Why We Reject Unitary Nigeria Defined by the 1999 Constitution: Explaining the Rationale Behind Impending Constitutional Force Majeure – MNN
This September 5, 2011 public communication of the Movement for New Nigeria (MNN) Alliance is a MUST READ for all who wish to understand the reasoning behind the impending Constitutional Force Majeure to take down the toxic imposed fraudulent 1999 Constitution, along with the Unitarism it foists.
MNN DECLARATION: WHY WE REJECT THE NIGERIA DEFINED BY THE ‘1999 CONSTITUTION’ – MNN, September 5, 2011.
(Being the text of a joint press conference by the Lower Niger Congress, the Middle Belt Congress and the Federation of O’odua People under the aegis of the Movement for New Nigeria held September 5, 2011 at Lagos in response to the torrents of inquiries that trailed the June 30 MNN Lagos Declaration by which the delegates of the peoples of Southern and Middle Belt Nigeria under the aegis of the Movement for New Nigeria jointly repudiated the Unitary 1999 Constitution of Nigeria and committed themselves to the urgent task of taking down the worse-than-Apartheid 1999 Constitution in the restoration of their long-suppressed sovereignties and in the assertion of their inalienable right to Self-determination).
It will be recalled that at a world press conference held June 30, 2011 in Lagos after a week-long retreat, the Movement for New Nigeria (MNN) declared its position on the tottering Nigerian project in a statement titled ‘THE FAILED STATE OF NIGERIA: OUR STAND’ (later published in full in an advertorial on page 38 of the August 25, 2011 edition of the Daily Sun Newspaper).
The groundswell of support, the deluge of positive inquiries that have trailed our said position as well as the continuing campaign of violence, has necessitated this communication in which we shall attempt to furnish a more in-depth insight into the reasoning behind the June 30 2011 Declaration and restate the dire urgency of the situation. The horrendous attack on the UN building in Abuja widens the scope of concern and heightens the need for action.
The paradox of free and fair elections yielding so much bloodshed has left most observers and stakeholders confused and bewildered and has thrown up more profound questions about Nigeria than elections could answer. It is evident that the violence is an open confrontation between the forces of feudalism which had held Nigeria hostage from birth and the forces of liberty which, for once, put up a successful challenge. The violence has its roots in the foundations of Nigeria and has in many variants, been recurrent, just that on this occasion the whole country was involved in the fray at a time international attention was beamed on Nigeria. The declaration by the perpetrators of the violence that they do not recognize constitutionalism and democracy as a form of government is very instructive.
The history of how Nigeria came into being as an amalgam of various British colonies in the ‘Niger area’ is too well-known to bear any repetition, save to mention that in the early 1950s when the departure of the British colonialists became imminent, the peoples of the vast territory, realizing their profound differences accepted to remain in one political union at independence based on federalism in which the then federating three regions had autonomy over their territories while jointly running the central (federal) government as a union office for a limited range of delegated responsibilities. Each region had its own constitution, developed at its own pace using its own resources while contributing to the upkeep of the center.
However, the British and their Fulani feudalist friends in the North, who had other sinister designs, had managed to smuggle certain dangerous ingredients into the broth for which the independence that was offered became hollow for the rest of Nigeria. Thus, whilst the rest of Nigeria celebrated what they thought was freedom from British rule in October 1960, the Leader and Premier of the then Northern Region, Sir Ahmadu Bello, and his lieutenants were celebrating something else, succinctly captured in the words of Sir Bello one week after the lowering of the Union Jack in October 1960:
“The new nation called Nigeria should be an estate of our great grandfather Uthman Dan Fodio. We must ruthlessly prevent a change of power. We use the minorities in the North as willing tools and the South as a conquered territory and never allow them to rule over us and never allow them to have control over their future”. – Parrot Newspaper, October 12, 1960. Recalled by Tribune Newspaper, November 13, 2002.
This elaborate mission statement and Battle Script have been carried out to the letter and consolidated into a prevailing constitutional regime. This script holds the key to explaining the mysterious odyssey of the distressed clay footed giant, Nigeria. All the woes and failures of present-day Nigeria, as well as the misery of its peoples, flow directly from the single-minded execution of that Script; the illicit gains forcibly obtained have been crystallized, concretized and made permanent in the form of a unilaterally imposed ‘1999 Constitution’ which defines Nigeria according to the dictates of those executing the script. The hapless rest of Nigeria must now obey the ‘law’.
The Sardauna 1960 Battle Script and the 1999 Constitution
A detailed examination of Nigeria’s current constitutional reality under the microscope of the 1960 Battle Script will show that the Unitary constitutional order we have in place today (the so-called 1999 Constitution) represents the full implementation of the 1960 Script, both in content and process. The key dramatis personae, who executed the transmogrification of our supposed democratic federal republic into a feudalistic Unitary reality, can clearly be identified in their assigned roles and status within the Battle Script. The authentic heirs of the estate from the Far North like Murtala Mohammed and Shehu YarA’ dua,; the “willing tools” from the minority North, like Yakubu Gowon and Theophilus Danjuma and collaborating slaves from the South led by the head slave, Olusegun Obasanjo – all have had clear roles.
The ruthlessness with which the cold-blooded murders/pogroms, which accompanied the overthrow of 5 Constitutions in 1966, were executed is unmistakable in the spirit of the Script. The kangaroo trial and imprisonment of Chief Obafemi Awolowo for outperforming the British-anointed candidate, Alhaji Tafawa Balewa, at the independence election bears the mark. The May 29 1962 brutal sacking of the Government of Western Region by the feudally controlled Federal Government via the declaration of State of Emergency in breach of the Constitution at the time; the Federal-induced electoral heist of 1965 in Western Region that precipitated the wild-wild west wanton killings; the MKO Abiola saga in which victory at the 1993 presidential election earned him imprisonment and death while the masses who dared to question the annulment of his mandate were mowed down in their hundreds. .All these bear the mark. The judicial murder of Ken Saro-Wiwa and his Ogoni kinsmen by one Justice Ibrahim Auta under the field supervision of one Lt. Col Dauda Komo, then military Administrator of Rivers State; Odi, Okerenkoko, Ogbakiri, Umuechem and Gbaramatu tasted of the ruthlessness by which any push for change was to be put down.
The tenacious processes by which the gains of the entire onslaught had been made permanent in the name of the ‘Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria’ is a reflection of the ‘never-allow-them’ aspect of the 1960 Script.
Specific Examples of Feudal-compliant Contents of the ‘1999 Constitution:
- Force as Basis of the Nigerian Union/Constitution: The 1999 Constitution was imposed via Decree No. 24 of 1999 with a false claim in its preamble that ‘We the people…’ enacted and gave the same unto ourselves. In contrast, the 5 Constitutions (4 Regional and 1 Federal) sacked by the Military in 1966 were painstakingly negotiated and agreed upon by the leaders and representatives of the then federating regions. Today, force as against consent remains the basis of the Nigerian union since the feudal overlord does not require the consent of the slave to make any law, even if called ‘Constitution’.
- Unilateral Structural Reconstruction of Nigeria: Of the 4 Regions sacked in January 1966, one, (the Northern Region) has, by fiat (Decrees), become 19 states plus the Federal Capital Territory, thus controlling a solid majority in the National Assembly while the other 3 Regions (Eastern, Western, Mid-Western), plus the then Lagos Federal Capital Territory, have been compressed into a mere 17 States together being a minority in the National Assembly. This is compounded by the creation of 774 revenue-sucking outlets called Local Government Areas (LGAs) in which the North holds more than half. Altogether, no matter who becomes president, the revenue-sharing reality is one in which those who bring nothing to the treasury take away about 70% of its contents as dictated by the ‘1999 Constitution’. These terrible reconstructions were decreed by Yakubu Gowon, Muritala Mohammed, Ibrahim Babangida, Sani Abacha and embedded into the impregnable fortress of the ‘1999 Constitution’ by Abdulsalami Abubakar. Where went the officers from Southern Nigeria when these significant pillars of polity control got so radically reconfigured if there was no Script? The feudal overlord must be in control, even if disguised as constitutionalism.
- Resource Hijack: The 1969 Petroleum Decree by which the oil and gas assets of Eastern Nigeria (so-called Southeast & Southsouth) got hijacked by the Federal Government was issued by “willing-tool” Yakubu Gowon in the name of the war with breakaway Biafra. That hijack was made permanent and ‘legitimate’ by the inclusion of oil and gas on the Federal Exclusive Legislative List in the Abdulsalami Abubakar’ Constitution’. We ask Gowon and his confederates and successors: has the war not ended? The email statement from the MEND heralding the October 1 2010 bombings in Abuja referred explicitly to this constitutional mutilation as the injustice they are fighting to reverse. By the same design, the seaports of Port Harcourt, Calabar and Warri, which belonged to the then Eastern and Mid-Western Regions, are now the property of Abuja. The Lagos seaports have fallen into this category since the Federal Capital role which ostensibly justified federal control of Lagos ports, has shifted to Abuja. Bottom-line: all assets of value must be in the hands of the feudal overlords who then dispense as they deem fit.
- The 1978 Land Use Decree was used to impose the feudal land-tenure system of the North upon the South thereby expropriating Southern landowners and toppling the well-established, world-acclaimed, age-long land tenure systems of the Southern territories and more importantly, destroying a vital aspect of the Southern peoples’ traditional economic system which hold sacrosanct, the right to private property. This particular violation locks away billions of US dollars’ worth of what would have been an investment capital in the hands of landowners who are now entirely at the mercy of imperial governors for certification (C of O) or consent without which their lands remain without significant commercial value. By another decree in 1979, that atrocious law was elevated into the fortress of the ‘Constitution’ where it majestically resides to date. A little probe into the title deeds of one big farm in Otta will reveal the kind of use to which the said Land Use Decree had been put by the head slave through whom it was wrought. The same evil is replicated throughout the country. The lords of the manor must control all lands of the Realm!
- The NYSC Decree of 1973 by Gowon was a ploy by the feudal North to evade the yawning imperative for a sovereign meeting between the peoples of Nigeria to re-negotiate the terms of their union and re-establish confidence in the project after the mindless bloodletting pogroms and genocidal war of 1966-1970. The ghost of that self-deceit resurrected in April 2011 and came dancing around in Bauchi and other places to the drumbeats of the remnants of the feudal inheritors who had just announced to the rest of Nigeria that they do not recognize democracy as a form of government. They cannot understand why their Crown Prince, Muhammadu Buhari, will have to be subjected to the indignity of contesting for who will rule over their great grandfather’s estate, Nigeria, with a conquered slave under the pretense of some stupid democracy which must be a Southern/Middle-Belt ploy to choke them out of their inheritance. For that, blood must flow, and it did flow. The hidden benefit of ‘balance of trade’ in favor of the North whereby their wards get sent to Port-Harcourt and Lagos to melt into oil companies, banks and telecommunication companies, dwelling in absolute safety while the sacrificial lambs from Port-Harcourt and Lagos end up in Bauchi and Maiduguri where they get posted to some stone-age, rundown primary schools with no job prospects post-service, but running the gauntlet between the Boko Haram and ruthless pupils who can behead their teacher for wearing NYSC trouser-kit.Still, about youth corpers’ safety, it is noteworthy that the traditions in the Southern territories place a sacred duty upon all to protect a stranger, even at the risk of losing one’s life. It was this duty that fell upon Lieutenant Colonel Adekunle Fajuyi as Governor of Western Region when he opted to lay down his life in defense of his guest, Major-General Johnson Thomas Umunnakwe Aguiyi-Ironsi from the bloodthirsty Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma, instead of having to live to explain the circumstances of shedding a stranger’s blood in his abode. As we sing the requiem of the NYSC program, could somebody explain to Jack and his prayer band that unity is better built on the foundation of mutual volition than that of a forced or decreed intermingling? To the feudal North, the master never negotiates with his slaves; so, it has always been no to Sovereign National Conference!
- The 68-item Federal Exclusive List: The desperate bid to bring everything under absolute control in keeping with the dictates of the feudal script is the reason we have a 68-item Federal Exclusive Legislative List in the 1999 Constitution resulting in over-centralization and gross inefficiency, corruption and infrastructural decay. Electricity generation and transmission, police/firearms, railways, ports/aviation, highways, prisons, mines/minerals, and a long list of other items including driving license and vehicle plate number, which the federating units could have more efficiently handled and which the defunct Regions had charge over, now all await the pleasure of Abuja and the result is the disaster we have in our hands now where we shamelessly discuss how our electricity can grow from less than 3000 megawatts to 5000 megawatts for 150million people when South Africa’s less than 50 million population run on over 48,000 megawatts of electric power. No amount of reforms, money throwing, or “Vision 20-20-20” will change anything until that list is decongested. The autopsy reports on Nigeria Airways, The National Shipping Line, The Nigeria Railways, NITEL, NEPA etc are living testimonies of this truth.
- Nonaccountability under the 1999 Constitution: Since accountability is anathema to the feudal system, provisions were worked into the 1999 Constitution to banish any form of accountability and comprehensively protect the lords of the manor. First, Section.6(6)(c), which renders the entire socio-economic welfare provisions in Chapter II of that Constitution non-justiciable, in effect, cancels the citizens’ benefits of the social contract of governance and actually absolves the governments of any responsibility to the citizens. The appropriation provisions in Sections 82 and 122 give the spare keys of the entire Nigerian treasury to the president and the governors while Section 308 offer absolute immunity from probe or sanction to these same officials. Taken together, these three provisions constitute the fountain from which corruption flows freely throughout the land and since they dwell in the impregnable fortress of the Constitution, no amount of mopping by Farida and her EFCC will change anything until we turn off the tap. We dare say in this regard that in Nigeria of today, corruption is official and this is a much bigger problem than officials being corrupt. Those who sit in the fortified refuge camp of Abuja, sharing the billions of dollars confiscated by the ‘Constitution’, as well as their field commanders called governors, will do nothing to upset this sweet arrangement unless compelled. The authentic owners of the estate are now set to recover them from the feudal impostors.
Many other policy instruments, such as Federal Character, Quota System and the latest mutation of it, zoning, are at the root of the pervasive mediocrity which Nigeria, as a country, has enthroned above merit and excellence for which reason many developmental issues other countries have resolved and taken for granted for decades remain unattainable. High public office must be by pedigree under our feudal setting. Items 1-7 above fairly capture the contents of the notorious National Question which must be answered now, one way or the other.
LET IT BE KNOWN TO ALL:
- That the Nigeria of today as defined by the so-called ‘1999 Constitution’ is totally different from and is in fact a dummy of the original one into which the various nationalities consensually federated at Independence, which was abandoned in January 1967 after a failed attempt to resuscitate it in Aburi.
- That since the basis of the Nigerian union has been fundamentally altered by a combination of brute force and subterfuge – Animal Farm-style – culminating in the fraudulent 1999 Constitution under which a vast majority, along with their assets are ‘legitimately’ enslaved by a tiny minority supported by foreign allies who generously partake of those assets, WE OF THE ENTRAPPED ETHNIC NATIONS OF THE LOWER NIGER TERRITORY, THE MIDDLE BELT AND O’ODUALAND having participated in numerous countrywide peaceful processes which unsuccessfully sought to persuade the internal colonialists of Nigeria to address this terrible situation, now have no option but to seek the retrieval of our stolen sovereignties from the failed British experiment called ‘Nigeria’ since our pleas and demand for a sovereign meeting had been ignored and resisted since 1967.
- That those who, on May 29,2011, swore to preserve, protect and defend the ‘1999 Constitution’ were by implication offering their best abilities and might to preserve and enforce the enslavement and torment of those who are currently enslaved by the fraudulent 1999 Constitution. May we remind such persons and indeed all stakeholders that there is also a huge community of persons, groups and organizations who have earlier sworn and are fully committed to the decommissioning and dismantling of the fraudulent 1999 and have taken decisive steps in pursuit of same, not because they are anarchists but because they believe that force ALONE cannot remain the basis of the Nigerian union . The MNN, Lower Niger Congress, Middle-Belt Congress and the Federation of O’odua People are in the forefront. PRONACO was an initiative for that same goal. NADECO was there and is back now. CHANGE NIGERIA has been shouting from the rooftops. OPC, MASSOB, MEND, AKWAT AKWOP and even BOKO HARAM etc are all a practical rejection and repudiation of the 1999 Constitution. The lawsuits at the Federal High Court Abuja and Lagos (Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/367/07 filed 23/05/07in Abuja and Suit No. FHC/L/CS/558/09 filed in Lagos in 2009 ) challenging the legitimacy of the 1999 Constitution and seeking its orderly termination/replacement by a negotiated alternative, can pass for a winding-up process for the foisted Nigeria. It smacks of criminality for anyone to continue the governance of Nigeria based on the forged and fraudulent 1999 Constitution, 12 years after the exit of the marauders who first imposed it. It is a pity that the body of lawyers in Nigeria have kept mum and are colluding in this horrible affront on the rule of law.
- That amendment is not an option since the National Assembly is itself in dispute; neither do the members have constituent powers to make or remake a constitution. Those who in mischief or ignorance look towards amendments for a cure to the issues raised herein are by that suggesting that the hired management team of a company can make or change the contents of the Memorandum and Articles of Association of a company to the exclusion of the shareholders who own the company. The shareholders and owners of the Nigerian enterprise are the federating nationalities in whatever formations, who would be countries of their own if Nigeria was not in place. The damaged house of Nigeria, as embodied in the 1999 Constitution, is overdue for demolition and reconstruction. Amendments of whatever types are like changing the door, windows, furniture, or painting and will be discountenanced when the bulldozer arrives. We now hear of a bogus Constitutional Convention that will exclude the nationalities.
Until recently, the options before Nigeria were clear: Either to return to ABURI or to head on to ARABA since ABUJA has failed beyond redemption. (‘Abuja’ means Nigeria as defined by the 1999 Constitution. ‘Aburi’ means the original federal set-up agreed upon in 1954 as the basis of the Nigerian Union. ‘Araba’ means the inevitable, unilateral self-redemption steps in self-determination – in other words, “To thy Tents O Israel!”) We fear that the Aburi option has now been kicked out of the table by the sustained post-election violence unleashed by the Sharia North leaving us only with the Araba option.
ACCORDINGLY, THE ONLY CHOICE LEFT TO BE MADE BY ALL STAKEHOLDERS IS BETWEEN A CONSENSUAL PEACEFUL DISSOLUTION OF THE FAILED NIGERIAN PROJECT OR TO WAIT FOR THE UNILATERAL UNCOORDINATED EXIT OF ERSTWHILE FEDERATING BLOCS WHICH MAY BECOME DISORDERLY AND EVEN VIOLENT. MNN INVITES ALL TO EMBRACE THE PEACEFUL OPTION AS IT HOLDS THE BEST PROSPECTS FOR AN EARLY RETURN TO FRIENDLY NEIGHBOURLINESS.
For and on behalf of peoples’ of the Southern and Middle-Belt Nigeria (as per the attached list of signatories)
Fred Agbeyegbe, Esq – Convening President, MNN.
Tony Nnadi, Esq – Convening Secretary, MNN.