“ARG has no grouse against any politician but it believes that no politician’s ambition should choke national interest. ARG therefore calls on all politicians to learn to sacrifice personal interests for the promotion of an egalitarian Nigeria anchored on true federalism principles.
“Nigerians are not made for the law. Neither should law, meant to promote equality, promote class divide. We must ask ourselves: can we truly have democracy when some parts of the country feel less privileged than others?”
The ARG also said that the Confab report must not be tainted by political ambition and “Nigerians should be allowed through referendum to decide what happens to the report because they should have the primal right to determine how they wish to be governed.”
“Though, the report does not represent everything we want in the Southwest and we are still consulting on what position to take, it is unarguable that the resolutions represent a consensus of both political and apolitical Nigerians,” the group added.