By Sunday Oguntuyi, Osogbo
The Coalition of Osun civil societies has said the assessment of the nation’s democracy and federalism still calls for concern even as June 12 has assumed and taken on its truest historical significance as democracy day in the country .
The coalition stated that despite having 21 (twenty-one) years of unbroken civil rule, the nation’s aspirations for democracy and an equitable federal arrangement still remain mere aspirations which are yet to be attained.
In a statement signed by Comarade Waheed Lawal, Shenge Raman and Wale Adebisi and obtained by our correspondent on Friday, the group described the 1999 constitution (as amended) on which the foundation of Nigeria’s democracy and federalism was built as bereft of integrity.
The coalition called on Nigerians to take advantage of the day to demand for a new constitution, adding that without this welfare and right of the people would continue to be disregarded .
The statement reads in part, “Yes, today June 12, 2020 is DEMOCRACY DAY! The question that constantly forces itself to the centre stage of our self-assessment as a country is: are we truly democratic in truth and spirit or are we merely under CIVIL RULE?
“The other pertinent question is: notwithstanding our self-description as a Federal Republic, are we really running a Federal System or a centralised/unitary arrangement? That we ask these questions 21 (twenty-one) years after the formal disengagement of the military from power is an indication that our aspirations for Democracy and AN Equitable Federal arrangement still remain mere aspirations which are yet to be attained.
“For us in Osun Civil Societies Coalition, it is not yet Uhuru, We say this because our score card on both claims of Democracy and Federalism is poor, very poor, Whereas THE constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) is a product of the deliberations, calculations and dictations of a few military officers and their civilian advisers.
“The few persons who conceived and crafted that document proceeded to legislate it into existence through Decree (26) but fraudulently referred to their work as the resolutions of “WE” the people of NIGERIA”. With this faulty and crooked foundation, it is clear that their further or other claim that the Constitution is one for the Federal Republic of Nigeria is bereft of integrity.
“In concrete, practical terms, Nigerians as citizens and the various constituent units of the country are constantly confronted with a system that has demonstrated a glaring lack of capacity to yield the dividends of democracy, justice and progress. Not only has the state been unable to provide security of life, prosperity and welfare for the generality of citizens, peaceful coexistence among the many ethnic nationalities that make up the country is in grave jeopardy.
“A situation in which the component units of our nation are living in distrust while the STATE has failed in its duty to provide security of lives and prosperity is like a time-bomb.
“As campaigners and partisans for Democracy, Justice and Human and Peoples’ Rights, we of Osun Civil Societies Coalition call on fellow Nigerians to seize the opportunity that today’s celebration of Democracy Day offers to re-dedicate ourselves to the business of deepening the Democratic Culture by ensuring that a Peoples Constitution is worked out to govern the affairs of this country.
“It is only by so doing that a Civil Democratic and Federal Order can be put in place instead of the current Civil Rule where the welfare of individuals as citizens and the rights of the various ethnic nationalities that inhabit the country to self-determination are routinely disregarded and violated.”