- Says 1999 Constitution Manufactured By Military Clique
- Reiterates Call For Replacement With 1960, 1963 Constitutions
The Secretary-General and Spokesman of National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), Mr Ayo Opadokun, has again stated that Nigeria as it is currently being operated cannot survive through the use of brute military force.
While speaking on an Arise TV programme on Monday, monitored by The New Diplomat, Opadokun expressed distress and worry over the state of the country.
The interview follows a ‘Save our Souls’ letter written by NADECO to the United Nations (UN), asking the international body to prevent the collapse of the country.
According to Opadokun during the interview, the country was forcefully packaged together through the amalgamation of the Southern and Northern protectorates in 1914 by Lord Fredick Lugard, following the British occupation of the last century.
He stated that “any nation put together by force of arms never lasted”, adding that it is only a matter of time before Nigeria seperates if nothing is quickly done to rewrite the past wrongs.
The spokesman of the pro-democracy group also noted that the call for secession from many quarters of the country is a reflection of the lack of rule of law and development in the country. He stated that the foundation of Nigeria is weak, hence the reason many are demanding for the establishment of their own country.
According to him, Nigeria cannot remain united if the citizens are not treated equally; if the fundamental human rights of everybody is not respected.
In his words, “The global community has advanced, today there is no empire you can point to that remains permanent. Today, Father Jozef Tiso of Slovaka is not on the world map. Any nation that is packaged together by the colonialist, any nation put together by force of arms never lasted and Nigeria will not be an exemption.
“So, all these clamour and agitations for the indissolubility of Nigeria, they are all wishful thinking. We can only remain as one if we are treated equally, if the fundamental human rights of everybody is respected and if a small group of people don’t see themselves as the owner of the Nigerian project while other citizens are spectators.”
Reacting to the open letter of NADECO to the UN and President Muhammadu Buhari, Opadokun, again reiterated the cancellation of the 1999 constitution and the adoption of the 1960, 1963 constitutions.
The pro-democracy group, in the open letter, had said that democratic elections in Nigeria should only be considered after a return to the negotiated 1960 and 1963 Federal Constitutions to which citizens subscribed to at independence and when the country became a Republic.
Explaining the submission of the group, the NADECO spokesman stated that the 1960 and 1963 constitution best suit the heterogeneous society of the country.
According to him, the constitutions gave room for regional development, unlike the 1999 constitution where “governor has to go to Abuja with their caps in their hand to beg for assistance.”
In his words, “The 1960 Constitution which was the independence Constitution was a negotiated Constitution because the different ethnic nationalities were already leaving on their territories for several thousand of years before the British colonialist came, use the force of arm to force us into co-habitation. Leading to the so-called amalgamation in 1914, they did so for their own political and economic interest at our own detriment. So, our ethnic nationalities recognizing that we are an heterogeneous society, with different languages, culture, tradition, customs, artifacts, folkores and the likes believe that in order for us to live together each one must be able to carry on with lifesytle unhindered by any other group. That was why the federal Constitution was negotiated and accepted.
“During the period when that constitution was in operation in the first republic, there was development. For example, Chief Obafemi Awolowo as the premier, Western region was able to establish the most enduring legacy, free primary education program in 1955. The first Western television broadcasting services was established in Nigeria when there was not even many in parts of the western Europe. Several other things like the first stadium, cocoa house.
“Alhaji Ahmadu Bello, the Sultan of Sokoto, was able to provide free education to those who are available in the Northern region. There was healthy competition, they regarded agriculture as the heart of the economy, till tomorrow agriculture contributes over 50% of our gross domestic product (GDP).
“With the advent of the military, they abandoned agriculture when they discovered oil. And they use their decree to appropriate all the resources of the region, so much that the Commander in Chief becomes father Christmas. Today every Governor has to go to Abuja with their caps in their hand to beg for assistance.”
Meanwhile, the NADECO letter signed by the group’s General Secretary/Spokesman, Mr. Ayo Opadokun, was a reference to the one earlier written to President Muhammadu Buhari and entitled: ‘Re-Open Letter to President Muhammadu Buhari about the Unacceptable Deterioration of National Security and Political Stability Under Your Watch’
It reads: “We, the National Democratic Coalition, on behalf of Nigeria write to formally request you to use your good offices to take immediate and concrete steps to halt the fast deterioration of national security and political stability in Nigeria.
“Nigeria’s current situation is so deplorable because of the imposed centralist and unitary 1999 Constitution, which was manufactured by a military clique and imposed upon us. Ethnic nationalities who were the building blocks upon which the British colonialist constructed Nigeria had clamoured, appealed and cautioned the sectional military wing ruling Nigeria (foisting former Presidents, Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan) as surrogates, for Nigeria to return to a federal constitution upon which Nigeria secured its independence in 1960 but their interventions had always been met with disdain and provocative responses.”
“Nigerians have never accepted the suspension, and abrogation of the negotiated Independence Constitution.”