Obasanjo’s Fury: How Olanipekun’s Advice on Constitutional Reform Nearly Ended in a Fistfight

A former leader of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Wole Olanipekun, SAN, has revealed how he narrowly escaped a physical assault from ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo. Olanipekun said that Obasanjo was enraged when he suggested that Nigeria’s constitution should be amended during his tenure.

Olanipekun made this disclosure while giving the 32nd and 33rd convocation lecture of the Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State.

He described the 1999 constitution as “fake” and said that it failed to address the various problems facing the country.

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 us 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.

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