By Olawale Okunniyi
Dear distinguished Leaders of Conscience in Nigeria!
My apprehension about the future of Nigeria flows from the fact of the expiration of its Amalgamation Treaty, which brought into existence the country called Nigeria. This expiration in my thoughts has grave legal, moral and spiritual implications and effects on the corporate 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!
For the avoidance of doubt, the Nigeria Amalgamation Treaty was sealed between Colonial Britain, through its authority vested in the Federick Luggard colonial Junta and the Leaders of the original indigenous Peoples of Nigeria on 1st of January, 1914, as a legal instrument for unifying, as one single entity, all the Component Units and Peoples within the territory now known as Nigeria. However, its expiration on 1st January, 2014, is hinged on the 100 years tenure of Nigeria’s Amalgamation Treaty sighted by us, as well as other similar treaties around the world, which conventionally run for a maximum tenure of 100 years, thereby foisting legal, moral and spiritual burdens and effects on the continued existence of Nigeria. To the extent that, every unit and component of Nigeria, as things stand today, presently has the legitimate right to seek their own self determination, peace and well being separately, either in terms of autonomy or secession or even to remain within the present Nigerian Contraption, if they choose and this is permitted by the UN Convention on the rights of the indigenous Peoples of 2007 as we can no longer pretend that Nigeria as a corporate legal entity has expired since 2014 and therefore requires a peoples’ covenant to remake or dissolve the Union
Therefore, the only remedy that can be applied now, which, in my humble opinion, should have been undertaken before the unfortunate expiration, atleast to guide the democratic future of Nigeria into some sort of cohesion, is for the Nigerian Government and 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), to bring about a popular national democratic resolution and proclamation of the Nigerian Peoples and federating units on the legal status and preferred governance structure for Nigeria, which must be adopted by a popularly convened Constituents Assembly of the indigenous Peoples and federating units of Nigeria; an assembly, which, in other words is regarded as an indirect Referendum of the peoples and Citizens of Nigeria towards reaffirming the legitimacy and legality of the Nigerian Union for Political cohesion and stability
It is also my well reasoned view that with a military decree No 24 of 1999 erroneously subsisting as the current Constitution of Nigeria, notwithstanding its successive panel beatings tagged amendments since 1999, the country’s unity has been, all along, fragilely toyed with and 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, since a military decree can never conventionally suffice as a Constitution but will ever remain a mere law of Government, but sadly in this case of a junta because 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 not by Government/National Assembly as it is common with every democratic legitimate Constitution in any society.
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 participate in our Presidential Elections as at 2019, thereby rendering the present Nigerian Contraption illegitimate
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 patience or ignorance of the indigenous Peoples and Citizens of Nigeria for 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?”
Project Nigeria Movement
14th May, 2020