Immediate past President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, has warned that Nigeria risked a constitutional crisis if sections of the country decided to boycott the 2023 General election in protest against President Muhammadu Buhari’s delay in restructuring the country before the elections.
Chief Nwodo stated this in his contribution at 17th Gani Fawehinmi annual lecture held in Lagos at the weekend.
The two-time minister stressed that only a return to pre-1966 federalism would address lingering crises in the country and return Nigeria to the path of rapid development as desired by most citizens.
Nwodo said: “There was only one reason why things worked so well then. We had a regional system of government that allowed regions to enjoy sovereignty over their resources whilst paying royalties and taxes to the federal government. Our domestic security was independent and uncontrolled by the Federal Government.
“Suddenly, the army came to power and abrogated our constitution, turned us into a unitary state and imposed a unitary constitution on us. They seized our natural resources and donated them to the federal government to share without adequate respect for derivation.
“Nigeria must restructure and give its component units sovereignty over its natural resources provided they pay royalty or some form of taxes to the federal government to maintain federal responsibilities like external defence, foreign missions, customs and immigration.
“Emphasis must return to agriculture and education. Domestic security must remain in the hands of the federating units because living safe in Nigeria today is by luck. The secularity of the Nigerian state must be respected. These irreducible minimum conditions are not negotiable. If it does not happen, we will have no alternative but to go our separate ways.
“Processes to begin our restructuring as a nation must be concluded before the 2023 elections so as to avert a situation where sections of the country may boycott the elections and present the country with a constitutional force majeure.”