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Constitutional change Nigeria’s immediate problem not 2023, says Adebanjo

Ayo Adebanjo, elder statesman has described talks about 2023 presidency as diversionary, saying that Nigeria’s immediate priority should be about initiating a process that would lead to constitutional change and amendment of the 1999 constitution.

In recent times, public discourse about the zoning of the 2023 presidency has intensified, while some are agitating for the scrapping of the zoning arrangement, others say it has come to stay.

Last week, Malam Mamman Daura, nephew to President Muhammadu Buhari, had said that competence and not geography should determine the next president of Nigeria in 2023.

He had said that since Nigerians have tried the rotational presidency about thrice already, it would be better to go for the most qualified candidate in 2023 irrespective of whether he comes from the North or the South.

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“This turn-by-turn, it was done once, it was done twice, and it was done thrice, it is better for this country to be one. It should be for the most competent and not for someone who comes from somewhere,” Daura told the BBC Hausa Service in an interview.

However, reacting in a telephone interview with Businessday, Tuesday, Adebanjo said Daura’s comment was a diversion from the immediate problems facing the country, stressing that whether the presidency was rotated or not there cannot be a credible election.

According to him, “We are living in denial. We are deceiving ourselves; the problem now is how to resolve the question of federalism and constitutional crisis. We should go back, or you scrap the country whether rotation of no rotation we would never see credible election under this structure.

“Daura is trying to divert attention; immediate priority is to keep the country first and you can’t keep the country together by these documents imposed on us by the Northern soldiers”.

He said the constitution of the national conference had become necessary for the country to resolve the myriad of constitutional crises bedevilling it to be able to survive.

The Afenifere leader further warned that the current crop of leaders must find a solution and scrape the military imposed constitution, adding that Nigeria’s founding leaders had given the nation a good constitution which was discarded.

“We should go back to the constitution as given to us by our founders. When the military came they imposed this constitution, we have been asking for a constitutional conference and we are not going to live together under a military constitution.”

“We are running away from the real issue, which is immediate constitutional change; if we are going to live together let us address that,” Adebanjo added.

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