Referendum is a vote in which all the people in a country or an area are asked to give their opinion about or decide an important political or social question. The key phrase here is “asking the people to give their opinion or decide an important political or social question.” Most often, viewpoints of the people can only be expressed through civil disobedience or by taking mass action in the streets to protest government policies and living circumstances that are perceived to be deleterious to people’s welfare or in other words, unacceptable to the populace. This option, though often spontaneous, cheap and easily made to happen, presents risks and challenges to both the government of the day and the governed. Within the context of mob action, violence usually becomes inevitable. The protesters can suddenly become unruly to the extent of constituting a veritable threat to other people’s lives and properties, on one hand. On the other hand, the security apparatchiks of government may feel compelled to intervene with force in a manner that could result in unnecessary bloodshed.
In a democracy, the ultimate arbiter of societal power are the people who constitute the citizenry. In the case with Nigeria, where even the very constitution on which the government is predicated has been deemed to be fraudulent and unfair to a large segment of the population, the rational and democratic thing to do is to consult with the constituents rather than to let the government alone continue to decide on things or to let the enraged masses troop to the streets in protest?
The indigenous peoples of the Lower Niger strongly believe that the 1999 Constitution, on which Nigeria’s national governance is based, is inimical to their interests as a group. Various units that make up the Lower Niger have elected to manifest their own dissatisfaction and disgust with the status quo by organizing nonviolent street protests. Others choose to organize armed insurgency against the government as their preferred means of settling scores with the main cause of their malcontent. The Lower Niger Congress (LNC), which is the engine that drives the Lower Niger Self-determination Movement, proposes a grassroots-anchored Referendum as the preferred means of seeking the people’s true opinion regarding the desirability or not of pursuing their right to self-determination under the prevailing circumstances foisted on them by the status quo. This choice is informed by the 2007 United Nations Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) which affirms the self-determination rights of ethnic nationalities, including even those who are still currently subsumed under the aegis of national governments.
After due consultations, the LNC has established the dateline of 1st Quarter of 2017 for conduct of the Lower Niger Referendum on Self-determination. The many steps involved in the planning and implementation of this momentous event are already being taken, as we speak. LNC-USA asks you to become key player in the burgeoning Lower Niger Movement by contributing your own quota, in manpower and material resources, toward making the scheduled 2017 Referendum not only a reality but also a resounding success by doing the following:
* Visiting the Referendum Fund homepage
* Register yourself and your hometown community for the Referendum
* Organize town halls for spreading the Self-determination gospel and mobilizing for the Referendum.
* Join the Self-determination Movement today.
I believe that each Nigerian state or region should have self-determination and autonomy, like in the United States. After all, that is how a “Federal Republic” should operate.
I used to believe in One Nigeria, but the level of corruption and neglect has caused me to re-think a centrally controlled government, where the ordinary citizen has no real voice. The ability for each state to manage their own resources and affairs will significantly increase accountability and reduce corruption.
Why must Enugu State wait for Abuja to fix the power problem in Nigeria when we have abundance of coal in Enugu. Why isn’t the Oji River Plant up-and-running? Why must we wait for Abuja to allocate resources to Enugu State in order to fix the Oji River Plant, or to handle the gully erosion in my village? This is ridiculous!