One Nigeria: To Be or Not To Be? (Part 6)

The second condition for any transaction to hold is recognising my right to reject your offer, if I am not satisfied with the terms of the deal. In other words, each side should have the right to ‘walk away’ from the negotiation table ‘freely’ if he is not satisfied with the condition of the deal. The first condition must not be confused with the first. They are completely different. Expression of interest is not the same as buying or selling or closing a deal. You might show interest in acquiring, for example, a business or property that you saw in an advertisement, or going into partnership, but change your mind about the whole deal after learning about the price or conditions, or if you just can’t reach an agreement with the seller or the potential partner. If you point a pistol at my head and ask me to sell my property or business to you for example at a knock down price or at the market price or even 10 times above the market price, is the deal valid? Definitely NO! Why Because it was not a deal that I entered into voluntarily. It was a deal that I was compelled to go into under duress. I was forced to sell my property or company to you because I feared for my life. The issue here is not just the price which my property or company was sold to you. The price could even be 1000 times higher than the market price. But the major point here is that I was forced to enter into this deal with you. You did not give me the opportunity to decide voluntarily by myself.

The same reasoning and logic could be extended to membership in any club or organization. If a club is already in existence, and I am interested in joining, I have two options – either to accept the rules of the organization completely, without any condition or amendment; or renegotiate my membership by requesting that some rules be removed completely or new ones added or the old ones amended. In any case, at the end of the day, the final decision to be or not to be a member of the organization should be solely mine.

If we assume that Nigeria is like an organization consisting of many members, the CA brings us back to the issue of the legality of the formation of Nigeria as a country. Nigeria is an organization that was formed ‘illegally’ by the British i.e. without the consent of the respective members. Therefore, a CA is an attempt by the North to legalize illegality! It’s an attempt to legalize colonialism and robbery of the South by the North! The CA does not take into consideration the fact that the respective ethnic groups in the South might not want to, or do not want to live in a country formed by the British in order to satisfy their own selfish economic interests at their expense. CA automatically assume that we are all Nigerians and want to remain so forever at any cost – which is far from being the truth. CA denies us our fundamental right to choose or decide voluntarily whom we want to live with. Why must we continue living in a country that was carved out by the British in 1884 till the rest of our lives, moreover if it’s against our economic, military and political interests? Why must our boundaries be determined by our formal(?) colonial master? Are we saying that the British they know better whom we are supposed to live with? Personally, I want to form or live in one country with my brothers and sisters from Benin republic, and not with the Hausas with whom I have nothing absolutely in common with. Is there anything wrong in such a desire? Unfortunately, CA has denied me this right. CA automatically assumes that I don’t want to live with my fellow Yoruba brothers and sisters fro Benin republic, who were artificially cut off from me by European raiders. CA compels me to live with the Hausas and Fulanis who are complete strangers to me! Why should I abandon my brothers and sisters and be forced to live with strangers? I demand an explanation! My decision or desire to live with my fellow Yoruba brothers and sisters, and not with descendants of Othman Dan Fodio does not in any way mean that I am a tribalist. I assume that most normal people, just like me, will prefer to live with their brothers, sisters and relatives voluntarily than being forced to live with complete strangers, which the Hausa and Fulani are to me and my ethnic group. After all, blood is thicker than water!

In order to grasp the serious flaw in the CA that the North is proposing to us, an example needs to be given. Imagine that you are a woman. And one night when you were deep asleep, a man broke into your house and rapes you. When you wanted to shout and run away, he beat you to the extent that you lost consciousness and almost died. He locked you up in your house and gave you a stern warning that if you ever shouted or dared to run away, he was going to kill you. This man, nevertheless, continued raping, insulting, humiliating, intimidating you for years. When he realised that you were not going to give up and was just waiting for a good opportunity to kill him and get rid of him for good he came up with a plan. One night, when you were deep asleep, he woke you up suddenly and proposed that you talked things out and that as a matter of fact he would love to get married to you and live with you for ever as husband and wife! But while talking to you, he had a very long and sharp knife in his hand which he was flashing at you. The invader did not even bother if you wanted to see him again talkless of getting married to him officially. The invader did not even bother asking you whether you once had a man whom you really loved before he raided your house. The invader did not even bother asking you whether you would love to be alone or go back to this man. He just assumed that you had nobody before he raided your house. The invaded assumed that you don’t even want to be alone. The invader assumed that it’s your dream to spend the rest of your life with him after all he had done to you! The invader just assumed that you are really very happy with the fact that he had been raping, suppressing, humiliating, intimidating and oppressing you all these years. He assumed that all both of you had to do in order to put things right was just to talk and get married to him later! He is forcing himself on you again! He didn’t even give you any option except to continue living with him in hell till the rest of your life! It never occurred to him that if you had the power, you would be glad not to just get rid of him but make him pay ‘dearly’ for all the inhuman treatments that he had subjected you to.

The above, without any exaggeration, illustrates exactly the CA that the North is proposing to the South. The North has been stealing the resources of the South for almost 50 years. Multinational oil companies, with the endorsement of the North, have been polluting the Niger delta any how they like without any repercussion. The North has been suppressing and oppressing the Southerners since independence. Uncountable number of Southerners have lost their lives to ethnic cleansing, pogroms and religious riots in the North. When the Niger delta and the South as a whole stood up and said, ‘Enough is enough, we don’t want to be part of this ‘horrible’ Nigeria again,’ the North, suddenly, is offering us a CA. When MASSOB, MEND, NDPVF, OPC and other militant groups sprung up, the North suddenly remembered the need for a CA.

The Federal government, for years, have labelled the the Niger deltan militants terrorists, and not freedom fighters, for demanding that the North should stop stealing their oil and that their oil revenue should be channeled towards their own development, the bonafide owner of the resources, and not to the development of Abuja or the North as a whole. The federal government led by Yaradua, a Hausa man and his security adviser Major General Abdullahi Sarki Mukhtar (red), another Hausa man have arrsted Henry Okah and Atatete, leaders of MEND, a militant group fighting the Federal government for stealing their oil, and the oil multinationals for pollution and evasion of tax running into billions of dollars. In addition, the federal government has levied against them 47 criminal charges which include treason, gun running, banditizm, unpatriotism, kidnapping e.t.c. The Hausas and Fulanis are holding the two incommunicado and and torturing them ever since their arrest. They will not even allow them to see their counsel, Femi Falana. To add salt to injury, the Northern led Federal government has decided to conduct their trials secretly. It is worth noting that even during the reign of the maximum ruler and dictator, Sanni Abacha, trials were never conducted secretly. Furthermore, the North is occupying the whole of the Niger delta with its army, state security operatives and police, who have been murdering, raping, intimidating and humiliating the the inhabitants. According to Okah’s wife, the Yaradua is trying to bribe Okah with oil blocks that in actual fact belong yo his people so that he will abandon his course, but he rejected and stood his grounds.

The Northern led federal government headed by Gowon murdered more than 3 million Ndigbos, Ijaws, Ibiobios and other ethnic groups in the South south between 1967-1970. Their crime was that they wanted to use their own resources for their own development. They wanted their own separate country, without the North, where they could take decisions that completely meet their economic, political and military interests. They did not ask the North for anything except to be on their own and live as they lived before the invasion of their territories by the greedy British. But, as far as Murtala Muhammad, Theophilus Danjuma and other Northerners were concerned their decision amounted to TREASON, and this was enough to justify a pogrom without any remorse. Despite the ‘No Victor, No Vanquished’ declaration after the war, the Northern led Federal government has not done anything to rehabilitate the Ndigbos and bring them back to the fold. Instead, the wounds of the war was even enlarged! The Ndigbos were hunted all over Nigeria. There was a mass purge of anybody with an Ibo name from the Nigerian army. They were retrenched from all federal government jobs. Yakubu Gowon did not stop at that. He went as far as confiscating all their properties that they had amassed through hard and honest labour. There was a national campaign by the Hausas and Fulanis to destroy the Ndigbos. They survived miraculously!

Yaradua led Federal government is proposing CA to the Niger deltans, Ndigbos, and the South as a whole under such a terrible condition. Can you imagine?!

Taking into consideration the undisputed fact that the North has a grip on power, constitute an overwhelming majority in the army, and the strong presence of the army and police in the Niger delta, the CA being offered by the North is like a bandit pointing a gun at you and offering you to discuss your membership in his band or organization and sign membership documents. God forbids if you don’t sign the membership documents that he has already prepared before even inviting you for talks. He will accuse you of disloyalty, treachery, unpatriotism, terrorism e.t.c. and just blow up your head. As far as the CA is concerned, this is a very important point that we are either overlooking or have taken for granted or both.

The above is just one aspect of the serious flaw in the proposed CA by the Yaradua led federal government. The second aspect and serious flaw is the ‘legality’ and ‘morality.’ People who are supposed to make laws or mend the Constitution are not only supposed to be learned and noble citizens, but the legality of their election into the highest law making body of the country should be undisputed. As we are all well aware, the 2007 elections, at all levels including the presidential, is the worst election ever conducted in the history of Nigeria! It’s still a miracle and mystery how the country avoided a ‘blood bath’ or mass public disorder like the one that took place in Kenya, which by African standard is the most peaceful and stable country in Africa. The degree of electoral fraud or rigging by Kenya’s ruling party in the presidential election held in 2008 was a ‘child’s play’ compared to the farce that was called election conducted by Nigeria’s ruling party, the PDP, in April 2007!

The Constitution of many developed and democratic countries were enacted by legal luminaries, scholars, successful and honest business men and distinguished citizens, who have excelled in their respective professions and relentless service to their country. For example, the American Constitution written by Thomas Jefferson, a distinguished lawyer who later became the third president of the United States, together with his learned colleagues has stood the test of time despite the fact that it was written more than 230 years ago!

To say that the present members of the Senate and House of Representatives are not competent or fit to amend Nigeria‘s Constitution is to say nothing. It will be more appropriate to say that the Senate and House of Representatives are mainly made up of a bunch of incompetent, corrupt, visionless and morally bankrupt criminals who rigged themselves into power. Therefore, they lack both the professionalism and moral to amend our constitution. Most of them are not even supposed to be there in the first place. Their place should be in the prisons, electric chairs and gallows. Many suits challenging their election are still pending in courts. What experience do they have to enact or amend our constitution? How many Senior Advocates (SAN) does Nigeria have? How many SANs are in the Senate and House of Representatives respectively? The only experience most of them have is in inflating contracts, intimidating, oppressing, suppressing and manipulating Nigerians, plotting coups, rigging elections, falsifying census results, forging documents, impersonation, jumping fences, etc. They represent neither me, you, their respective ethnic groups nor constituencies. They were imposed on us, just like their boss, Yaradua. They represent only their companies, contractors, banks, multinationals that have been exploiting Nigeria and Nigerians from time immemorial, PDP, families, Babangida, Atiku, Buhari, Obasanjo, the emirs, Yaradua, e.t.c. The only amendment that they are capable of making is the one that will not only increase their bank accounts and properties at least 1000 times by the time they retire, but that will also ensure that their great great great grand children will replace them.

Imagine somebody like Patricia Etteh, who spent millions of naira just on renovating and decorating her mansion amending our constitution. Imagine Iyabo Obasanjo, who had to scale the high fence surrounding her house to avoid arrest by the EFCC, enacting our constitution. If only the EFCC knew beforehand about her high jump skills, they could had taken along with them an equally very good high jumper to jump the fence immediately after her in order to arrest her. And what a pity that Nigeria did not discover on time that she possessed such an extraordinary talent in high jumping, we could had sent her to the Olympics to represent us, and she would had definitely returned back to Nigeria with nothing less than a gold medal! What a pity! Imagine David Mark, the Senate president, whose election to the Senate has been annulled by the court, amending our constitution. David Mark’s derogatory statement, made when he was the Minister of telecommunications, that “telephone was a ‘luxury,’ and not meant for poor people” is still fresh in our memory. It never occurred to this corrupt and incompetent retired criminal officer that even in Eastern Europe, those that earn the lowest wages could afford to have telephones in their houses. We now know the reason why Nigerians don’t have basic amenities like water and electricity in their houses despite the hundreds of billions of dollars that the country has made from oil revenues. People like David Mark and his Northern colleagues believe that only rich Nigerians should have the privilege of having access to water and electricity. What kind of Constitution amendment do you expect such daft and visionless people like David Mark and his colleagues to make? Perhaps, David Mark will pass a new law that will compel all network operators to renew their licenses every week and pay the license fees into his personal accounts.

Likewise, it will be ridiculous to expect Dimeji Bankole, the speaker of the House, who embraced, wined and dined with Babangida, the evil genius, at the marriage ceremony of his daughter, Aishat, that took place in April 2008 to enact a peoples’ constitution that will be against the selfish political and economic interests of Babangida and other Northern political elites. IT’S JUST IMPOSSIBLE! After all, according to a Yoruba proverb “Aguntan to ba ba aja rin, a je igbe.” Meaning that “If a lamb keeps a dog company, it’s bound to eat garbage. And what about the English proverb that says that “Birds of the same feather fly together?”

Dimeji Bankole’s visit to Lagos in May 2008 where he threatened that the House of Representatives would only recognise 20 local governments instead of 57 that Lagos was planning to hold elections is another proof that Dimeji Bankole indeed is another anti-South and the Judas Iscariot among us in the South that the North has been using all along to accomplish their selfish political and economic agenda. The fact that Kano state with a population approximately the same with Lagos; if we are to believe the census result, has 44 local governments means nothing to Dimeji Bankole.

At the same meeting held in Lagos state town hall, Bankole released another bomb shell. He announced that the House of Representatives would stop probing politicians that have carted away billions of dollars from the country’s treasury! In that case, may I ask Bankole, the PDP installed speaker some questions? Is it fair to set free politicians who have stolen billions of dollars to enjoy their loots without any hindrance when hundreds of thousands of Nigerians have been languishing in jail for decades for minor offences or for offences that they never committed at all? What we can infer from Bankole’s statement is that it is fair and appropriate for hundreds of thousands of Nigerians who can not afford to hire lawyers to defend them to languish in jails till eternity while robbers camouflaged as governors, ministers, Head of states, inspector generals of police, senators, members of House of representatives, etc, who have stolen billions of dollars of Nigeria’s money are completely free not only to flaunt, but as well oppress and intimidate us, buy our votes, hire thugs and assassins, destabilize the country, etc, with their ill-gotten wealth.

Written by
Bode Eluyera
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