As Long as Justice Continues to Be Relegated in Governance, Strife, Anarchy and Impunity Shall Rule Over Unitary Nigeria – Dele Farotimi
Dele Farotimi is a young Nigerian lawyer endowed with the wisdom that captivates whoever listen to him discuss the imposed fraudulent 1999 Constitution of Nigeria. For many who are not aware of the fraud that goes by the name of a constitution, the 1999 Constitution was written by the last military junta headed by General Abdulsalami Abubakar and put into force by the issuance of Decree No 24 of 1999. In contravention of the usual procedure for constitution-making, the constituents of Nigeria were never convened to review and ratify the said constitution. In fact, Nigerians were not even allowed to see the 1999 Constitution created on their behalf until after the first president of the 4th Republic, General Olusegun Obasanjo, was sworn into office on May 29, 1999. It was at this juncture that some astute legal minds and sociopolitical pundits first got a close look at the document that was supposedly designed to guide the future of the Nigerian nation.
The said constitution is a compendium of lies that starts from the document’s preamble where it is claimed that “We the people…” of Nigeria, having decided to live together, gave ourselves the 1999 Constitution. Based on this and other mendacious claims, PRONACO had filed a lawsuit in a Lagos High Court with a plea that the obvious lies in the 1999 Constitution be acknowledged and rescinded. To date, the country’s judicial system has not been able to muster the willpower to do the needful.
A further review of the imposed fraudulent 1999 Constitution showed a willful design to transform Nigeria permanently into a Unitary state that shall eternally be controlled from the center despite the continued use of the appellation “federal” to characterize the government enabled by the legal document. To eliminate all doubt, 68 items are included in the Federal Exclusive Legislative List while only 12 are left in the Concurrent List. Issues dealing with security, socioeconomic infrastructure and mineral treasures are all included in the Federal Exclusive Legislative List. This means that only the National Assembly convened in Abuja can legislate over the control of electric power generation, railroads, highways, airports, seaports, petroleum resources, waterways, public lands etc. The 36 states merely serve as outposts for whoever controls power at the center in Abuja.
The geopolitical space called Nigeria was coupled together as a British colonial possession in the Amalgamation of the Southern and Northern Protectorates of 1914. In the run-up to the Independence of 1960, the indigenous constituents of Nigeria negotiated among themselves and decided to remain unified as a self-ruled federation. A fourth region, the Midwest, was created out of the Western Region after a plabiscite. The four semi-autonompus regions, the North, East, West and Widwest, all had their own regional constitutions with which these jurisdictions governed themselves and managed their ancestral lands and resources in them. The Federal Government, which was based in Lagos Capital Territory, had its own constitution. Nigeria’s First Republic was run with five constitutions. There was relative peace and national cohesion. As agreed, the four regions contributed 15% of their total revenue toward the running of the Federal Government whose tasks were restricted to national defense, customs, immigration and foreign affairs. During this period, the Eastern Region was ranked to be one of the fastest growing economies in the developing world. Crude oil was not yet discovered at this time.
The military intervention of 1966 torpedoed Nigerian democracy and proceeded to destroy the federalism that formed the basis for the country’s unification at Indepencence when the Gowon junta arbitrarily carved up Nigeria into 12 states on May 27, 1967. General Obasanjo’s Land Use Decree of 1978 effectively confiscated all the landed assets and resources that used to belong to the former federating regions. These aberrant highhanded maneuvers by the military strongmen were compiled for legitimization in what became the 1979 Constitution. After a three-year civilian-rule interregnum headed by President Shehu Shagari, the military returned to the pinnacle of national power led by General Muhammadu Buhari in 1983. After playing God for another 16 years through the creation of additional states, the last of the Mohicans, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, left a parting gift for his compatriots named the 1999 Constitution.
Dele Farotimi contention in this video is that the imposed fraudulent 1999 Constitution is the biggest and most pernicious stumbling block on the path of Nigeria’s future stability, peace and socioeconomic development. How then can one rationalize that the country’s political class remains oblivious to this fact and instead is obsessed with the electoral cycles which are designed to perpetuate the fraudulent imposition? The conduct of elections in Nigeria have proved, beyond doubt, Nigeria operates neither a democratic or federal system of government. The quadriennial general elections organized nationwide by Abuja are the veritable tool for extending the life of the imposed fraudulent 1999 Constitution that has been universally rejected by stakeholders of the South and Middle Belt as the sole cause of the woes of today’s Unitary Nigeria. Here is the question. Why should any society willingly participate in perpetuating a fraud that has consistently inflicted insecurity, pain and death to the populace. Some people blame this on mass ignorance, fear and willful deployment of military terrorism by the ruling cabal.
Mr. Farotimi posits that Nigerians citizens, who have become bewitched by the quadriennial general elections charade, are FOOLS. He goes further to say that the incumbent elected politicians, who feel that they can amend the grossly flawed 1999 Constitution, are self-serving morons. Just like other knowledgeable legal experts involved with PRONACO, Movement for New Nigeria (MNN), Nigerian Indigenous Nationalities Alliance for Self-determination (NINAS) etc, he asserts that the restoration of the polity to the regional federalism agreed to by the country’s founding fathers at Independence. This message is particularly directed at Nigeria’s youths who are seriously planning about how to upend the unacceptable status quo and nightmare that today’s Unitary Nigeria has become in their young lives’ experience.