People & Money

Urgent Memo on the Future of Nigeria, before the Bubble Bursts!

By Olawale Okunniyi (Veteran Che)

To all Leaders of Conscience in Nigeria!

My apprehension about the future of Nigeria flows from the fact of the expiration of its Amalgamation Ordinance/Edict, which brought into existence the country called Nigeria. This expiration in my thoughts has grave legal, moral and spiritual implications and effects on the continued existence of Nigeria, especially with the hightenning political tension and distrust, murderous ethnic and religious clashes, general instability and disunity as well as mutual destruction and sabotage prevalent in the country today!

For the avoidance of doubt, the Nigeria Amalgamation Edict/Ordinance was decreed and foisted by Colonial Britain, through its authority vested in the Federick Lugard colonial regime over the components and units of the original indigenous Peoples of Nigeria on 1st of January, 1914, as an instrument and force for unifying the Component Units and Peoples within the territory now known as Nigeria. However, the fact of its expiration of the decreed Unity of Nigeria on 1st January, 2014, is hinged on a copy of the Edict/Ordinance sighted, which stipulated a 100 years tenure for the Amalgamation, (as common with similar decrees or treaties appropriating and administering territories around the world). This fact therefore foists legal, moral and spiritual burdens and crises on the continued existence of Nigeria, such that every unit and component of Nigeria, as things stand today, has the legitimate right and basis to seek it’s own self determination, peace and well being separately, either in terms of autonomy or secession or even remaining within the present Nigerian Contraption, as permitted by the UN Convention on the rights of the indigenous Peoples of 2007, since we can no longer pretend that Nigeria, as a corporate legal entity, has not expired and therefore requires a new peoples’ covenant and constitution to remake or undo it.

To this end, the only remedy that can be applied now, which, in my humble opinion, should have been employed before the unfortunate expiration, atleast for the purpose of reworking the democratic future of the Nigerian union for political cohesion and stability, is for the Nigerian Government, its federating units and Peoples to agree urgently, through a national consultative and reconciliatory procedure and mechanism; (which can be spelt out in details when required), for bringing about a popular national democratic resolution and proclamation on the legal status and preferred governance structure for Nigeria, which can be adopted by a popularly convened Constituents Assembly of the indigenous Peoples and federating units of Nigeria; an assembly, which, in other words can be regarded as an indirect Referendum of the peoples and Citizens of Nigeria towards reaffirming the legitimacy and legality of the Nigerian Union for future Political cohesion and stability.

It is also my well reasoned view that, with a military decree No 24 of 1999, just like its colonial counterpart forced on the Nigerian Peoples, still subsisting today, though erroneously as the current Constitution of Nigeria, in spite of its successive panel beatings tagged amendments since 1999, the sovereignty of the people and their popular ownership of the country, have, all along, been fragilely toyed with to the point that Nigeria’s unity is today being essentially sustained by sheer force of the Nigerian State and Government and not by any verifiable popular and legitimate wish of the peoples and Citizens of Nigeria, who are the ultimate Sovereigns over the country because a military decree can never conventionally suffice as a Constitution but can only remain a mere law of Government forever, but sadly in this case, the law of a junta as there’s a clear difference between a law and a Constitution; especially a People’s Constitution that can only be given to the country by the Citizens and Peoples of Nigeria through a Constituents Assembly or/and Direct Referendum and never by its representatives in Government/Parliament, in conformity with the universal conventional standard for every democratic legitimate Constitution in the world.

Furthermore, to make the matter worse, participation of the Nigerian Peoples and Citizens in successive elections can also not be deemed popular enough to continue to carry and sustain the legitimate and legal existence of the Nigerian State as less than 40%, precisely 34.75 percent, of Nigerians of Voting Age participated in our Presidential Elections as at the last time in 2019, thereby rendering the present Nigerian Contraption illegitimate and unpopular!

Finally, in the light of the above, I think the Nigerian State is simply sitting on a keg of gun powder by merely exploiting the long suffering or ignorance of the indigenous Peoples and Citizens of Nigeria in not being proactive towards asserting their rights to self determination and taking their destinies in their hands based on the clear grounds highlighted above

Therefore, before the bubble bursts and as a final Intervention on Project Nigeria and its national democratic question , I strongly recommend that an urgent formidable step, in line with the proposals above, be taken to douse and neutralize the heightening Political tension and Bloodletting in the Country, arising from perceived Political lopsided and marginalisation as well as murderous ethnic and religious distrust and clashes prevalent in Nigeria; under which no productive governance and prosperous economic can ever take place no matter who is on the saddle. For “if the foundation be faulty, what can the righteous do?”

Olawale Okunniyi (Veteran Che) is the Secretary-General of the Project Nigeria Movement.
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