Kaduna based Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Ustaz Yunus Usman, has said that Nigeria doesn’t need new Constitution, but continuous amendment of the existing Constitution, citing American Constitution that has been in use for more than 200 years without being replaced, but amended.
Usman said whatever Nigerians are agitating for before the Constitution review committee should be inserted into the existing Constitution and give it an amendment.
The SAN who represented INEC at the legal battle over the last presidential election dispute between President Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubakar told newsmen in an interview at the weekend on the state of the nation that President Buhari’s achievements in the last six years in office were overshadowed by insecurity issues as well as insincerity on the part of the State governors to cooperate with the President to achieve much for the country.
“We don’t need a new Constitution. All over the world if you have a Constitution, you only need to amend it. You can bring in whatever you want to add or subtract, it is still called amendment. If you continue to throw away this one today, bring in another one tomorrow, when will it end. American Constitution about 200 years old, they have never thrown away their Constitution, it is always amendment. Most of the things Nigerians are agitating for can be amended in our Constitution.
“But sincerely speaking, whether we like it or not, President Buhari in particular has impressed me. Before Buhari became President, we were selling oil at $165 or there about per barrel, but when he assumed office the price dropped to $30 per barrel. If I were Buhari I would have resigned, honestly. I think we should praise him for managing the oil price instead of blanket condemnation of him.
“Buhari is trying, whether we like it or not. What is covering President Buhari’s achievements is the insincerity and behaviour of our governors. Whatever the governors ought to do, Nigerians will say it is Buhari that has failed to do. Take for instance; the issue of Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) strike. It is only Federal government, Rivers, Lagos, and Edo States that have been paying directly. Others refuse to pay. The Federal government has been paying, but everybody is blaming Buhari. What we ought to blame the governors, we are blaming the federal government.
“People are blaming Buhari over the independent of the State legislators and the local government. These are State matters. Not Buhari matter. Now, quote me anywhere; there is no local government system in Nigeria, whether we like it or not. And that is the closest arm of government to the people at the grassroots. They are no longer there.
“Buhari’s achievements have been enclaved by the insincerity of the governors. There are only four States that you can see developments to some extent. I think Nigeria should be collapsed into six States of the geopolitical zones so that they can pay salaries. But the irony of it is that people are still asking for new more States. I think we are not sincere.
“Buhari is the stabilising force of this country. Most of the governors you see today are elected because of Buhari. If Buhari was not elected, they wouldn’t have been elected. So they should know that in 2023 they are on their own. If our governors continue to behave the way they are behaving, the future is bleak, if IPOB are killing the way they are killing, the future is bleak, if people are being kidnapped and killed, the future is still bleak. We must go back to God and beg for forgiveness.
“Critically speaking, I think Buhari has been doing the best he can. If you look at the circumstances when Buhari came to power, you need to pity him. Like I said I don’t have any governor as a friend, I don’t have any governor as an enemy, I don’t have any governor as a brother, I don’t have any governor as an in-law. If the governors have tried the way Buhari has tried, we wouldn’t have been in this predicament.
“Look at the palliatives given to the State governments during the lockdown to be shared to the people, they were left to be rotten without giving to the people. Yet some people are blaming Buhari. The federal allocation to the State governments are being paid, the one to the State house of Assembly and local government area being paid. It is the governors that collect all these payments. What do they do with the money?”. Usman said
The senior lawyer poured his anger on the State governors, saying, “If this country have not achieved anything, hold the governors responsible. If anything happens to this country hold the governors accountable. Quote me anywhere, governors are not helping matters at all. I am not happy.
“Come to think of it, in most of the States, infrastructural development is not there, human capital development is not there. So what do they do with the security votes. Insecurity are still there in the States. When there is insecurity in the States They call upon the federal government to save the situation. They could not pay salaries, it was federal government that was paying. What do they do with all these monies. If Nigeria fails, it is the governors and them alone that must be held responsible”.
The SAN also spoke about Democracy Day, “Anybody who says Nigeria has not achieved anything, he is not sincere with himself. Of course, developmental wise, you cannot say that Nigeria has not progressed. At least, there is total absence of military incursion into politics now. To me, that is an achievement. And we pray that the military will not come again.
“As I have always told people, the worst civilian government is better than the best military government anywhere in the world. We have passed that stage. It is an achievement.
“People are saying that Nigeria is a failed State, no, Nigeria cannot be a failed State. I did international law; and I want to tell you that one of the essences of a failed State is that you don’t have your own Army, Air force, Navy, and so on. But Nigeria have all these things. And Nigeria is in control of them. Agreed, there are problems here and there, but it is not that Nigeria is a failed State. It is not a failed State at all”.
On why insecurity persists in the country, Usman noted that, “God is angry with Nigeria because cultists are eating human parts as pepper soup, God is angry with Nigeria because one man carries money meant for the people and invest in foreign land. Such person is developing Europe. God is angry because men are raping 3-month old baby. And once God is angry, no leader can take control.
“We should gather Christians and Muslims to fast and pray for seven days. We must first of all go back to God for forgiveness.
“Those causing insecurity are not ghosts, they are living with the people. If government threaten village head, community leader, DPO, and say, look, if this insecurity continues, you will be removed, believe me, this thing will stop. Anybody who tells me that they don’t know who these people are, he is telling lies.
“We must be sincere to fight this insecurity. The local people can fight these criminals. We should not leave it to the government alone. We must also bring the sponsors of these criminals to book no matter how highly placed in the society. We cannot divide this country. Nigeria cannot afford another civil war. It will not be able to withstand it at all”.