STATE OF THE NATION: Referendum, New Constitution Must Come Before 2023 Polls —NINAS

THE Nigerian Indigenous Nationalities Alliance for Self-Determination, NINAS, Tuesday, said that all lawful means would be explored to ensure that the 2023 general elections do not hold, unless the Federal Government conducts a referendum for aggrieved indigenous nationalities, saying “there must be a referendum first to decide if we want Nigeria, then we can talk about a new Constitution before 2023 general elections.”NINAS is the umbrella body of self-determination groups in the South West, South-South, South East and Middle Belt, with Ilana Omo Oodua, under the leadership of a renowned Historian, Professor Banji Akintoye, Mr Tony Nnadi and Professor Yusufu Turaki.

Speaking during a press conference, Chairman of NINAS, Prof. Banji Akintoye, said: “As we come to the close of the 120 days of consultations which commenced on the 17th Day of April 2021 in the Measured Implementation of the Constitutional Force Majeure, we are here to update our people and the global community on the tremendous progress that has been made in giving effect to the will of the peoples of Nigeria which had for so long been suppressed by the forces of oppression and retrogression.

“For ease of reference, let us recall that the five points of demand on December 16, 2020, Proclamation are: Formal Announcement by the Federal Government acknowledging the constitutional grievances and sovereignty dispute now declared by the peoples of South and Middle-Belt of Nigeria.

“A formal commitment by FG to the wholesale decommissioning and jettisoning of the 1999 constitution as the basis of the federation of Nigeria as was done by the Government of Apartheid-Era South Africa in 1990, to commence the process by which the Apartheid Constitution of the then South Africa was eased out.

“A formal announcement by the Federal Government suspending further general elections under the disputed 1999 constitution since winners of such elections will swear to and govern by that constitution.

“A formal invitation to the peoples of the South and Middle-Belt of Nigeria which shall work out and emplace a transitional authority, and which shall specify the modalities for the transitioning process including the composition and mandate of the transitional authority as well as the time-frame for the transitioning and other ancillary matters.

“A formal initiation of a time-bound transitioning process to midwife the emergence of fresh constitutional protocols by a two-stage process in which the constituent regional blocs will at the first stage, distill and ratify their various Constitutions by Referendums and Plebiscites and in the second stage, negotiate the terms of federating afresh as may be dictated by the outcomes of referendum and plebiscites.”