Prominent Members of National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) had thrown it weight behind call to return to 1963 constitution that spells more on regional system within democratic setting in the country in the past. Recall that the former Lagos state governor, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu had also made same disclosure at king’s college old boys Association where he aired his views about his unflinching support to return to regional constitution of 1963.
The regrouping of NADECO, which comprises remnants of the old activists that fought the military to a standstill, came on the heels of calls by various prominent groups in the country for the devolution of power to the country’s federating units for Nigeria to develop.
At a meeting attended by prominent NADECO chieftains like Dr. Amos Akingba, Chiefs Ayo Opadokun and Ayo Adebanjo, in Lagos, the group made a damning verdict on the country; “Nigeria is back to dictatorship.”
In a statement released after the meeting, the group said, “it is time once again to rise and defend democracy in our dear country. We are very troubled by recent national developments and are forced to issue this warning to all our compatriots that democracy is once again under threat in our nation!”
While condemning military operations against the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) in the south-east and the planned attempt to repeat it in the other two zones in Southern Nigeria, the group called for the entrenchment of true federalism in the country.
According to NADECO, “In Abia State, the soldiers invaded communities, tortured civilian population, over-awed the constitutionally elected governor and civil institutions of the state, and declared the IPOB a terrorist organisation, in defiance of the judgment of the Federal High Court.
“All of these actions are unconstitutional and represent an illegal takeover of the functions of the National Assembly, the Abia State House of Assembly and the legal authorities.
“The Army High Command has announced further that the ‘Operation Python Dance’ will be a regular event and that another similar activity named ‘Operation Crocodile Smile’ will be carried out in the south-south and south-west.
“The actions of the military, we restate, are inconsistent with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and may be the beginning, if not checked, of the unwitting or witting subversion of democracy in Nigeria.”
The group also seeks a return to the 1963 Constitution, which it said described essentially what true federalism is with emphasis on the coming together of independent federating units to form a federation which central government they cede some of their powers and responsibilities to.
NADECO also decried misinformation on the definition of restructuring particularly by partisan political operators who want “to confuse the Nigerian public and particularly our young people about the clear and unambiguous meaning of Federalism which universally represents a system of government whereby there is a distribution of power particularly between a central government and the constituent units wherever it is practised as opposed to centrist/unitary government.”