A former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), said, on Wednesday, that former President Olusegun Obasanjo almost punched him for advising that the 1999 Constitution be amended when Obasanjo was the sitting President.
Olanipekun said while delivering the Convocation Lecture of the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State.
The theme of the lecture was: “Mass Exodus Of Human Capital In Nigeria: An Anatomical Analysis of The Causes and Effects.”
Olanipekun, who described the 1999 Constitution as a fake document, said it was to blame for the myriad challenges bedevilling the country.
“Every governor goes to Abuja now everyday and who do they go to see, directors, deputy directors. Is this federalism?
“We need a constitution with a humane face. I’m a lawyer but we are deceiving ourselves; our constitution is fake and I have said this over and over, but then as lawyers you will ask us, if we say the constitution is fake, why are we practising it?
“Lawyers and judges apply the law as it is, not the law as it ought to be; so we apply the law as we have it now and we have been pleading that we should amend the constitution, let us overhaul it. I, as President of the NBA, I led a delegation of the association to President Obasanjo in 2022; he almost boxed me.
“I am here in Ogun State and I’m saying this, he is still alive, he said, ‘No, you can’t change it’. I said, ‘Mr. President, let us seize this opportunity to do it’ and we also appeal to the powers that be now, to our President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, that the time for us to restructure this country is now. If we do not do it, these children that we have abroad might not return home, they won’t come here.”
Olanipekun said the current situation of the country was so scary that those living abroad would never come to Nigeria.
He said, “we are living in dangerous and hard times; our Obas in Yorubaland are being killed, being slaughtered like chickens. The Olufon of Ifon was slaughtered by the roadside about three years ago; two days ago in Ekiti, two Obas were slaughtered, one of them was an Associate Professor at Federal University of Technology, Akure.
“For those who are there (abroad), when they hear the news, will they want to come home? They ask where do I come to? Nobody wants to come and die, nobody wants to die young, but our Obas are dying even in the gutters.
“Joblessness, bad economy, frustration, man’s inhumanity to man, awkward federation that we described as federalism, we are running a unitary government, I’m a product of federalism. I was schooled in the Old Western Region, we were proud of that unlike what we have nowadays.
“We need a system whereby when these children leave schools, they get employed and if they don’t secure one, the state must cater for them. You can’t just say let them go and fend for themselves. Yes, they should fend for themselves but provide the enabling environment for that.”