Indigenous Nationalities Move To Stop 2019 Polls, CitingNigeria’s Faulty Constitutional Foundations
By Akanimo Sampson
In a seeming similar move to the defunct Association for Better Nigeria (ABN), galvanised by Francis Arthur Nzeribe, some worried indigenous etnic nationalities in Nigeria, are bracing to stop the 2019 polls.
In 1993, Nzeribe had approached the court, praying it to compelled the then National Electoral Commission (NEC) to stop further announcement of the presidential poll results in which the candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), M.K.O. Abiola, was coasting home to victory.
The ABN action plunged the country into a wild cat crisis that forced General Ibrahim Babangida, to ‘’stepped aside’’ as the country’s military president.
This time, the indigenous nationalities concerned in a joint proclamation on behalf of the peoples of Southern and Middle Belt territories of Nigeria, are proposing a deferment of the 2019 elections and an immediate undertaking of the reconfiguration of what they described as ‘’the damaged constitutional foundations of Nigeria’’.
Text of their press briefing in Lagos on Monday, December 11, goes thus:
‘’Having watched in absolute horror like trapped passengers aboard rudderless the Ship of the Nigerian State sailing into deeper troubled waters, by way of plunging heedlessly into further National Elections in 2019 under the thoroughly Disputed 1999 Constitution, We the Undersigned, on behalf of the Regional Self-Determination Initiatives across the Southern and Middle Belt Territories of Nigeria, Cooperating under the aegis of the NIGERIAN INDIGENOUS NATIONALITIES ALLIANCE FOR SELF-DETERMINATION (hereinafter “the Alliance”), wish to Posit as follows:
‘’(I) That the history of the Colonial beginnings of Nigeria as a British Business Enterprise is too well known to bear any further repetitions and so it would suffice to remind us that Nigeria was not the Consensual Project of it’s Constituent Component Nationalities and that four decades into the Lugardian Experiment of 1914, the Regional Leaders of the forcefully Amalgamated Territories had no faith whatsoever in the artificial Political Union into which their various Peoples has been locked by the British and so, while Alhaji Ahmadu Bello as Premier of the Northern Region lamented the British-Imposed Union as “The Mistake of 1914”, Chief Obafemi Awolowo had dismissed Nigeria as “A “Mere Geographical Expression”.
‘’(II) Recently Declassified Secret Colonial Records now confirm the heavy manipulations by the British to create a lopsided Union in which what was packaged as “Independence” in 1960 was, for the Southern and Middle Belt Nigeria, merely a Transition from External British Colonialism to Internal Caliphate Colonialism, manifesting Nigeria progressively as a British/Caliphate Joint Venture holding the South and Middle Belt Territories and Peoples in Servitude. On this note, it is instructive to recall the December 1913 description by the then Secretary For the Colonies, Lord Harcourt, of the impending January 1st, 1914 illicit Annexation of Southern Nigeria to Northern Nigeria, as the British Marrying off the Southern Lady of Means to the Poor but Well-Conducted Northern Youth and to point out that it was the Celebration of this Grand Bequest that Ahmadu Bello had declared to his lieutenants in the very week “Independence” in October 1960 that “The New Nation Nigeria should be an Estate of our Great-Grand-Father Uthman Dan Fodio. We must ruthlessly prevent a change of Power; We use the Minorities of the Middie Belt as Willing Tools and the South as a Conquered Territory; and never to allow them to rule over us; and never allow them have Control Over their Future”. (Parrot Newspaper, 12th October, 1960)
‘’(III) We recall that as the Departure of the British drew near in the early 1950s, the Ethnolinguistic, Cultural and Religious Diversities of the Peoples of the Territory dictated the adoption of a Federal Constitutional Model in which the then 3 largely Autonomous Regions (Northern, Eastern and Western Regions) owned and Controlled their Assets, contributing an agreed percentages of their Income (15%) to finance the Upkeep and Operations of the Center (Federal Government) in the limited function jointly delegated to it by the Federating Regions and it is pertinent to note that the high Degree of Autonomy which defined this Federation Model resulted from the 8-Point Demand raised by Sir Ahmadu Bello, Premier of the Northern Region, following the Northern Opposition to, and defeat of the 1953 Independence Motion moved by Anthony Enahoro.
‘’(IV) The Miiitary Coups of 1966 truncated the aforementioned Federation Model, toppling and jettisoning the 5 Constitutions which defined the Federation of Nigeria (4 Regional and 1 Federal), imposing a Unitary System in which the Center (Federal), masquerading as “the Federal Government” forcefully seized, confiscated, and become the Owners of the Assets and Sovereign Rights of the Regions (fractured first into 12 States in 1967 and subsequently to the present 36 States which grovel at the feet of an omnipotent Federal Government, with a 68-Item Federal Exclusive Legislative List that render the States completely incapacitated).
‘’(V) It is Self-Evident that this Inverted Federalism is directly responsible for the Globally acknowledged failings of Nigeria in all spheres, manifesting in Pervasive Corruption, Decayed Infrastructure, Gross Insecurity, Mass Poverty and Hopelessness, thrusting Nigeria upon the Global Podium as the Case Study of a Failed State. It is also Self-Evident that the many Regional Agitations in Nigeria, whether for Resource Control, exit from the Failed Nigerian Union or for Regional Autonomy, are basically Regional responses to Nigeria’s Inverted and distorted Federalism and therefore raise Sovereignty Questions that Elections cannot asnswer.
‘’(VI) That from the point of the collapse of the Federating Constitutions in 1966, Nigeria ceased to be a Federation and that the Unitarist Country imposed by a combination of Brute Force and Guile since 1966, has become for the Constituent Component Ethnic Nationalities of Nigeria, an Occupation Force, Operating as an adverse Suzerainty in Negation and Suppresion of the Collective Sovereignties of the said Constituent Component Nationalities which now feel Entrapped in the Union of Attrition and Death that Nigeria has become for their various Peoples, especially in the Southern and Middle Belt Territories which had been at the receiving end of the belligerence of a Section of Nigeria which owe it a duty of faith to kill others (Sharia) and which does not believe that all men are born equal (Feudalism).
‘’(VII) The Simultaneous Imposition of Sharia by the 12 Contiguous States of the Feudal Section of Northern Nigeria in year 2000, rendered the already distressed Union of Nigeria practically untenable since Sharia and Feudalism are mutually exclusive with the Democracy and Constitutionalism to which the rest of Nigeria subscribe and so it became a situation an irreconcilable Clash of Civilizations with little prospects of finding any viable, sustainable resolution as no side can be compelled or persuaded to abandon their World View.
‘’(VIII) That the Present Imposed Master-Servant Constitutional Order which emanated from the series of Decrees made between 1966 and 19and which birthed both the so-called “1979 Constitution” and it’s 1999 Reincarnation called “the 1999 Constitution” that currently defines the Union Nigeria cannot be the basis of any Democracy, for the same reasons that no Democracy could have been built on the Apartheid Constitution.
‘’(IX) That many years of painstaking People-led Democratic Processes including PRONACO and other Multi-Regional Initiatives, to find a sustainable resolution to the Damaged Constitutional Foundation of Nigeria had been ignored and denigrated by successive Federal Governments including the Present Administration as recent as November 2018 when in far away Paris President Buhari declared that those talking about Restructuring were lazy and without a clue on what they mean by Restructuring and how it could be undertaken. A comprehensive response as to the Meaning, Contents and Process of Restructuring was raised by an Alliance Partner Organization titled : “OPEN MEMORANDUM TO PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI ON HIS PARIS QUERIES ON RESTRUCTURING”. (See link: https://www.facebook.com/618603708275794/posts/1406123622857128/).We adopt and incorporate the Full Text of the said Open Memo of November 16, 2018 as the wider Articulation of the issues around the Demand for the Reconfiguration of the Constitutional Foundation of Nigeria.
‘’(X) It is also a matter of Public Knowledge that as a part of the aforementioned People-led Processes, the Component Regional Blocs of Nigeria throughout the Southern Nigeria and the Middle Belt had in course of the last 3 years taken their turns to Publicly Repudiate the 1999 Constitution as the Basis of the Nigerian Union and the next logical step is to Initiate a Time-bound Process for the Termination of the Operation of that Constitution.
‘’IT IS OUR CONTENTION
That the most urgent challenge before Nigeria today is to reconstitute itself back to being a Federation as the only viable mechanism for addressing the Self-Determination and Sovereignty Issues raised by the thoroughly Disputed Constitutional Arrangements of Nigeria, NOT ELECTIONS that can only exacerbate an already bad situation. The current dangerous crossfire between Political Gladiators and the trajectory of the Political discourse in Nigeria is reminiscent of the 1962 to 1965 episodes which exploded into the collapse of the Union in 1966.
We Demand that in place of the General Elections Planned for 2019, a Transitional Arrangement Be immediately instituted to peacefully ease out the Rejected Unitary Constitutional Order while a body with Constituent Powers is also instituted to midwife the emergence of Successor Constitutional Arrangements according to the preferences of the Constituent Component Nationalities of Nigeria to be ascertained by Referendums.
‘’May we inform the Political Actors from the South and the Middle Belt of Nigeria that a choice must made now between standing with the People they claim to Lead who have rejected the 1999 Constitution and any Elections Mandated by it AND standing with the enemies their People who insist on preserving that Master-Servant 1999 Constitution which enslave and impoverish the People. ‘’
Signed : On behalf of the Alliance
THE ALLIANCE GROUP
1.ARC. GEORGE AKINOLA —-YORUBA LIBERATION COMMAND 2. OTUNBA SHADE OLUKOYA —-REFERENDUM NOW 3. OLOROGUN BABATUNDE ADE-BANJO —APAPO OMO ODUA 4. AARE(DR) KUNLE OSHODI —-AGBEKOYA 5. OTUNBA DEJI OSIBOGUN —-YORUBA KOYA
6. MRS. BUNMI ABIDOGUN —-ODUA NATIONAL CONGRESS
1. FRED AGBEYEGBE —-ITSEKIRI NATION 2. T.K OGORIBA —-IJAW NATION 3. BAFOR AMATESIRI—-ISEKIRI NATION 4. JULIUS OTIRI —-ITSEKIRI NATION 5. MR. MARSHALL KUNOUN—IJAW NATION 6. PRESIDOR GHOMORAI —-IJAW NATION 7. OKIY GALATEI —-IJAW NATION 8. DR UDUMA A.IDIKA —-BIAFRA COALITION 9. OKECHUKWU ORJI—-BIAFRA COALITION 10.ENG. INNOCENT AMADI—BIAFRA COALITION 11.DR. STANLEY AJAH—-BIAFRA COALITION 12.SAMUEL EDESON —-BIAFRA COALITION 13. TONY NNADI —-LOWER NIGER CONGRESS
1. ABUKA ONALO —-PRESIDENT GENERAL 2. SOKWA MOHAMMED —-BABA NATION3. CALEB NANSHIP —-LANGTANG NATION 4. SUNDAY JOSHUA ABAKA —KORO NATION5. EDWARD UBWA—TIV NATION m6. SHUAIBU ABALAKA —IGALA NATION 7. ABDULLAHI BANIRE —-JUKUN NATION 8. ITODO PETER—IDOMA NATION 9. FRANK OMBUGADU —EGONS NATION 10 10. JOSEPH OLOCHE —-ELAIGWU NATION