Elder statesman, Dr. Tunji Braithwaite dies at 82


Elder statesman, lawyer and human rights activist, Dr Tunji Braithwaite is dead.
He was aged 82.

Dr. Braithwaite is said to have died today, March 28, 2016 at St Nicholas Hospital in Lagos after a brief illness.

Before his death, Braithwaite had criticized former leaders, Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida for making corruption attractive to state governors in the country.

“Obasanjo is not saying anything original because when he assumed office in 1999, I warned that the military constitution would make the governors emperors,” he said during an interview with Punch on Tuesday, February 2, 2016 after Obasanjo accused some governors of living like emperors at the expense of the masses.

“Governors determine security votes which they do not account for. Since 1999, the military constitution clothes them (governors and president) with immunity against being arrested for criminal misdeeds. Many of them brazenly looted the treasury and got away with it. Obasanjo became rich through this structure.

“Something appears to be driving Obasanjo to be making frivolous statements everywhere. He and Babangida made corruption attractive to governors and they elevated corruption in governance which subsequent presidents and governors are emulating,” he added.

Braithwaite was the founder of the defunct Nigeria Advanced Party (NAP).

He was a delegate at the 2014 National Conference, canvassed for a Confederal Constitution to replace the 1999 Constitution.

He described the 1999 Constitution as Decree 24 which was presently destroying Nigeria and Nigerians, stressed that it should be thrown out and be replaced with either a Confederal constitution, with Nigeria operating con-federalism or a very loose federation.

Also, Dr. Braithwaite disagreed with former President Goodluck Jonathan on 100 years celebration, saying that the President got it wrong as Nigeria was only 54 years old, adding that Nigeria was still work in progress.

He said, “Let the word go forth that there are a number of brave, honest nationalistic persons in this Conference that, hopefully would be able to reconstruct Nigeria in a way that the blessings, peace and prosperity rightly deserved by the peoples of this country would be guaranteed by a New Confederal Constitution.

”The existing six geopolitical zones are uniquely different developmental problems for which a single ‘’one-size-fits-all ‘solution can never work in the reality of Nigeria’s diversity. The present 1999 Constitution or Decree 24 is enforcing a country that is destroying its own people, and should be rejected outright.

”This Conference must therefore be as much a development conference as a constitutional one. It is our firm conviction that only a Confederal Constitution or a very loose federation is best suited for Nigeria. I say this because I know that no part of Nigeria is desert.”

Dr. Tunji Braithwaite was born in 1933, the youngest son of eight children.

He was educated at the prestigious C.M.S Grammar School, entering the school’s Preparatory Section in 1946 and completing his education there in 1953.

He proceeded to sit for his A Levels at the London University at Kennington College in 1955 and enrolled in 1957/58 as a Law student at the Council of Legal Education, London.
He was admitted into Lincoln’s Inn that same year and graduated as a barrister in 1960.

He is survived by his wife, five children and many grandchildren.

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