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QuickRead: Anyaoku’s verdict on the 1999 Constitution. Four other stories we tracked and why they matter



A former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, last week gave a damning verdict on the 1999 constitution.

The same week, a former chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Salihu Lukman, took another swipe at President Bola Tinubu over his management of the country.

These and three other stories we tracked gained Nigerians’ attention during the period.

1. Anyaoku’s verdict on the 1999 constitution

On March 2, the former Commonwealth scribe declared that the 1999 constitution would not adequately address the country’s economic predicaments and other challenges.

Anyaoku, who spoke with journalists at his country home in Obosi, Idemili North local government area of Anambra State, said poverty, insecurity, and dilapidated infrastructure, among others, were serious challenges bedeviling the country.

He said: “I am on record for saying that these challenges cannot be effectively addressed under the constitution and governance system we have at the moment.

“We cannot effectively address these challenges that have assumed nationwide dimension especially insecurity which has pervaded the Northern part of the country and other communities.”

Why it matters

The elder statesman may have hit the nail on the head about the problem besetting the country, with the current constitution as the rule book.

Anyaoku’s remark is an illustration of the state of disorderliness in Nigeria, a country currently ravaged by economic hardship occasioned by the government’s incoherent policies and insecurity with Boko Haram insurgents and bandits turning the Northern part of Nigeria into a killing field and other parts in a seeming state of anarchy.

2. Lukman aims fresh swipe at Tinubu

A former Vice Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), North-West, Salihu Lukman, on March 2 alleged that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has been managing the country’s affairs like a military dictator.

In a statement issued on Saturday, the outspoken APC chieftain lamented that the level of poverty, insecurity, hunger, and high cost of goods and services in the country showed that APC and its leaders had shortchanged Nigerians.

He said: “What Nigerians are having today wasn’t what was promised at all. The most disturbing reality is that the current economic hardship was produced during the first term of President Asiwaju Tinubu, with no end in sight. Does it then mean that President Asiwaju Tinubu is not interested in a second term? Certainly not.

“If he is interested in a second term, why is he managing affairs of government like a military dictator, shutting down the structures of the party, and talking down to citizens like a philosopher king who has absolute knowledge of what will produce possible happiness for citizens?”

Why it matters

While the APC chieftain may sound like a broken record in the opinion of those close to the government and its sympathizers, he has indeed the right cord in his criticism of the Tinubu administration in the face of challenges facing Nigerians under its watch.

Lukman’s fears are justified, and indeed if elections are to take place today, the president and his party will be kicked out of power due to growing distress and tension in the country, occasioned largely by a lack of visible attempts by the government to address the hardship among Nigerians.

3. Soyinka revisits push for Nigeria’s restructuring
Soyinka attacks Balarabe Musa over comments on Amotekun

The Noble Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, on February 29 renewed the call for the restructuring of the country.

Soyinka, who spoke at the Punch Nigeria Limited’s 50th Anniversary Lecture titled: “Recovering the Narrative” in Lagos, said Nigeria’s restructuring has become inevitable for it to prevail over its challenges.

READ ALSO:QuickRead: Tinubu and governors consider establishment of state police. Four other stories we tracked and why they matter

He stressed that Nigerians did not have to endure unending hardship to live better.

The playwright said: “It is about time that leaders of this nation stopped taking us for a ride.

“Do we have to go through surrogates, dismantling empires to come to fulfillment?

“Decentralise simply so that government can come closer to the people and productivity ability manifested as a product of citizens, not simply as a manna from heaven.”

Why it matters

Soyinka’s position is another reminder of the unfinished discussion on the need to chart the way forward for the country and quickly too, through honest dialogue between and among its various entities to address the fundamental problems threatening its fragile unity.

This lends credence to the continuous push for state police as the ultimate solution to current insecurity and other arrangements that will redefine the workings of the perceived faulty structures in the country.

4. Ex-Rep, Shina Peller joins PDP
2019: Shina Peller joins race for House of Reps

A former lawmaker representing the Iseyin/Itesiwaju/Iwajowa/Kajola Federal Constituency of Oyo State in the House of Representatives, Shina Peller, on February 29 dumped the Accord Party for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.

Peller was received into the PDP alongside several members of the Accord Party in Oyo North Senatorial District by Governor Seyi Makinde, at Ode-Oba, Iseyin, Iseyin local government area of the state.

In his remark at the event, the ex-lawmaker said he joined the PDP because of Makinde’s exemplary leadership qualities.

He said: “Seyi (Makinde) is a visionary leader, that’s why I joined the party.

“I have seen the reason to align with his vision. There is no leadership when there is no vision. And we have seen the good work Makinde has done in this zone, Oke-Ogun. It has never happened in the history of Oyo North Senatorial district.”

Why it matters

Peller’s criss-crossing from APC to PDP reinforces the claim that politics is an interest-driven game.

The PDP’s romance with key elements in the APC, many of whom they have openly condemned in the past means that the opposition party will not mind dining with the devil to remain relevant in the country’s political space.

5. Ex-minister of power, Agunloye sues EFCC for declaring him wanted

A former Minister of Power and Steel, Olu Agunloye, on March 1 filed a N1 billion lawsuit against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for declaring him wanted.

In the suit filed by his legal team led by Adeola Adedipe (SAN), Agunloye alleged that the EFCC unlawfully published his name on its website’s wanted list in a bid to project him negatively in the international community.

Part of the lawsuit read: “The EFCC and the AGF both jointly or severally, whether by themselves or their staff, from further declaring the plaintiff wanted about the particulars and subject matter of this suit, either on the EFCC official website, newspaper publication or any other related platform, except by a judicial intervention and recourse to all constitutional safeguards available to him in law and equity.”

Why it matters

The trial of the ex-minister confirms the widely-held assertion that everyone is equal before the law, status in society notwithstanding.

However, the anti-graft agency’s handling of the matter suggests that it may not have weaned itself completely of allegations that it is sometimes used as an instrument to harass or oppress perceived enemies.

The development reinforces the call for strengthening the anti-graft agencies to carry out their functions effectively and avoid a scenario of who pays the piper dictating the tune.

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