Nigeria's 419 Constitution 3: Bakassi, Obasanjo's Sacrificial Lamb to The West

by Bode Eluyera

There is a saying in Yoruba: “Ko si oun ti oju o ri ri.” Literally this means that there is hardly any event or occurrence that has never taken place some time and somewhere before. However, If I was ever told just 6 months ago that in the 21st century, the president of Nigeria could voluntarily give a piece of land, extremely rich in oil, and belonging to one of the minorities, to another country and people without consulting neither The Senate, House of Representatives, the populace nor the owners of the land, I would had told the person that he must be out of his senses, and that he I was ready to bet with my life that that was practically impossible. What I did not factor into my assumption or confidence was the invincible power of Nigeria’s Constitution that bestowed the President of The Federal Republic of Nigeria limitless power to do and undo. I never knew that Nigeria’s constitution empowers the president to dash out other people’s land without bothering to seek their consent. I never knew that Nigeria’s constitution gives the carte blanche to Nigeria’s President to resolve land issues or disputes of other ethnic groups unilaterally notwithstanding the fact that he is from another ethnic group. No wonder Femi Falana, in his radio interview on NVS, said that “Nigeria’s President constitutionally is the most powerful president in the world, he is even more powerful than George Bush, America’s president.” The full implication of his statement struck me during the hand over of Bakassi to Cameroon. I also now understand why The Third Agenda (T.T.A.) and the forthcoming election are a do or die for Obj. Thank God that I did not bet with my life with anybody on the power of Nigeria’s president!

I was stunned and lost for words – and, I will like to believe that most Nigerians with conscience and sense of belonging were too – when I first read about Obj.’s decision to voluntarily secede Bakassi to Cameroon, after his meeting with Chirac in France. Initially, I told myself that this must definitely be a joke or political game that Obj. was playing with the west. I told myself, this definitely cannot be my president doing this, more so, at the beginning of the 21st century. It is really impossible and incredible! I was desperate to read any news or information about Bakassi, since the date of transfer to Cameroon was announced. I still naively believed that it was a joke, and would not materialise. I was expecting a formal discussion from the House of Reps., and Senate. I was expecting a strong protest from our civil rights activists. But there were none! My last hope was placed on ordinary Nigerians; at least those who have conscience, politically conscious and knew the implications if such an agreement is implemented. I was expecting mass protests nationwide from them. Unfortunately, to my greatest surprise and disappointment, there were practically none! I was left alone with my agony.

I watched in total disbelief on the TV how Nigeria’s flag was brought down from Bakassi, and Cameroon’s flag mounted in its place. I wept. I wept for my country! I told myself again, “this simply can not be possible in Nigeria. I told myself Obj. could not be doing this to Nigerians, most especially, the Bakassi people, as a reward for saving his life from Abacha’s hang man, and eventually making him president!

Obj. promised to relocate dislocated Bakassi people to another place. The million dollar question: “Is the new place or land equally as rich in oil, gas and other mineral resources as their original land in Bakassi?” In other words, if we estimate the cost of the total amount of oil, gas and other mineral resources, will their new land contain mineral resources equivalent in monetary value like that of Bakassi? It is important to remind readers that since oil is not replaceable, sooner or later, it will dry up. The same cannot be said of gas. It is practically eternal. This in essence means that these resources could have given Nigeria and the Bakassi people trillions of dollars. Can you imagine what the Bakassi people could have done with that money! Can you imagine the benefits and development the Bakassi people could have achieved with that huge amount of money? All these are now dreams that may never come true. Nigeria’s 419 constitution has shattered their dreams!

Obasanjo has used his 419 constitution to deprive a whole ethnic group of their land, without any compensation! Obasanjo has used the power bestowed on him by Nigeria’s evil constitution to rob the bonafide owners of Bakassi their land. Obasanjo has used the land of the Bakassi people to cut a secret deal with the west, which Nigerians may never know about. It is impossible to believe or even assume that this man just gave out Bakassi; extremely rich in oil to Cameroon, without getting anything back in return, personally. Nigeria’s 419 constitution authorises Obasanjo to use other people’s land as ” a Sacrificial Lamb” for his own personal, selfish political and economic interests! And, he has gone scott free with this robbery! The government has reneged on its promise to relocate the Bakassi people. As of the time of writing this article, the Bakassi people are yet to be relocated. They are presently petitioning the Federal Government to fulfill its promise. Obasanjo took their land wih the promise of relocating them. Today, The Bakassi people are homeless and landless! Obasanjo has placed 419 on them, with the full backing of Nigeria’s 419 constitution. The Bakassi people have been abandoned. Nobody is talking about his or her predicaments anymore. They are now alone, wallowing in their agony. What we are busy discussing now is the April 2007 Presidential election. Everything is working perfectly well for Nigeria’s Chief of 419. He could not have wished for anything better! The curse of the Bakassi people was that they happened to belong to Nigeria, whose rulers are human devils. Or what do you think?

Money aside, you will surely agree with me that the natural habitat of a group of people is an integral part of their language, culture and tradition. The ancestors of the Bakassi people have lived on this land for centuries. Their way of life, occupation, customs, language and tradition, undoubtedly, are directly associated with their land.

Perhaps, there is a particular river in which the Bakassi people have always performed some rituals. Perhaps, there is a particular tree, stone or other objects the Bakassi people have worshipped for centuries. Perhaps, the Bakassi people have always eaten, drunk or used some particular vegetables, fruits or herbs – which grow only, or predominantly, on their land to treat diseases. Since Bakassi is located close to the Atlantic ocean, and surrounded by rivers, undoubtedly, one of the major occupations of these people is fishing, farming and swimming. What about the immeasurable pride of just owning a piece of land passed on to you by your great, great, great grand fathers? Definitely, no amount of compensation can replace the loss of these people. Even, if it is theoretically possible to compensate the Bakassi people monetarily, the psychology trauma of being forcefully displaced from their land, without their consent, any cogent reason and urgency, can never be compensated. And Nigeria expects these people to be patriotic and law-abiding!

Can I ask you a little favour? Can you please stop reading this article at least for 15 minutes – within this time duration, try to imagine that you are from Bakassi, and the Federal Government and Obasanjo did this to your people! Write down all you feelings as regards to this inhuman treatment. Write down all your feelings about Obasanjo and the federal government of Nigeria. Write down all your feelings about the constitution that empowers a man from another ethnic group, irrespective of whether you voted for him or not, to give out your land to strangers without even consulting you on this issue, talk less of seeking your consent. Tell me honestly; wouldn’t you do everything possible within your

capacity to destroy this man? Tell me honestly; wouldn’t you do everything within your capacity to bring down such an evil constitution and government?

As I have said earlier, the funniest and most embarrassing aspect as far as the Bakassi peninsula issue is concerned was that everybody saw it coming: The Senate, The House of Reps., the governors, the judiciary, civil rights activities and the Nigerian populace, nevertheless, nobody was able to challenge one arrogant man – who undoubtedly, because of his hidden agenda and selfish interest, carried out successfully his devilish plot. Even, our so called independent courts that are now defending looters of our treasury like Atiku, Dariye, Fayose, Tofa, Akala, Ladoja e.t.c. were handicapped. They just turned to spectators, watching events as they unfolded.

The Bakassi issue is very humiliating not only to Nigerians, but to the black race in general. A president of an African country decided to give a piece of land, extremely rich in oil and gas, to another country, based on some kind of document or agreement reached between two colonial masters more than a century ago! This same man is now being referred to by ibb, Yar’adua and the PDP as “the father of modern Nigeria and democracy!” We are also being told by these same people and party that “Obj. is not only the best thing that has ever happened to Nigeria, they as well intend to continue with his evil, undemocratic and 419 policies!” Indeed, birds of the same feather fly together. That is Nigeria for you. Wonders will never end, especially in Nigeria!

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1 comment

Tim April 5, 2007 - 10:50 am

You just earned youself a file in SSS office as well as CIA, etc. for inciting… Nevertheless your point is mostly true -that the unilateral ceding by OBJ without recourse to the National Assembly (NA) is wrong and ILLEGAL! The elite kept quiet because minorities are involved… The Bakassians should first consider formal protest with the NA and UN than arms struggle…


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