Angry former President Obasanjo wanted to punch me when I mentioned restructuring–Says Olanipekun

By Ologeh Joseph Chibu

Former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo nearly boxed the former Nigerian Bar Association, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN)when the later met him to discuss the need to restructure Nigeria.

Olanipeku said he had gone to meet the former President requesting for adjustment of the constitution to guaranttee restructuring but that Obasanjo flared up.

He said Obasanjo got furious that he nearly engaged him in fisticuffs.

Olanipeku spoke on Wednesday at the Convocation Lecture of the Olabisi Onabanjo University,Ago-Iwoye in Abeokuta.

He said he had requested a visit to the President on the state of the Nation.

“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.”

However, Obasanjo has continued to make false claims that he wanted the country restructured reflecting the mood ambivalence of the former President.

Olanipekun spoke on “Mass Exodus Of Human Capital In Nigeria: An Anatomical Analysis of The Causes and Effects.”

Olanipekun said the 1999 Constitution was that should be rejected while a new constitution should be bestowed on Nigeria.

He said his encounter with Obasanjo indicated he wanted the status quo to remain.

“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?”Olanipekun said

He argued that L
lawyers and judges apply the law as it is, not the law as it ought to be; so they apply the law as they have it now and they have been pleading that they should amend the constitution.

“Let us overhaul it. I, as President of the NBA, I led a delegation of the association to President Obasanjo, he almost boxed me.”

Olanipekun said the current situation in Nigeria will never encourage people abroad to return home.

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.

Olanipekun said Nigeria needs a system whereby 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,” he argued.

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