Let us start at the beginning, with the foundations of the Union of ethnic nationalities known as Nigeria. Although Nigeria claims to be upheld by a social contract, given the name “1999 Constitution”, it is now well known that this imposed document is an illegitimate forgery, and the country is therefore not established on the “consent of the governed”. Recently, in a discussion on Heritage Multimedia TV, UK-based lawyer Dele Ogun aptly said that Nigeria has no Constitution, but what it has is an “instrument of governance”.
This 1999 Constitution was imposed upon Nigerians at the start of civilian rule by the departing military. Since that time, Nigeria has defied development, and Nigerians have been unable to meet their potentials as long as they remain within Nigeria. We can therefore say that Nigeria has been rendered toxic by a toxic 1999 Constitution. Legal experts and social commentators have identified the 68-item Exclusive List and the immunity conferred on public office holders in that 1999 Constitution as key enablers of the debilitating under-development and gross corruption that characterise Nigeria. It also creates other disorders such as favouring one section of the country over others, thus an Apartheid-like system, where the ruling elite are given much power over the people, creating a master-servant society rather than a democracy.
The seriousness of this situation is that the Laws of Nigeria grow out of this illegitimate 1999 Constitution. It means that Laws are being made based on a Constitution that does not have the consent of the people! Not surprisingly under such a Constitution, Nigeria’s National Assembly can, and does pass Laws that are anti-people, and similarly, a President can make anti-people Executive Orders, plus government policies can be anti-people too.
Nigeria now has so many Laws, Bills and government policies that the people had rejected, but which have been imposed anyway. Examples of what the people have soundly rejected, but which they have been forced to endure are the incredibly high salaries, allowances and benefits for political office holders, followed by prodigious pensions for these same people, all this depriving the ordinary Nigerian of the public funds needed for infrastructure and social welfare. There is the RUGA policy re-introduced by President Buhari, himself a Fulani, to use public money to create homes and communities for Fulani herdsmen, who are also known as, or interacting with, Fulani militia, considered the fourth deadliest terrorist group in the world by Global Terrorism Index in 2014. The public outcry over RUGA got it shelved, then reintroduced in 2019 and it is being implemented in disguise as many believe, under the name of National Livestock Transformation Plan. There is also the National Waterways Bill reintroduced by President Buhari despite public outrage, that will allow central government to seize control of all the surface and ground water in Nigeria, including the land along their banks. This will translate to indigenous ethnic nationalities mainly of the South and Middle Belt being forced to lose their ancestral land and assets to central government. In this case, to one whose election in 2019 had to be decided by an election tribunal, whose proceedings continue to cause raised eyebrows. Two other heinous Bills are the so-called Hate Speech Bill and the Social
Media Bill. Both have been condemned by Amnesty International as “dangerous attacks on freedom of expression”. In a nutshell, these two bills give government indiscriminate powers to completely shut down the internet, or limit access to social media, and make criticizing the government punishable with penalties that include custodial sentences. Clearly, under this 1999 Constitution so-called, Nigeria is not a free country. What makes it harder for ordinary Nigerians to bear, is that the ruling elite who enforce such a Constitution and who use it to deprive Nigerians of their freedoms, will not tolerate the Nigeria that it creates, despite having the sumptuous lifestyles that the public money they award themselves, gives them. Rather, the ruling class and their children prefer the freedoms and free societies that are found abroad, so go there for medical care, education, shopping, relaxation and peace; and then manipulate the systems there so that they can live abroad, including buying foreign citizenship.
To vie for political office in Nigeria, one must be a member of a political party. The winner of an election will then swear an Oath of Office to uphold the 1999 Constitution over their people, even though they know it does not have the consent of the governed. Such betrayal of their own people cannot be allowed to continue. Therefore, the honourable thing to do now is that this illegitimate 1999 Constitution be decommissioned, so that new, “we the people” Constitutions can be properly obtained. All those Nigerians who are suffering the injustices that this 1999 Constitution brings, and all those in the international community who want to see justice done in Nigeria, must therefore compel political parties not to begin the journey to general elections in 2023 under this repudiated Constitution because they subscribe to this sham 1999 Constitution whose life is renewed by each election, but political parties must close shop temporarily so that this situation can first be corrected. This is the solution for all who want an end to anti-people policies and Bills such as RUGA, Waterways Bill, Social Media Bill, Hate Speech Bill, etc.
Incidentally, compelling political parties to “close shop” is also the pathway to address the civil liberties and human rights complaints of protests such as End SARS (police brutality), Revolution Now, Our Mumu Don Do, etc. “Close shop” is how all the miseries and insecurities that flow from the 1999 Constitution, can end and even be reversed.
Tensions are now very high in Nigeria. Life there has been described as a living Hell, so change will most certainly happen. There is the well-known adage that if peaceful change is prevented by those in authority, then violent change becomes inevitable. It is in order to prevent violent change and bring in peaceful change that a Constitutional Force Majeure was declared on 16
th December 2020 by the Nigerian Indigenous Nationalities Alliance for Self-Determination (NINAS). This Constitutional Force Majeure over a Sovereignty Dispute because the 1999 Constitution does not have the consent of the governed, is also a reminder that sovereignty is always with the people. The people are the Owners, and the serving political class are simply the hired Managers, in place to bring benefits, security, and progress for the people. The Five Demands of this Constitutional Force Majeure include central government committing itself to decommission the repudiated 1999 Constitution, and, to formally announce that general elections in 2023 under this repudiated 1999 Constitution are suspended (so political parties should “close shop”), so that this unjust situation that Nigerians face, can be repaired through dialogue.
This Constitutional Force Majeure activated by NINAS, is an ORDERLY PROCESS based on democratic principles, so only the violent would want to resist it. It follows a process similar to what South Africa used in order to decommission their Apartheid Constitution, a process that was acclaimed internationally for preventing armed conflict or overwhelming civil unrest.
Nigeria is a bubbling volcano about to erupt through having anti-people Laws and Bills that remove civil liberties and human rights, creating a society that is not free. Young people are searching for a way out of this terrible bind they are in. Here it is: Political parties are chiefly responsible for this unjust situation because they subscribe to the repudiated 1999 Constitution whose life is renewed by elections. All political parties should “close shop” and not prepare for general elections in 2023 to allow for new “we the people” constitutional arrangements, as stipulated by the Constitutional Force Majeure activated on 16th December 2020.
NOTE: The Five Demands and the full text of the Constitutional Force Majeure can be found at https://freedomfromnigeria.com/