Memorandum from the Christian Social Movement of Nigeria (CSMN) to the Electoral Reform

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THE ELECTORAL REFORM COMMITTEE (ERC)

THE PRESIDENCY

 

(CSMN)

Putting the Horse before the Cart

 

1.         Introduction

[1] who have constituted the potent shadow of Nigerian politics since then and up to this day.  It would be naive to think that the British handed real power to our political leaders when, in actual fact, power was handed over to these clerics who were the administrators’ judges that sustained British indirect rule system.

 

(2)        There, therefore, is the need for a consensus as to whether we want to continue to live in one country and agree on the type of constitution for one democratic Nigeria.  Until this is done, no amount of electoral reforms will provide for us a free, fair and credible election because the basis for such election is absent.  In other words, we need to place the horse before the cart.  In the circumstance, the Christian Social Movement of Nigeria [CSMN] has decided to submit this memorandum to show why we must have a negotiated or consensus constitution from which an Electoral Reforms body would evolve.

 

2.         Incurable defects in the 1999 Constitution

(1)        The preamble to the 1999 Constitution provides as follows:

“We the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria:

HAVING firmly and solemnly resolve,

TO LIVE in unity and harmony as one indivisible and indissoluble Sovereign

Nation under God, dedicated to the promotion of inter-African solidarity,

world peace, international co-operation and understanding:

 

 

Registered Trustees: Rc. No 14075

Prelate (Dr.) S. C. Mbang; Archbishop (Dr.) John Onaiyekan; Bishop (Dr.) Mike Okonkwo; Archbishop (Dr.) Patrick Ekpu;

Archbishop (Dr.) Anthony Obinna; Solomon Asemota Esq., SAN; Elder Sandu Dogo; Rev. Jesse Adamu; Professor J. M. Otubu; Mrs I. H. Ize-Iyamu

AND TO PROVIDE for a Constitution for the purpose of promoting the

good government and welfare of all persons in our country, on the principles

of Freedom, Equality and Justice, and for the purpose of consolidating the

Unity of our people:

 DO HEREBY MAKE, ENACT AND GIVE TO OURSELVES the following Constitution:”

 

(2)        The above preamble we all know is incorrect for it was the Provisional Ruling Council [PRC] comprising members of the Armed Forces and the Police that gave us this constitution.  This fact is contained in Decree No. 24 of May 1999.  The above statement contrast very much with the preamble of 1963 Constitution, which states as follows:

 

[1st October, 1963]

 

Having firmly resolved to establish the Federal Republic of Nigeria,

With a view to ensuring the unity of our people and faith in our fatherland,

For the purpose of promoting inter-African co-operation and solidarity,

In order to assure world peace and international understanding, and

So as to further the ends of liberty, equality and justice both in our country and

in the world at large.

 

our representatives here in Parliament assembled, do

give to ourselves the following Constitution; [Emphasis supplied]

 

(3)        It is clear that the 1999 Constitution is a false document and therefore is incurable by amendments or reviews.  It is also very clear that the Provisional Ruling Council had to falsify the document because it had no mandate of the people since most military dictatorship do not believe in democracy and good governance.

 

3.         Chapter 1

           

(1)        Section 2 of the 1999 Constitution reads:

“(2)      The Federal Republic of Nigeria shall not be governed, nor shall any persons or group of persons take control of the Government of Nigeria or any part thereof, except in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.”

 This section did not provide what should happen should any persons or group of persons take control of Government of Nigeria outside the provision of the Constitution.

 

(2)        We submit that based on all the reports available and made public after the 2007 elections it would appear that section (2) of the 1999 Constitution has been breached.  We reproduce below the conclusions of various observers, local and international to wit:

Given the lack of transparency and evidence of fraud, particularly in the result collation process, there can be no confidence in the results of these elections. This is all the more regrettable since they were held in an improved atmosphere in which freedoms of expression and assembly were broadly respected during campaigning, the judiciary played a generally positive and independent role and the people showed remarkable commitment to democracy, eagerly engaging in the electoral process and waiting patiently to vote in often very difficult circumstances.”     

                          [Final Report of E. U. Observation Mission page 1] [Emphasis supplied]

 

(3)        Unfortunately, no directive is provided by this section as to what should be done should the section be breached.  Section (2) of the 1999 Constitution is therefore left hanging.  In the circumstance, we are convinced that further expansion of this important section is necessary and this cannot be done by constitutional amendment but by further discussions and negotiation such as providing that all Nigerians should down tools as it were, or take to the streets or seek redress in the courts, when any person or group unconstitutionally takes control of the Government of Nigeria.

 

4.         Judicial Powers

(1)        Section 6(1) of the Constitution provides as follows:

6. (1) The judicial powers of the Federation shall be vested in the courts to which this section relates, being courts established for the Federation. —”

 

Section 6(6) of the same Constitution provides as follows:

“(6) The judicial powers vested in accordance with the foregoing provisions of this section –

(a) shall extend, notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this constitution, to all inherent powers and sanctions of a court of law

(b) shall extend, to all matters between persons, or between government or authority and to any persons in Nigeria, and to all actions and proceedings relating thereto, for the determination of any question as to the civil rights and obligations of that person;

(c) shall not except as otherwise provided by this Constitution, extend to any issue or question as to whether any act of omission by any authority or person or as to whether any law or any judicial decision is in conformity with the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy set out in Chapter II of this Constitution;

(d) shall not, as from the date when this section comes into force, extend to any action or proceedings relating to any existing law made on or after 15th January, 1966 for determining any issue or question as to the competence of any authority or person to make any such law.”

 

Here again, the contradiction between (a) on the one hand and b, c on the other need to be reconciled.  Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy is the “manifesto” of the Nigerian Government.  It contains the values and ideals of our co-existence as a people.  In the circumstance, it ought to be justiciable especially when our representatives are entrusted with funds for that purpose to promote the country’s manifesto and should account to the people in several ways.  Section 13 and 14 provides as follows:

 

(2)        Chapter II

Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy

            Section 13 and 14 of the Constitution provides as follows:

“13. It shall be the duty and responsibility of all organs of government, and of all authorities and persons, exercising legislative, executive or judicial powers, to conform to, observe and apply the provisions of this Chapter of this Constitution.”

14. (1) The Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be a State based on the principles of democracy and social justice.

(2) It is hereby, accordingly, declared that:

(a) Sovereignty belongs to the people of Nigeria from whom government through this Constitution derives all its powers and authority;

(b) the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government: and

(c) the participation by the people in their government shall be ensured in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.

(3) The composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few States or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that Government or in any of its agencies.

(4) The composition of the Government of a State, a local government council, or any of the agencies of such Government or council, and the conduct of the affairs of the Government or council or such agencies shall be carried out in such manner as to recognise the diversity of the people within its area of authority and the need to promote a sense of belonging and loyalty among all the people of the Federation.”

 

 

(2)        Chapter II also contains Political, Economic, Social, Educational, Foreign Policy, Environmental, Cultural Objectives in addition to obligation to Mass Media, National ethnic, and duties of citizens.

Religiosity.  The practice has been to bring from some states, on religious grounds, persons from Local Government administration into the Federal Public Service to man key positions.  The incompetence of these officials has led to very low standards of Federal officials that have led to the collapse of the Federal Public Service.  This has also led to the predominance of the three major Ethnic Nationalities and promoted a sense of ownership thus giving the impression that appointments are substitutes for amenities.

 

(3)        In addition to the above, the Federal Character Commission under section 153 is based on State rather than ethnicity. In the process, the three major ethnic nationalities, Nd’Igbo, Hausa/Fulani and Yoruba control over 70% of all the posts in the Federal Public Service and the remaining 387 ethnic nationalities scramble for the remaining 30%.  In the process, some over 100 other Ethnic Nationalities are not represented. Federal Character, to some ethnic minorities, is an instrument of exclusion and marginalization especially in a country with decayed infrastructures, roads, health and education etc.

 

(4)        We, of the Christian Social Movement of Nigeria do understand the reason for the establishment of the Federal Character Commission.  We would have thought however that section 14(1) and (2) are more important for a Commission and should have been made justiciable.  Section (2) provides  

“(2)(a) sovereignty belongs to the people of Nigeria from whom government through this Constitution derives all its powers and authority;

(b) the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government: and

(c) the participation by the people in their government shall be ensured in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.”

 

18 on education objectives.

 

(5)        Sections 6(6)(d) provides that the people of Nigeria cannot question any action or proceedings relating to any existing law made on or after 15th January, 1966, for determining any issue or question as to the competence of any authority or person to make any such law.  This is a tacit confirment on infallibility to the military.  Why we must not question the competence of the military, even though we know that they were young, inexperienced, and lacking in political knowledge, we submit, so as not to expose those behind the military – power behind the throne and not to expose the illogicality and injustice in a situation whereby when treasonable acts succeeds, leads to Head of State, when it fails it leads to execution by those who in the first place committed the act of treason.  This is injustice of the worst type.  It would appear further that the military also saw themselves as colonial masters; conquerors whose deeds and misdeeds should not be questioned.  This is unacceptable.  The point being made is, in addition to the contradiction, some of the provisions of the Constitution are oppressive to some sections of the ethnic nationalities that make up Nigeria and inadvertently consign them to second class citizens even though they provide the main stay of the Nigerian economy.

 

5          Chapter IV

Fundamental Rights

(1)        This chapter needs to be re-negotiated. We are informed that in Islam all rights belong to God, and humans the duty of obedience.  We need to re-word this chapter to fundamental ideal or value, rather than rights because most of the provisos in this chapter have whittled down the effect of these rights and, in some cases, made them meaningless.

 

Section 40 on right to peaceful assembly and association provides as follows:

40. Every person shall be entitled to assemble freely and associate with other persons, and in particular he may form or belong to any political party, trade union or any other association for the protection of his interests:

 

Provided that the provisions of this section shall not derogate from the powers conferred by this Constitution on the Independent National Electoral Commission with respect to political parties to which that Commission does not accord recognition.”

 

This proviso would appear to have placed INEC above the Constitution.

 

 shows the mischief created deliberately by the Constitution.

but cannot be voted for.  This is against the universal declaration of Human Rights which provides for right to vote and be voted for.  To further compound the situation section 221 provided that:

“No association, other than a political party, shall canvass for votes for any candidate at any election or contribute to the funds of any political party or to the election expenses of any candidate at an election.” In other words it is only registered parties that can campaign or fund election expenses of candidates, thus making the question whether the people are voting for candidates or parties blurred.  Tribunal decisions have not helped matter.

 

(3)        Section 223(2)(b) of the Constitution provides:

“the members of the executive committee or other governing body of the political party shall be deemed to reflect the federal character of Nigeria only if the members thereof belong to different states not being less in number than two-thirds of all the states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.”

 

 

(4)        Independent Candidate

all Nigerians of over 18 years of age, the right to be voted for. We are now caught in the web of party intrigue, party godfatherism, and corruption and elected party representatives who are in politics for self-interest.

 

(5)        We are convinced that there is one Dominant Ruling Party [DRP] in Nigeria, with 49 branches.  The DRP is the off shoot of the NPC, NPN, NRC and today PDP.  All the parties have desk officers in the Presidency and members are free to move from one party to another with the approval of the Presidency.  Two presidential candidates, who were invited to contest by two parties, ANPP [General Buhari] and Chief Odumegwu Ojukwu of APGA have refused to be influenced by the Presidency, which explains why Buhari and Ume Ezeoke his running mate are in different camps. The Action Congress, a breakaway party from the PDP, may yet form the opposition or alternative to DRP [PDP] and its 48 branches.

 

independent candidacy as a check to the excesses of political parties that now select for us, men and women, most of whom are of questionable character and there is nothing we can do.  The number of Governors who are being accused of corruption and other related offences show that party selections have been wrong in many instances.  These nominations are cleared by the security and intelligence agencies; we wonder whether security clearance means selecting shady characters that can hold their people to ransom.

 

6          Section 10 and Secularism

Section 10 provides that “the Government of the Federation or of a State shall not adopt any religion as State religion”

(1)        Section 10 of the 1999 Constitution does not provide that the state cannot be influenced by the religious convictions of its constituents. This obviously cannot be the idea upon which the 1979 and the 1999 Constitutions were framed.  The exercise of one’s civic duties can and indeed should include attempting to influence civic law according to the moral code which one holds as a result of one’s religious beliefs.  This is the heart of our right to suffrage. These moral codes however must be discussed and agreed upon.   A person’s beliefs inevitably influence his/her philosophy, how he/she chooses to live and how he/she votes.  Attempts to remove references to God from our civic lives would not constitute the separation of Church and State; rather, it would be the indoctrination of Atheism.  However

(a)        When we join an Organization and subscribe to a Charter like the one of the OIC;

(b)        we pass laws that institutionalizes a particular religion so as to prefer a particular creed in the civic arena;

(c)        prohibit the free exercise of other religion in certain areas and;

(d)        claim religious authority;

    

 

The Christian Social Movement of Nigeria [CSMN] is not against Islam or any religion for that matter but we are however opposed to Arab culture or Arabism that has crept into our Constitution and Laws, influenced the design of our Flag and engendered a Government without formal discussion, especially when we know that Arab culture is opposed to democracy.  The OIC with the pre-eminence of Arab League of 22 states remain the most uniformly oligarchic states in the world, in that not a single Arab leader has ever been peacefully ousted by the ballot box.  Arab states have, in the past devoted their energies to nation-building, an exercise that was seen by them to require political centralization, the forced mobilization of resources and the fabrication of new national identities to replace older affiliations.

 

(2)        Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC)
In 1986, “Nigeria became a full member of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC)”[2].The implication of membership means the adoption of the OIC Charter that has the following provisions for Muslim and Islamic countries.  The OIC resolves to preserve Islamic spiritual, ethical, social and economic values, which will remain one of the important factors of achieving progress for mankind.  It is determined to consolidate the bonds of the prevailing brotherly and spiritual friendship among Muslim people, and to protect their freedom, and the common legacy of their civilization particularly on the principles of justice, tolerance and non-discrimination; (preamble).

[3]  This agreement makes Nigeria an Islamic community, which is the first step to becoming an Islamic state. This fact was made known by a Muslim Scholar.

[4]  Other non Muslim Nigerians are opposed to Nigeria membership of that organization and the D8 because they constitute a breach of section 10 of the Constitution. The same government will not permit the naming of universities by Christian or denominational names, no doubt because Nigeria is an Islamic State 

 

’s History Amalgamation

(1)        We cannot review Nigeria’s history concerning Constitutional general elections without discussing briefly Nigeria’s political history

 

(2)        Northern and Southern Nigeria amalgamated into one nation State of Nigeria in 1914 is yet to become one nation.  The reasons for the amalgamation are contained in Lugard’s papers published by A. H. M Kirk-Greene, which showed that the reason for amalgamation was more economic than political.  Amalgamation was to enable the large revenue of Southern Nigeria to be spread out for the development of the whole of Nigeria and to put an end to the financial difficulties of the North.            Lugard in his report showed that not only had the Northern Protectorate been running at a substantial operating loss, this in itself a direct contradiction of one of the traditional British colonial maxis that every territory must be self supporting.  The Northern treasury had been subvented by heavy grants-in-aid from both Great Britain and Southern Protectorates, when the prosperity of the South was increasing rapidly – thanks to the high duties imposed on liquor import especially square face or trade gin.  Such a source of revenue was unknown to the Muslim North.  The Baro-Kano Railway Line of 1911 was constructed with funds diverted from the revenue of Southern Protectorates.

[5]

 

Unfortunately Nigeria has failed both as a great ‘Trust’ and a great Federation. 

 

(3)        Some sections of the Lagos press at that time [1914] saw the process of Amalgamation from a different perspective and were hostile to amalgamation

“This hostility is crystallized in the  rejection by Southern public opinion, as exemplified in the Lagos press, of four aspects of the amalgamation:

trial by jury and of appeal to the Supreme Court;

(2)        the extension of what was styled the ‘Northern system of administration’, successfully implemented in the Muslim emirates under the title of ‘Indirect Rule’ but castigated in the South as the nefarious ‘Nigerian System;”

(3)        the introduction of direct taxation in the South;

[6]

 

Trial by Jury was rejected by the North we submit, because it will impugn on the powers and authority of the Muslim clerics. On the extension of indirect rule to the South, the military completed what the British began. Indirect taxation which provide funds for the payment of salaries of Muslim clerics which has now got constitutional backing and the movement of the capital from Lagos to the North [Abuja] were reasons why the Lagos Press were hostile to amalgamation.  We of the CSMN are convinced with benefit of hind sight that the Lagos Press was justified in their opposition.

 

(4)        In a colonial situation major policy decisions are unpublished till after the event and are then unassailable as a fait accompli.

 

Military regimes of the 1960s to 1990s were more or less colonial masters who regarded Nigeria as a conquered territory with spoilt of war to loot.  When these facts are read in conjunction with the comments of the Times of Nigeria becomes clear that the North became the new boss. 

Northern Nigeria.  Northern Nigerian system, Northern Nigerian law, Northern Nigerian land laws Northern Nigerian administration must be made to supersede every system in Southern Nigeria.”

“The amalgamation of 1914 it asserted, is broadly spreading the conquest and subjugation of the Southern Nigeria by Northern Nigeria”

Northern Nigerian System

Northern Nigerian Law

Northern Nigerian land Laws

[7]                                                                                               [Emphasis supplied]

 

However some Lagos papers editorials were “unanimous in feeling that there was more potential good than harm in the amalgamation. Unfortunately Muslim clerics have proved them wrong. 

 

(5)        Nigeria today is the end product of Northern Nigerian System, Laws, Land Law, and Administration.  Unfortunately this has resulted in leadership of conquest and subjugation of Christians and Southern Nigerians a phenomenon present in other African countries as exemplified in Rwanda and Liberia.   Rwanda has one ethnic nationality with one religion Christianity which was split into three social class by greed and ignorance.  The Tutsi cattle owners were 14% of the population, the Hutu farmers were 85%, the Twa 1%, with the Tutsi dominating others.  The Americo/Liberiains arrived Liberia in 1821 and set out to conquer and rule its indigenous community and continued a slave society in which they were now the slave masters and denied 99% of the indigenous population basic rights and called them mere “tribesmen”, savages and heathens’.  The situation of Rwanda and Liberia are examples of greed and ignorance which resulted in this recreation of feudalism and people doing to others what they would not want to be done to them. 

The Nigerian situation to a lesser extent is comparable to Rwanda and Liberia.  The difference is that these two countries are not endowed with human and national resources as Nigeria.  However, in Nigeria, there is competition between those who want modernity and others who want feudalism in the 21st century who are trying to re-invent the will of democracy.

 

7.         Potent Shadow of Nigerian Politics 

(1)        Lord Lugard wrote:

[8] [Emphasis supplied]                                                                                   

 

With respect to Mission Schools in the Northern Provinces Lugard wrote:

[9]

 

(2)        The main difference between the two systems was that while Koranic schools provided for leadership, mission schools provided for followership.  This comparison is necessary because Christians failed to appreciate that Koranic teachers who were Administrators, Judges of the Native Administration and learned in Arabic were persons whose activism yielded fruits of a different nature from those of formal education teachers, in that it provided for the present Nigerian situation where Koranic clerics are the potent shadow of Nigerian politics.  This is a fact that Umaru Dikko a former Federal Minister did extol, when he inferred that the potency of a combination of Western and Islamic education is responsible for Muslim domination of politics in Nigeria.  We have, over the years, ignored the effect of 25,000 Koranic teachers.  Even as at today, we have failed to appreciate the influence of Koranic clerics and give them the “respect” they deserve in the transformation of our country. Koranic clerics’ approach to politics is very different from that of the Christian clergy.   Rev. Fr. Joseph Kenny on Islam wrote:

“The widespread situation of Muslims living under pagan rule did not suit Muslim religious sensibilities. —

 

Classical Islamic theory allows only two choices for Muslims under such a situation, either to revolt and establish an Islamic state or to emigrate, making a hijra to a land where Sharia prevails.  In either case leadership is required, and the widespread expectation that a mujaddid, a divinely guided reformer, would come at the turn of every Islamic Century prepared the way for accepting the leaders that presented themselves.

 

[10]           [Emphasis supplied]

 

It was no surprise that the same principle applied in Fulani conquest of the Hausa in Northern Nigeria and subsequently the “conquest” of Nigeria.  Muslim clerics have always used Islam as a rallying point anywhere including Nigeria. 

 

8.         Revenue Allocation

(1)        It is a statement of fact that the oil producing states of Nigeria are inhabited mainly by Christians and Traditional worshippers.  These states out of deference to the country and its Constitution are not able to declare their areas Christians or Traditional states by amending their laws to suit Christian and Traditional beliefs and culture as the twelve Islamic states had done.  They have also not said that Christian principles and beliefs are superior to the Constitution.  Their weakness is the fact that there are over sixty ethnic nationalities that occupy these states and, under the principles of divide and rule, the ruling class was able to ensure they are divided so that they get only the crumbs from the table and whenever the ruling class so feels, these ethnic minorities are invited to the table for a meal.  This metaphor applies to the method of sharing Nigeria’s oil wealth.  These states feel short changed by the method.

 

(2)        Section 162 (2) of the Constitution states that

“The President, upon the receipt of advice from the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission, shall table before the National Assembly proposals for Revenue Allocation from the Federation Account, and in determining the formula, the National Assembly shall take into account, the allocation principles especially those of population, equality of States, internal revenue generation, land mass, terrain as well as population density:

Provided that the principles of derivation shall be constantly reflected in any approved formula as being not less than thirteen per cent of the revenue accruing to the Federal Account directly from any natural resources.”  

 

In the first place, there is no need for a Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Commission [RMFC], when the Constitution has provided the basis for sharing the Country’s wealth. These are “population, equality of States, Internal revenue generation, landmass, terrain as well as population density” with a proviso of not less than 13% for derivation.  We, of the CSMN, see RMFC as an instrument to further deny minorities of their rights and to ensure that they are not empowered to challenge the status quo.

 

(3)        Minorities who are mainly Christians believe that the only basis for this allocation principle is to ensure that the major ethnic nationalities assets (Land and Human in abundance) are used as basis for sharing Assets (i) Population and Population Density are assets. (ii) Land, Landmass, Terrain are assets. (iii) States and Local Governments, which the major ethnic nationalities have in abundance are also assets.

“As local governments became the plaything of both the central and state governments, local autonomy became increasingly meaningless.  Local governments were created so arbitrarily, their numbers grew by geometric progression.  In 1976 the number was about 300.  During the Second republic, the state governments increased them to a total of 603.  Shortly after the military returned in December 1983, they were reduced to 304.  This was under General Muhammadu Buhari.  After General Ibrahim Babangida overthrew Buhari in a palace coup, the new military president reverted the number back to 600 or so.  Finally, after General Abacha took over in November 1993, he increased the number to 774, even though the draft constitution he made in 1995 somewhat gave back the powers of creating local governments to the states.

[11]  Today the 774 Local Government is one of the basis for asset sharing equality of local government.

 

Minorities query the wisdom of sharing assets, without a corresponding contribution.  Assets sharing in Nigeria favour the major ethnic groups who share a total of about 60% of the wealth of the nation while contributing less than 20%.  Minorities believe that there are better ways of sharing the wealth of the nation, for education, health, transport etc that will benefit everybody. The most repulsive aspect is that the wealth of the nation is used to pay the bloated Federal Public Service that delivers very little by way of service. 

 

9.         Change from parliamentary to presidency without Consultation

A New Presidential Constitution was promulgated in 1979.  The reason for the changed from Parliamentary system of 1963 to Presidential system was explained by Allison Ayida who wrote, that:

[12] [Emphasis supplied].

 

Professor Omo-Omoruyi, on the other hand, wrote,

[13]

 

Both explanations showed that special interest rather than altruism was the motivating factor for the change from a parliamentary to a presidential system of government.

 

10.       Free and Fair Election

[14].

It cannot be substituted with selection as was done in 1999, 2003 and 2007.

Professor Omo-Omoruyi on 1959 election wrote: “Succession claims 1959/1960: and Britain handing over to Northern leaders has this to say:

[15]

 

Succession election of 1959: Rigged in favour of the North:

[16].

From the above, it is very clear that we got it very wrong from the beginning and we need to do something to change the course of our country and the time is now.

 

(1)        It is very clear that most of the sacrifices made to keep Nigeria one by South and Northern Christians have never been given recognition. Rather, we are made to believe falsely that cotton, groundnut and tin sustained Nigeria at one time.  This is incorrect as the North has never subsidized the South since amalgamation in 1914.  Apart from the issues of revenue which had earlier been discussed and the construction of the Northern railway, the South provided the bulk of teachers administrators with Western education etc necessary to sustain a modern government.   The South also bent over backwards for the sake of peace to accede to all demands made by the Islamic clerics through their emirs.  They demanded that the number of seats in the Legislative Assembly between the North and South must be equal irrespective of population, which they got.   That on no account must the Northern Yoruba [Ilorin and Kabba] be made to join the South West Yoruba, they were granted.  All these have made our brothers and sisters in the North to be arrogant and pompous.  We know, as a matter of fact, that

[17]

 

[18] This explains why some fill blooded Yorubas in Kwara, Kogi states and the South West regards themselves as Hausa/Fulani. The Islamization of the North with the inflow of money from some Arab and other Muslim countries enabled, the Sarduana to set up the Ja-amatul Nasril Islam [JNI] as an all-purpose umbrella for the channeling of finances for the propagation of Islam in Northern Nigerian in all its forms, including the building of Qur’arnic schools.” The JNI was the religious arm of the NPC and Government of Northern Nigeria maintained all Muslim clerics and mosque.  This is responsible no doubt for the complaint of Shehu Sani who wrote

[19]

 

 

(4)        We have shown in the above paragraphs why a lopsided federation, that is dominated by Muslim clerics who need the state for sustenance, a colonial Governor General who handed power to the North to prevent succession, while at the same time tampering with basic tenets of democracy – free, fair and credible election, and the desire of the North to continue with this system, the product of which included Obasanjo ad now Yar’Adua.  In the circumstance, we need to re-negotiate our federalism and redistribute powers and reduce the effect of Islamic clerics in the politics of Nigeria in the 21st century.

 

12.       Balance of Political Power for Survival

 

 

13.       Solution

It is not enough to point out flaws in a system without proffering a solution.  It is clear that Nigeria has structural problems, as a result of colonialism, which has led to the imbalance of political powers within the country and we all know that the preponderance of power in the hands of one section of the country must, of necessity, threaten the interest and security of other parts of the country.  Although the impression is being created that the Niger Delta is the threat to the security of Nigeria, it is our view that, it is the excessive balance of political power enjoyed by the north under the leadership of Hausa/Fulani, with a religious agenda Islamic clerics that use this immense powers to threaten other nationalities in the Nigerian Nation.

 

We therefore recommend dialogue to tear down the walls erected over the years by these clerics, and then build bridges based on the principles of subsidiarity.  We need to negotiate our future as a nation.

 

14.       Areas for negotiation

a.         A Nigerian State based on Democracy and Rule of Law

(i)         Agreed principles in a democratic Nigeria .

            (ii)       Promotion and acceptance of people’s parties.

(iii)       Politics to serve the common Good – Common Good means respect for persons, social well being and development, peace and security.

 

b.       Protection of Federalism

(i)         Giving priority to internal non violent security

(ii)        Negotiated constitution that will reflect the ideas of a Nigerian nation.

(iii)       Federal structure that will respect the authority of states and local governments.

(iv)       Living together with peoples of different nationalities as citizens.

c.       Towards an Ecological and Social Market Economy

(i)         Principles of ecology and social market economy to be identified agreed and respected.

            (ii)        Ensuring Social Justice – restructuring the social state.

 

d.       Free Development of an Individual’s Personality and the family as a foundation

of Society

(i)         Supporting marriage and family life.

(ii)       Improving the capability of the family.

(iii)      Equal rights to personal development of disabled persons.

(iv)      Young people – the future of our society depends on them.

(v)       Recognizing the experience of senior citizens.

 

e.       Cultural Expression of National Identity and Openness

(i)         Renewing Education.

(ii)        Harmonizing all that is good between and among ethnic and religious communities.

(iii)       Media- exercising freedom with responsibility.

(iv)       Leisure and Sport.

(v)        Artistic and cultural freedom.

 

15.       Way Forward

The Christian Social Movement of Nigeria [CSMN] suggests Subsidiarity as the basis for negotiations, which means “that community of higher order should not interfere in the internal affairs of a community of lower order thus taking a cue from the European Union with diverse nationalities that had fought two world wars.  We will be happy to share ideas with other organizations especially Muslim clerics on the principle that –

Life is better than death;

Health is better than sickness;

Education is better than ignorance;

Liberty is better than slavery;

Justice is better than injustice;

Prosperity is better than poverty;

Order is better than anarchy;

Peace is better than war.

 

If these principles are accepted as necessary for peace and progress then there should be no difficulty for the Government to facilitate the convening of a National Conference in which it will be left to various nationalities to choose those to represent them.  Once Nigeria is re-negotiated then peace, security and progress can be guaranteed including election reform.

 

16.       Conclusion

We cannot change the past, and evidence available to us Nigerians and the world at large, is that, those to whom the British handed power at Independence in 1960 and subsequent leaders of the country have failed Nigeria, a country that is so endowed with God’s blessings.  Our leaders failed because of religiosity whose modus operandi is attempting to re-invent the wheel of democracy in the 20th century.  We cannot change the past but we can change the future by today’s actions. 

 

God bless Nigeria

 

 

 


             

S. A. Asemota SAN                                                    Dr. O. O. Oluniyi

Chairman Governing Council                                     Ag. Secretary Governing Council

December 10, 2007                                                    December 10, 2007

 

[1] Lugard Amalgamation pp 158

[2] www oic com file A/oic charter.htm 08/03/2004

[3] www.oic.com file A/oic charter.htm

[4] Dr. Abdul-Lateef Adegbite The Sharia Issue – working papers for a dialogue

[5] Lugard and the Amalgamation of Nigeria A Documentary Record A. H. M Kirk-Greene

[6] Lugard’s papers page 18

[7] Lugard’s papers page 24

[8] Lugard’s papers page 158

[9] Lugard’s papers page 149

[10] The spread of Islam through North to West Africa Page 188

[11] Daily Trust Wednesday April 7, 2004 by Mohammed Haruna

[12] Allison Ayida Refection on Nigerian Development Page 264

[13] Omo Omoruyi The tale of June 12 – Page 5.

[14] Pita Ejoifor – Political/Religious Conflict Management in West Africa paper presented at the 2004 German/Nigeria Association Week in Awka, Anambra State.

[15] Omo Omoruyi – The Tale of June 12 – page 302

29Omo-Omoruyi – The Tale of June 12 – page 302, 303, 307.

[17] The Killing of fields Shehu Sani page 38

[18] Report of the commission appointed to enquire into the fears of Minorities and means of allaying the page 66

[19] The Phantom Crescent [A play] page 3

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