From Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
The Bishop of the Diocese of Ijebu South-West, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Rt. Revd. Babatunde Ogunbanwo, has said that Nigeria as a nation would witness real development only if it is ready to jettison the current constitution and evolve what he described as “new civilian constitution”.
He noted that the amendment of the 1999 Constitution being undertaken by the National Assembly may not yield the desired result, insisting that only a new civilian constitution made by the sovereign representation of the ethic nationalities of the country would ensure the survival of the nation.
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According to him, the “civilian constitution” would address the fundamental issues necessary for growing a united and prosperous nation.
Bishop Ogunbanwo gave this position in his charge at the official opening of the Third Session of the Fourth Synod, held at the St. Barnabas Church, Okun-Owa, Ogun State, at the weekend.
Speaking further at the Synod with the theme: ‘Lift Up Your Eyes’, the cleric posited that “the issue of justice, equity and equality of the citizens in a free and democratic society remains an issue that must be openly and frankly discussed, legislated and implemented for the survival of the country, hence, Nigeria needs a new civilian and democratic constitution”.
“While we commend the National Assembly for their efforts to review the present constitution, we are convinced that what we need is a totally new civilian constitution. We need a new citizen-made national constitution and not the amendment of a military-formulated constitution.
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“We need the birth of a new Nigeria where no citizen is oppressed, rather where everyone has the right to strive for the good life. We need a nation where our collective resources are judiciously and equitably distributed for the good of all. Our present system breeds greed, corruption, anarchy and injustice. We need a new Nigeria for all citizens”. Ogunbanwo stated.
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The Anglican Bishop, however, lamented the current trend of increased borrowing by the Federal Government to fund national budget, saying the trend was becoming worrisome.
According to him, the rising debt profile of Nigeria with about 95% of the country’s revenue going into debt servicing woul limit expenditures for other critical sectors of the country, therefore, hampering growth and development.
The cleric, therefore, appealed to the Federal Government to stop further borrowing, urging it to hearken to Monetary Policy Committee’s advice to seek for alternative, more viable and efficient infrastructure-financing sources with the view to easing the nation’s expenditure burden, submitting “we must stop borrowing now and not enslave future generations”.
On his charge to the Ogun State governor, Dapo Abiodun, Ogunbanwo, who commended the governor for the completion of Ijebu-Ode -Epe Road, urged the governor to consider the rehabilitation of some key roads such as Ijebu Ode -Omu, Odogbolu-Eyinwa, Ijebu Ode -Okun Owa, among others.
According to the cleric, “if these link roads are properly rehabilitated and reconstructed, they will reduce congestion and traffic on the main Sagamu-Ijebu Ode-Benin expressway”.