HUMAN rights lawyer, Femi Falana, SAN, yesterday, expressed worry that the 2023 general elections could be jeopardised because some parts of the country are experiencing what he described as a civil war.
Also, former president of the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, Wole Olanipekun, SAN, has advocated true federalism and immediate reform in the judicial system, among others.
The duo said this at the final sitting of the Senate Committee on the review of the 1999 Constitution South-West Zonal Public Hearing, Lagos Center, held in Ikeja.
In his presentation, Falana condemned the rate of impunity in the country. This, however, came on a day the pan-Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, described the ongoing process of amending the 1999 Constitution as an exercise in futility that cannot achieve any meaningful result.
But Falana, in his presentation, said: “Our country is ruled by the rule of the rulers, and not rule of law. People commit all manner of crime and get away with it because there are no sanctions. This must change. The Social Security Bill must also work, so that jobless people can get stipends, pending when they get full employment.
“What can we do very quickly to save this country which is on the verge of collapse? If you don’t want people to break away from Nigeria, we must give them confidence and a sense of belonging, don’t declare war.
“Therefore, for the constitutional amendment to be fruitful, for us to have genuine outputs from this meeting, peace must reign. We must address Nigeria’s problem frontally. We must also give people the confidence of peace and inclusion if we must kill the cries for secession. Don’t declare war. “In fact, in some parts of the country, the 2023 elections are already threatened.
“INEC offices are being burnt, police stations are being burnt. In that kind of atmosphere, we cannot pretend that there is political stability in our country.
“Essentially, I am making a case for the poor, the masses of our people who are generally not represented in fora of this nature which are most times for the elites and privileged among our people. “Unless we are prepared to make these provisions justiciable and enforceable, this country will know no peace.
“Whatever constitution will come forth after now must make justiciable the fundamental objectives and directive principles of state without which there will be no political stability in Nigeria.”
Also speaking, Mr. Olanipekun, represented by his son, Oladapo, said the Electoral Act should be amended to allow governorship election cases to terminate at the Supreme Court. This, he said, is important to stem the tide of conflicting judgments arising from Appeal Courts.