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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Reasons Obasanjo nearly punched me – Olanipekun reveals

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Wole Olanipekun, SAN, former President of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), on Wednesday, revealed the reason ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo almost punched him.

Olanipekun said the ex-President nearly punched him when he advised him to amend the country’s constitution during his administration.

The former president of NBA described the 1999 constitution as “fake” and lacking the required elements to address the various challenges confronting the country.

He called for the total overhauling of the constitution.

Olanipekun made his statement while delivering the 32nd and 33rd convocation lecture titled: “Mass Exodus of Human Capital in Nigeria: An Anatomical Analysis of the Causes and Effects”.

Olanipekun in the lecture of the Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, legal luminary blamed insecurity, faulty constitution, bad economy and “awkward” federalism for the mass exodus of young Nigerians abroad.

He said as the President of NBA in 2002, he led a delegation of members of the association to meet Obasanjo where he advised him to commence the process of amending the constitution, but the former President not only rejected the advice, but almost “boxed” him.

He said “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 you will ask we lawyers that, ‘if we say the constitution is fake, why are we practicing 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 2002, he almost boxed me, I’m 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.

“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.

He described previous alterations to the constitution as “charades and widow dressing” and called for the restructuring of the country.

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