THE OWERRI DECLARATION
COMMUNIQUE OF THE
2019 IGBO NATIONAL SUMMIT
PEACE, SECURITY AND DEVELOPMENT OF
ALAIGBO AND HER NEIGHBOURS.
Held at Villa Gardens Hotel, Owerri , Imo State, Nigeria.
The first-ever IGBO NATIONAL SUMMIT was convened today, August 22nd
2019 by key frontline Igbo organizations and major stakeholders with representatives of her Neighbors in attendance to examine the grave state of insecurity in our region, under the banner Peace, Security and Development of Alaigbo and Her Neighbors. The event was presided over by His Royal Majesty, Igwe Amb. Lawrence Agubuzu, Chairman, Enugu State Council of Traditional Rulers. He was assisted by His Lordship, Bishop Obi Udezue Onubogu, Overseer, Rock Cathedral, Enugu.
After an exhaustive of key nte addresses by the conveners as well major presentations on the state and challenges of insecurity that have gravely affected the peace and development of Alaigbo and her neighbors, the participants noted as follows –
i. That the Territory known as the Federal Republic of Nigeria was initially created by the British colonial authority mainly to advance her colonial interests.
ii. That since the amalgamation of the territory consisting of several major and smaller nationalities in 1914, the region has known no stability, but rather has witnessed incessant crises resulting in the Biafra war of 1967. That war saw the worst state of pogrom in which over 3 million people mainly Igbo citizens were brutally killed and the territory devastated. That the end of the war left Alaigbo and her neighbors in ruins with no efforts since then to rebuild the region.
iii. That the endemic instability in the Federation has been due to an inherent incompatibility of values between the dominant religions, traditions and cultures of its indigenous ethnic nationalities. But this has been made worse by the deliberate act of manipulation by the British colonial authorities who, through manipulation of the Federal structure and census, left power in the hands of the Fulani minority.
iiii. What is more, political stability is anchored on the fundamental principles of democracy, rule of law and equity. Unfortunately, the Fulani minority does not understand, let alone believe in these basic norms of co-existence among peoples. This truth has been brazenly asserted by the Fulani National Movement (FUNAM) when, in a recent statement in which they declared their resolve to fully conquer the rest of the Federation, FUNAM referred to what it called “irresponsible Western notion of democracy”, which it said the British imposed in Nigeria in order to undermine their territorial ambition.
v. The participants noted that the Federal Republic of Nigeria as it exists today is a phantom political state which has lost all the basic principles of rule of law, justice, equity and humane values; anarchy now prevails in all spheres of the society.
vi. The Republic has been seized by one ethnic nationality, namely, the minority Fulani who do not hide their intentions to wipe out the indigenous populations and their religions and turn the territory into an Islamic State.as has been arrogantly stated by the Fulani Nationality Movement (FUNAM). Following the mass killings of the helpless citizens of Plateau by the Fulani, where some non-Fulani civilians according to FUNAM ‘were justifiable hacked down’. In their statement following this gruesome massacre, FUNAM declared: –
We have said it over and over, that Nigeria is the only inheritance we have in Africa and anywhere in the world. This land belongs to us, from Sokoto to the banks of the Atlantic Ocean. This was the destiny bestowed on Uthman Dan Fodio which would have been fulfilled since 1816 if not for the obstruction of this great assignment by the British. It is no longer time to play the ostrich. Our men are waiting. We are eager to fight. We are boiling with the zeal to actualize our dream; enough of double dealing and ambivalence by FULANI political leaders who unfortunately think the FULANI can only take back what belongs to us through appeasement and elections destined to reflect cultural values antithetical to the preaching of Uthman Dan Fodio.
vii. Indeed, this declaration is no longer a statement of intentions. The Fulani have fully embarked on their fulfillment. In pursuit of this goal, they have systematically, under their leader General Mohammadu Buhari, seized all the apparatuses of the state – the Executive, the Legislative, the Judiciary, the Military and all the Security Forces, the Bureaucracy, the Economy, all machinery of Government including the so-called Independent Electoral Commission, (INEC), the Educational Institutions, all parastatals of the state.
viii. The participants noted that as of today, the following is the composition of the key Executive, Legislative. Judiciary, Administrative and Security organs of the Federal Republic of Nigeria:-
• President of the Federal Republic …North
• Senate President …North
• Chief Justice of Nigeria…..…North
• President Court of Appeal …North
• CJ Federal High Court ……North
• Inspector-General of Police (IG) North
• DG of Department of State Security ……North
• DG NIA ………North
• CG NSCDC……North
• Minister of Defense ……North
• Nat. Intelligence AgencyNorth
• Minister Finance ……North
• Minister Petroleum ……North
• Minister of Aviation ……North
• Chief of Air Staff ……North
• Chief of Army Staff ….…North
• CG Customs ……North
• CG Immigration ……North
• CG Prisons ….…North
• GMD NNPC ……North
• Chairman Code of conduct Bureau North
• Chairman CCT ……North
• Chairman EFCC ……North
• Director of NFIU ……North
• Chairman INEC ……North
• Population Chairman ……North
• DG/CEO Nat’l Identity ……North, etc, etc.
All these Officials are not only Northerners, but 95% Fulani Muslims.
ixThe participants recalled the catalogue of pogroms and genocide serially inflicted on Ndigbo and the Peoples of Eastern Nigeria which have long threatened our collective survival and existential reality as a People in their economic sojourn across the Country and their violent displacement from their places of abode denying them a sense of belonging in the polity in the face of Government acquiescence and non-payment of compensation as outlined below, the consequent decimation of our growth as a People and our Youth and future generations and our treatment as a conquered People by successive Governments:
* Katsina Railway riot 1937.
*Jos Northern Nigeria 1945. *Northern Nigeria 1953.
*1966 Pogroms Northern Nigeria
*Biafran War 1967-70
*May 1967 Northern Nigeria
*Beheading of Gideon *Akaluka Kano 1995
Christmas eve riot
*Madalla Christmas day bombing 2011Kano
*Post-April 2011 Presidential Election: 10 Youth-Corpers & several Citizens murdered because a Christian Southerner was elected President against a Moslem Northerner.
Nimbo, Enugu massacre 2016
*Awgu Enugu in 2016
*Aba & Afara Ukwu 2017 Operation Python Dance, and the list goes on …………
ix. Given the daunting and unabated militarization of our Homeland by extortionist Police and Military Agents of State, the senseless and conscienceless killing of our Clergy, the condescending sacking of our Churches, Villages and Rural Communities, the routine rape of our Women, Mothers Wives and Daughters, the willful destruction of farmlands and humiliating desecration of our sacred Traditional Grooves, Shrines and Deities by ravaging Terrorist Fulani Headsmen, the immolate destruction of our lives and property, and the wanton implementation of the obnoxious RUGA policy despite widespread Citizen resistance,.
In the light of the above, the participants resolved as follows:-
i. Against this background of worrisome escalating insecurity, fear and horror in our Homeland, threats to our continued existence as a people more so in the face of mounting pressure of occupation by alien terrorist Muslim Fulani Herdsmen, we hereby declare that our people are no longer willing to live a life of meaningless existence in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
ii. And, therefore, we urge for a renegotiation of the basis of our co-existence with our Neighbors. We do not wish to live in the Federal Republic of Nigeria as slaves but desire to co-exist with other regions if Alaigbo (and her willing neighbors) are recognized as AUTONOMOUS REGION, with the right to full control of our territory, our resources, our Executive, legislative, Diplomatic and Administrative institutions, as well as our judiciary, economic and social resources. etc.
iii. Consequently, we are compelled to call for a plebiscite to secure our God-given Homeland, propelled by our collective will to self-determination, to embrace a sustainable future of peace, Security and development for Ourselves and our Children yet unborn.
iiii. Wherein we urge all Pan-Igbo Organizations, including the Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF), Association of South-East Town Unions (ASETU), World Igbo Congress (WIC). concerned Christian Clergy and Representative Organizations, particularly the Christian Association of Nigeria South-East (CAN-SE), from our contiguous Neighbors including the Coalition of all Pro-Biafra Groups, and the vindictively proscribed non-violent Organization, IPOB, to collectively work in political synergy for our collective aspiration for self-determination, to ensure our survival and lead the pursuit of the realization of our collective security, destiny and development as a free, prosperous peace loving People bound together by the principles of Self-determination and freedom
v. We call for a formal coalition of people-based organizations – ADF, ASETU, CAN-SE, WIC, Traditional Rulers Councils, Prof-Biafra Groups (IPOB in particular),Trade Union organizations, Human Research Organizations, Media organizations, Women organizations, Youth and Students Organizations, other religious groups, ex-Service men, to remain together and continue working for the benefit of our people,
vi. We urge for unity of purpose and regular consultations and collaboration between these bodies and the Governments of our region including the socio-cultural organization in Alaigbo, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo
vii. We finally urge the Governors and States House of Assembly to take immediate steps to pass the Anti-Open Grazing Law for the control of the movement of Cattle and other animals in order to protect our farmers and avert the imminent starvation knocking at our doors as farmers are afraid to go to their farms because of the incessant brutal attacks and killings as well as rape of their women and daughters by the Fulani terrorist Herdsmen.
viii. The Governors of the South-Eat should be reminded that they do not need the approval of the President to ban the movement of cattle by foot in the South-East. Even in the absence of Anti-Open Grazing Law, the people and government of Alaigbo can draw their authority to ban the free movement of cattle in the region either from the traditional Igbo customary law or the 2nd Schedule (Concurrent List) of the existing Constitution, particularly items 18 and 20, and the Fourth Schedule (Functions of LGC) items 1 and 2,
ix. We call on the State Governments and the various Communities to ensure that Community vigilantes are effectively in place, All patriotic citizens should support the Government and the vigilantes with adequate funds and protective gargets.
x. We call on our youths and all Pan-Igbo and Pro-Biafra organizations to mobilize their members to enforce security in their various communities.
xi. We urge our women to remember that they were responsible for hastening the demise of colonial rule whose citadel they assaulted in 1929, the first such incident in the history of global colonialism,
xii. We urge the authorities of the Federal Government of Nigeria to lift the siege on our territory by withdrawing all the invading forces and dismantling all extortionist checkpoints
xiii. Finally, we urge all Governors in Alaigbo, Senators, Hose of Reps, and Speakers of the House of Assembly to please consider matters in this communique as expedient and dealt with urgently.
xiiii. Whereupon we call on Almighty God to strengthen our Resolve on this day being Thursday 22nd August 2019 at Owerri. Imo State, Nigeria
LIST OF SIGNATORIES AND ORGANIZATIONS.
1. PROF T UZODINMA NWALA
ALAIGBO DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION (ADF)
2. PROF UKACHUKWU AWUZIE
CHAIRMAN, ORGANIZING COMMITTEE
3. CHIEF EMEKA DIWE
ASSOCIATION OF SOUTH-EAST TOWN UNIONS (ASETU)
4. BISHOP GODDY OKAFOR
CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (CAN-SE)
5. BAR ADA EGBUFOR
WORLD IGBO CONGRESS (WIC)
6. PROF, ELOCHUKWU AMUCHEAZI
IGBO LEADERS OF THOUGHT (ILT)
7. BAR EMEKA UMEAGBALASI
INTER-SOCIETY FOR CIVIL LIBERTIES & RULE OF LAW
8. MRS MARIA OKWO
IGBO WOMEN ASSEMBLY (IWA)
9. BAR ALLOY EJIMAKOR
ATTORNEY TO THE PRO-BIAFRA ORG.
10. OKEY ORJI
COALITION OF PRO-BIAFRA ORGS.
11. BAR CASMIR NWAFOR Rtd. Captain
EX-SERVICE MEN OF NIGERIA
12. PROF N P. OKOLI
OFOR BUIKE INTELLECTUAL UNION BENIN CITY
13. CHIEF SAM AWUIAKA
IGBO COMMUNITY UNION EDO STATE
14. SIR CHUKS OGBONNA
IMO COMMUNITY EUROPE
15. MS CHINWE EBOH
IGBO GLIBAL AALIANCE AUSTRALIA
16. ASUZU CHINEDU PETERS
BVI CHANNEL 1
17. ANAENUGWU NDUBISI VINCENT
PEOPLES RESTORATION MOVEMENT
18. MR BENEDICT OKORO
OCHIE IGBO CULTURAL FOUNDATION
19. PROF NATH ANIEKWU
20. DR. ONYI GBUJIE
21. HON, GIDEON ADIKWURU
22. CHIEF MONDAY IKOKU
THE FUTURE OF NDIGBO IN THE NIGERIAN FEDERATION
MEMORANDUM OF THE ALAIGBO DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION
1.1 The Crises-ridden Federation.
The Federal Republic of Nigeria is not working and has never worked as a united country. The debate on Restructuring or Dissolution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, on the one hand, and the Political Future of Ndigbo, on the other, is provoked by the fact that the Federal Republic of Nigeria is not working and is crisesridden, Ndigbo, in particular and most of the nationalities that make up the Federal Republic in general, feel enslaved and dominated by alien and uncompromising hegemony. This peculiar situation of Ndigbo in Nigeria has constantly fueled their desire to opt out of Nigeria.
1.12 Demand for break-up or opting out of Nigeria, not of Igbo origin.
Indeed, Ndigbo are not alone in this situation; the desire to leave Nigeria was not originated by them. Several other nationalities in Nigeria have at one time or the other made serious moves like Ndigbo to opt out of Nigeria. This was the case in 1966 when Northern Nigeria led by the Fulani felt they had lost control of the Government following the January 1966 coup. The Yoruba did so in 1992-4 following the annulment of June 12 won by Chief M. K. O. Abiola. In the sixties, the Tiv nation fought for their own political and so did the Ijaw nation und Isaac Adaka Boro. In the case of the Niger Delta, the movement for their freedom is still on-going. To understand the nature of the incessant political crises and demands for the break-up of the country, we must look for the roots in the history of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
1.2 Faulty Federal System
1.21 Nigeria is a country of many nations
Nigeria is a multi-ethnic Federation put together by the British without proper foundation. The Federal Republic of Nigeria is made of autonomous nationalities which the British forced into an artificial political and economic union without their consent.Before the emergence of British colonial rule there was nothing like Nigeria as a country. What existed were only separate nationalities (with several communities) independent of each other just like the European nations – the French, the English, the Russian, the Turks, the Portuguese, etc. Some had cultural and commercial links with each other. Their initial contact with Britain and the rest of Europe was mainly commercial.
Among these independent nationalities were the Ijaws, Igbos, Urhobos, Itsekiris, Yoruba, Hausas, Fulani, Nupes, Kanuris, Ogonis, Gwaris, Katafs, Jukars, Edos, Ibibios, Efiks, Idomas, Tivs, Junkuns, Biroms, Agns, Ogojas and so on. There were Kingdoms like Oyo, Lagos, Nri, Aro, Calabar, Brass, Itsekiri, Benin, Tiv, Bornu, Sokoto Caliphate (with lose control over Kano, Ilorin, Zaria, etc.) Bonny, Opobo, etc
1.22 European colonial interest led to the creation of Nigeria
The 1884 Berlin Conference of European powers ceded the territories of these nationalities to Britain. Initially there was a loose commercial relationship with the British Royal Niger Company which was granted corporate trading rights by the British Government. Later in 1900, the Britain Government assumed direct political and economic control of the territory.
Their basic interest in the territory was in the natural resources of the area (palm oil and palm kernel, cocoa, hides and skins, groundnut, coal, tin, iron bauxite, etc.), which were needed as raw materials in the British industries.
1.23 Forced Acquisition of Territories and their artificial Amalgamation
Through a process of arm-twisting, forced-treaties, conquest and other form of subterfuge, the British colonial power brought these separate nationalities together without seeking and obtaining their consent.
First, Britain brought them together under separate artificial combinations
– The Northern Protectorate,
– The Southern Protectorate and
– The Colony of Lagos.
Finally, all these artificial combinations of independent nation-states were brought together under the one-sided Amalgamation Treaty of 1914 and baptized NIGERIA, with a British Colonial Officer presiding over her affairs as the Governor- General assisted by other colonial officers.
During the intra-European struggles for the control of the world, the colonizers citizens from these territories as soldiers in their war of world domination.
2.0 REGIONALISM AND THE MAKING OF AN ARTIFICIAL
2.1 Federation with a Central Government and Three Regional Governments.
For purposes of convenient political, economic and administrative control, the
British colonial authority devised various constitutional arrangements for the Federation. The most outstanding one with the greatest tragic consequences for the Federation and the peoples in the entire territory was the Regional Governmental Structure of 1954 via the so-called Macpherson Constitution.
Here again the British grouped these independent nationalities into three
– The Eastern Region –
The Northern Region, and
– The Western Region.
2.2 Formation of Political Parties and the loss of National Autonomy by the various Nationalities.
Formation of Political parties were encouraged, and there and then all consultations were between the British and the leaders of the political parties, while the nationalities and their leadership were ignored. Indeed, Nigeria became a Federation of political parties rather than a Federation of Nationalities.
2.3 Domination of the Regions by Major Nationalities.
The result of this constitutional process was an artificial Federal Regional Structure which put most of the various nationalities in each Region under the control and domination of the dominant nationality in the Region. The regions were controlled by the dominant political parties which were controlled by the dominant nationalities. Thus, the Fulani dominated the Northern Region, Ndigbo dominated the Eastern Region, while the Yoruba dominated the Western Region.
Beneath this artificial federal structure, were constant national rivalries; first among the big three nationalities (Igbo, Fulani and Yoruba) for domination of their regions and next for the control of the Federation. And then there was rivalry between the gig nationalities and the smaller ethnic nationalities within the regions controlled by them.
2.3 Special British interest in the Northern Region. The Making of Fulani Hegemony
For reasons of the convenience of colonial control, the British had special arrangement for managing the affairs of the Northern Region in what was called Indirect Rule. By this arrangement, the British shared power with the Fulani Emirs; in fact, she directly and constitutionally put the various nationalities in the Region under the control of the Fulani Emirs.
The British went further to ensure that the Northern Region was dominant in terms of allocation of territorial landmass but also in terms of manipulating the census figures. A one-time British Colonial Officer, Mr. Harold Smith, confessed that the British falsified the Nigerian pre-independence Census figures before they were release in their bid to put the North in power at all cost. According to him, ”…Despite seeing vast land with no human but cattle in the north, we still gave the North 55 million instead of 32 Million. This was to be used to maintain their majority votes and future power bid”.
Thus, the British made sure the Northern Region was the dominant Region over the rest, and by that arrangement, the Fulani became the dominant political force in the Federation and has since continued to control and dominate the whole of the whole Federation. Given the feudal and religious character of the Fulani socio-political system, they have made it impossible to democratize the political and social system of the Republic. The situation today is that the Federal Republic of Nigeria is under the firm grip of the Fulani hegemony. The Fulani is in firm control of the Nigerian Military, all Security Forces (Intelligence and the police) the Executive, the Legislature, the Judiciary, the Central Bank, and Currency, Immigration and Customs, the Oil Industry, Agriculture, Education, all the major institutions of the State.
Given this state of affairs, any democratic remaking of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is almost impossible. However, the future of Nigeria will depend on the recovery of the national identities and political freedom of the various nationalities that make up the Federal Republic of Nigeria. That, of course will depend on their individual and collective ability and will to assert their Fundamental Right to Selfdetermination.
2.4 How the early leaders of Nigeria saw the Emergent Federation.
2.41 Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, the front-line pan-Africanist and leader of what was initially the biggest political party in Nigeria, the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC), strenuously promoted the philosophy of ONE NGERIA and the slogan ONE NATION, ONE DESTINY! urging all in the Federal Republic “let us unite and forget our differences’.
2.42 Sir, Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto and one-time Premier of Northern Nigeria, was fully aware of the political reality of Nigeria as an artificial assemblage of distinct nationalities. He held the view that in making one country out of the multinationalities of Nigeria, one should not forget the fact that Nigeria is a country of many nations with basic cultural, political, economic and religious differences. He therefore, jealously guarded the large territorial bounty the British had put under the dominance of the Fulani, his people.
He thus promoted the slogan ONE NORTH, ONE DESTINY! and urging the other leaders and everybody “in uniting let us remember our differences”. Aided by the British, the Sardauna deployed his feudal background, using all manner of political, religious and administrative machinery to cow and manipulate the large territory and various nationalities the British had put under his control.
2.43 Sir, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Nigeria’s first Prime Minister, echoed the Sadauna’s views when he said, “We must recognize our diversity and the peculiar conditions under which the different tribal communities live in this country”
2.44 Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the first Premier of Western Nigeria, in his book, Path to Nigeria’s Freedom asserted that “Nigeria is not a nation. It is a mere geographical expression. There are no ‘Nigerians’ in the same sense as there are ‘English’, ‘Welsh’, or ‘French’. The word ‘Nigerian’ is merely a distinctive appellation to distinguish those who live within the boundaries of Nigeria from those who do not. There are various national or ethnical groups in the country. It is a mistake to designate them ‘tribes’. Each of them is a nation by itself with many tribes and clans. There are as much differences between them as there are between Germans, English, Russians and Turks, for instance. The fact that they have a common overlord does not destroy this fundamental difference. (“Path to Nigerian Freedom” (Faber & Faber, 1947, page.48)
Chief Awolowo went on to name ten such nationalities as recorded in the 1931 Census, namely, Hausa, Ibo, Yoruba, Fulani, Kanuri, Ibibio, Munshi or Tiv, Edo, Nupe, and Ijaw.) while acknowledging that there are several others. Nigeria is today said to comprise over 350 such nationalities.
2.5 Dialectics of a Multi-National Society.
Politics is said to be struggle among social forces. And in a multi-ethnic society, the most potent social forces are the ethnic nationalities. In the final analysis politics in a multi-ethnic society is seen as a struggle for self-determination and pre-eminence among the contending groups. This explains why the most celebrated national heroes are ethnic heroes, ranging from the Sardauna of Sokoto, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr. Michael Okpara, Chief Odumegwu Ojukwu, Joseph Tarka, Isaac Boro, Ken Sarowiwa, etc.
2.6 The Pull between Nationalism and Federalism in the Making of the Federation.
The pull between Federalism with very week foundation and Nationalism with strong natural socio-cultural and historical roots is at the root of the instability of the Nigerian Federation. In other words, attachment to one’s nationality was very stronger than attachment to the Federation unless one is in position to join the dominant political party
i. As we observed earlier, the initial three regions were an artificial construct. Each Region was swallowed by its dominant nationality – a. Eastern Region by the Igbo b. Northern Region by the Hausa-Fulani c. Western Region by the Yoruba
ii. The dominant party in each Region was equally dominated by the dominant Nationality in the Region. The most outstanding in this contradiction between Federalism and Nationalism is the case of the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC). NCNC started as a truly ‘pan-Nigerian Party”, but was eventually to become an Igbo-dominated National Party especially when the other major ethic groups have built their own party as an instrument for struggle over the control of the center.
iii. The Sardauna of Sokoto and even Mallam Aminu Kano made no pretentions in recognizing this political reality. And so gave their parties names that reflected the reality of the ethnic–orientation of political organization in a multi-national society. a. Northern Peoples’ Congress (NPC) – The Sardauna of Sokoto. b. Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU) – Aminu Kano. c. United Middle Belt Congress (UMBC) – Joseph Tarka. d. Alhaji Ibrahim Waziri’s party was a later formation and so did not have an appellation showing its Northern base and concern with the interest of the Kanuris. His Party was called The Grand National Party of Nigeria (GNPP)
2.7 Sir Ahmadu Bello was not A Federalist but a Fulani Nationalist. Today it is obvious that Sir Ahmadu Bello the Sardauna of Sokoto was very realistic in recognizing that no union of not built on the fundamental principle of freedom of association and of Self-Determination! The Union must allow the various constituent nationalities to freely decide if they different nationalities can succeed if it is not built on the right foundation; if the Union is are willing to be part of the union or not. It will not succeed if it does not allow the various peoples to control their ancestral homes, if it does not allow them to control their socio-cultural economic and political environment and life. 2.8 Minorities in search of political relevance and survival.
Within each Region, there were minority Nationalities seeking to project their national identities and so had to resist the dominance of the bigger nationalities controlling the affairs of their Region. And in doing so, they sought political alliance with the big parties outside their region. This enabled them to have recognizable voice and influence in the affairs of the Federal Republic. – NEPU in the North allied with the NCNC dominant in the East. – UMBC in the North allied with the Action Group (AG) in the West. – The Mid-West Regional Movement in the West allied with the NCNC in the East. – The COR Movement in the East with the Action Group and the NPC What was wrong with some of the pre-as Constitutional Conferences?
2.9 The 1963 Constitution – The Birth of Political Naivety versus Political Realism
At the dawn of the Republican Constitution of 1963, Southern politicians were enjoying the fanciful intellectual and emotional idea of Nigeria being ‘truly independent, no longer tied to the apron string of Her Majesty’s Government as was the case with their dominion status. On the other hand, the Northern politicians, led by the Sardauna of Sokoto, had their eyes on who controls the so-called independent Republic; that is to say, the North had her eyes on the management and control of STATE POWER in the new Republic.
And what are the decisive indices of state power? – the Military, the Executive and the Legislature- In other words, he who controls the decisive instruments of state power would invariably control the Federal Republic. In short their major concern and focus were on the major instruments or organs of state power, viz, the Executive, the Legislature, the Judiciary, the Military, and the Security Forces (the Security Council, the NSO, the Police, the Customs, etc).
In his article, The Republican Constitution of 1963: The Supreme Court and Federalism in Nigeria, Akin Alao reveals that the Republican Constitution of 1963, was among other things, to allay the fears of insecurity by the Prime Minister (Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa) to bolster the powers of the Executive, regulate Cabinet/Legislative relations, enhance the leverage of the Executive over the Judiciary through subtle intimidation. For example, according to him, the power of the Governor-General to remove the Prime Minster was amended to make his removable dependent on loss of confidence by his Cabinet which composed of his appointees.
Within the same period, Sir Adetokunboh Ademola, the Chief Justice the Federation complained about the loss of independence by the Judiciary following the subjection of the Judicial Service Commission to the powers of the Prime Minster (The Republican Constitution of 1963: The Supreme Court and Federalism in Nigeria by A kin Alao. The University of Miami International and Company Law Review Rev 91, 2015).
2.10. The 1966 Military Intervention, not responsible for the Collapse of the 1963 Federal Constitution.
The military was not responsible for the collapse of the 1963 Constitution. That Constitution collapsed on its own weightlessness and faulty assumptions. Its incapacity to guarantee a stable and genuine political union was demonstrated through series of crises between 1962 and 1966. During this period the contradiction between federalism and nationalism bared its monstrous fangs and progressively tore every element of the faulty Federal structure.
The military intervened when the 1963 Constitution itself collapsed, when it proved incapable of sustaining the rule of law, democratic conduct of state affairs, and thus could not deal with the contradiction between federalism and nationalism.
The Constitution collapsed when the leadership of the Fulani nationality had assumed an over-bearing influence and had taken over (in fact seized) the affairs (state power) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The collapse of the 1963 Constitution before the January 1966 coup was manifested through series of crises, for example,
i. Census crises of 1962,
ii. The 1962 treasonable felony trial and imprisonment of Chief Obafemi Awolowo and his allies, some of whom were driven into exile.
iii. The Federal Election crises of 1964,
iv. The Western Nigeria Election crises of 1965
It was at this point that the military got involved. The military was to be used to settle the power struggle, in other words, the military, the ultimate force finally got involved in the resolution of the power struggle. Having manipulated all the other ethnic nationalities, two fronts had emerged in the power struggle. By the end of 1965, two coups were on the offing –
1. The Nigerian National Alliance (NNA) led by the Northern People’s Congress (NPC) of the Sardauna of Sokoto in alliance with the National Democratic Party (NDP) led by Chief S. L. Akintola planned for a final settlement of the power struggle by using the military.
2. The young army officers driven by the patriotic pan-Africanist ideology of democratic socialism and in sympathy with Chief Awolowo seized the initiative and staged a pre-emptive coup early on 15th January 1966. It must be stated for the sake of objectivity, that the sympathy of the coup led by Major Kaduna Chukwuma Nzeogwu was not for Igbo hegemony, rather, according to their records and testimony, their sympathy was for Chief Awolowo not as leader of the other broad alliance, the United People’s Grand Alliance (UPGA) but their sympathy was for him as an individual, If it was otherwise, they could not have killed Chief Festus Okotieboh, one of the major kingpins of UPGA.
The military leaders killed in the January 15th, 1966 coup were killed because they were regarded as the leaders of the alternative military coup which was to have taken place on January 17th, 1966.
2.11 The Nigerian Military and full-blown Fulani Hegemony.
Between January 15, 1966 and October 1999, Nigeria was ruled by the Military. With the exception of the six months of Ironsi regime, the rest were under the Northern Military leaders (Gowon, Buhari, Babangida, Abacha and Abubakar). Within this period, the Federal Republic of Nigeria was radically restructured to advance the hegemony of the North.
During this period there was the politico-intellectual mafia based in Kaduna called the Kaduna Mafia. This was the intellectual backbone of the of the Fulani power machinery. Dr. Bala Takaya wrote a book on the operations of this Mafia but the book was seized by the military and all copies confiscated.
Under the reign of the Northern military, Nigeria went from three regions (one in the North and two in the South) to what it is today, namely, 36 states and the Abuja Federal Capital Territory – (nineteen plus Abuja in the North and seventeen in the South). This translated to 20 States in the North and 17 in the South
In addition to this, they created a lob-sided Local Government Structure with a total of 774 Local Governments. Out of this, the North has 428 Local Governments, while the South has 346. These all have huge implications for Revenue and Power–sharing between the North and the South.
As we noted above, The situation today is that the Federal Republic of Nigeria is under the firm grip of the Fulani hegemony. The Fulani is in full control of the Nigerian Military, all Security Forces (Intelligence and the Police) the Executive, the Legislature, the Judiciary, the Central Bank, and Currency, Immigration and Customs, the Oil Industry, Agriculture, Education and all major institutions of the State. President Mohammadu Buhari has ensured absolute control of these organs of the state by the Fulani Moslems.
3.0 THE PREDICAMENT OF NDIGBO IN NIGERIA.
3.1 Roots and State of Igbo Predicament in Nigeria.
To understand the plight of Ndigbo in Nigeria one has to understand the history of the formation and development of Nigeria as we have tried to sketch above. What is more, one has to understand the peculiar place of Ndigbo in the course of that history.
Given this background one is fully armed to appreciate the nature and intensity of the longing for freedom by Ndigbo, nay by other nationalities that have suffered tremendously under the arrogant yoke of Fulani Moslem domination.
Indeed, the predicament of Ndigbo since the Amalgamation of 1914 and up to today clearly show –
i. That there has been a problem of Igbo integration in Nigeria.
ii. As a people, the Igbos are like an endangered species in the Nigerian Federation. This is what is today called the Igbo Question or the Igbo Predicament in Nigeria.
iii. The Igbo society, by its socio-cultural character, is a highly development-oriented society, but the situation within the Nigerian Federation seriously retards her development potential.
iv. The political conditions in Nigeria are grossly antithetical to the egalitarian/republican, democratic and development-oriented nature of the Igbo society.
v. The cumulative effects of the above are a state of persistent and explosive physical, moral, political, socio-economic, religiousspiritual and psychological pressures on the peoples of Igbo origin in Nigeria. This has often taken the form of gruesome pogrom, murder, punitive neglect and denial of fundamental social and human tights. The 1967-70 Biafra War and the attendant pogrom against the Ndigbo with the Asaba massacre during when 2000 unarmed innocent men and young people were shot and buried in a mass grave, as its high watermark. (Below are cited some of the incidents of unprovoked attack and killings of Ndigbo in Nigeria).
vi. The capacity of the Igbo nation to overcome its present predicament in Nigeria through democratic methods is highly circumscribed given the feudal, anti-Christian and undemocratic nature of the Nigerian Federal Republic, and the vulnerability of Igbo leadership, some of whom were reared by the Fulani feudal lords.
3.2 Ndigbo and the Burden of History.
The Igbo nation has, indeed, continued to carry the burden of survival and political relevance since the 1994 Amalgamation by the British which, as we have clearly shown above, brought together various nationalities, distinct in their history, language,
culture, institutions and values just as the English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Greek, etc, are to one another.
3.21 The Origin of Igbo phobia in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Radical opposition of Ndigbo to British Colonialism It all began with the uncompromising nature of the stiff and fierce Igbo resistance against British colonial penetration of Alaigbo (1902-8); the resistance of Igbo women during the Aba Women Resistance Movement in 1929 and the militant nationalist movement in Nigeria and the entire African continent in which Igbo leaders played prominent roles, etc.; these were the root-causes of British antagonism to the Igbos in Nigeria, and incitement against them as part of the British policy of “divide-andrule”
Consequently, in order to isolate Ndigbo in the Nigerian Federation, the British created a Federal structure within which Ndigbo became politically marginalized and at the same time antagonized with their neighbors. During this era of colonial history in Africa, the British and other European powers were very antagonistic to those who stood on the way against colonial domination. The Kwame Nkrumahs, Lumumbas and to a different extent Dr Azikiwe were intensely loathed and harassed by the colonial powers. Lumumba himself was consequently killed and Dr. Kwame Nkrumah was deposed by a neo-colonial military and he later died in exile.
3.22 Organized attacks against Ndigbo as a War of Attrition.
The series of massacre of Ndigbo in Nigeria from the forties up to the Nigeria-Biafra war which continued in greater intensity with the Boko Haram insurgency that killed thousands of Umuigbo, drove millions of them down to their Southern ancestral homes and further pursued and killed; with their women and daughters raped by armed Fulani herdsmen, etc, are the serial sordid experiences of Ndigbo as a result of the seed of intense hatred sowed by the forces of colonialism and their agents in Nigeria . 3.23 Fulani Ambition to make Nigeria an Estate of their forefathers. The Fulani have never made secret of their intension to dominate the entre territory of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Ndigbo appear to be their greatest obstacles and the Fulani has never hidden their hatred for Ndigbo.
The Igbo experiences under the present Buhari regime is only an echo of the Fulani intention to annihilate and occupy Alaigbo as a prelude to occupying the entire territory.
3.24 Ndigbo have remained an Endangered species in the Fulani dominated Federation of Nigeria.
All these sordid experiences of Ndigbo have been compounded by the state of economic and social ruin of Alaigbo due to refusal to reconstruct or develop Alaigbo after the Biafra war; the punitive economic and political measures that have virtually ruined the economy of Alaigbo, brought internal disharmony in Igbo-land and ruin to such major cities as Onitsha, Aba and Port Harcourt that were once the economic and social pride of West African and the entire African continent; the flight of Igbo business and capital outside Igbo land, etc; the deliberate punitive boundary adjustment created to dismember Alaigbo, assign parts of their territory to other zones and land-lock their territory; all these constitute the state of helplessness of a nation that has been under siege since the beginning of the last century; and this is a nation whose friendly and enterprising citizens are all over the Nigerian Federation helping to develop different parts of Nigeria; a nation whose citizens have been made vulnerable to constant physical massacre, religious, political and social marginalization, manipulation and harassment.
3.25 The Biafra War. We should also emphasize that the Biafra war is a nodal point in this sordid experiences of Ndigbo in Nigeria.
In that war, and the massacres that preceded it, Ndigbo lost over three (3) million innocent civilians and soldiers; their territory devastated, millions of children and old people died of malnutrition (kwashiokor), many of those airlifted overseas thanks to the humanity of the morally and spiritually-inspired mankind, are still there. Indeed; some non-Igbos burnt themselves in protest against man’s inhumanity to man.
One would have thought that after 50 years of the Biafra pogrom the forces in control of Nigeria would relent and allow Ndigbo to be, No, today under President Buhari, they have gone berserk terrorizing and killing other ethnic nationalities, who are today facing their own music of fire and brimstone and are now searching for a way out of this Golgotha. The movement of total islamization and ethnic cleansing targeted at the entire Federation has become like a great monster supervised by the Fulani controlled security forces.
3.25 Ndigbo: Victims of Serial Massacre and Genocide in Nigeria.
For the record, several recent test-runs involving bloody attacks on Igbo Villages in Anambra, Imo, Abia, Ebonyi and other parts of Enugu State, all the States in Eastern Nigeria have been conducted by the Fulani insurgents without any repercussions. What do you think such mindless slaughter of Igbos were meant for? They were not the real thing planned for Igbo annihilation. Let us go down memory lane to examine such massacres of Ndigbo by those who insist that Ndigbo must live in the same country with them: –
i. In Jos Northern Nigeria,1945, there was massacre of Igbos.
ii. There as genocide against Igbos in Kano in 1953.
iii. 1966 pogroms- over 60,000 civilians were killed in different parts of Northern Nigeria.
iv. May 29th 1967- over 200,000 soldiers and civilians of Igbo origin were killed in different parts of Northern Nigeria.
v. 1967-70 – over 3,100,000 killed during the bloody Biafra war (including the Asaba Genocide, during when over 2000 unarmed men and youth slaughtered and buried in a mass grave.
vi. Another riot occurred in Kano 1980. Many Igbos were killed and billions of their property destroyed.
vii. There were series of massacre of Igbos in Maiduguri 1982
viii. Jimeta 1984
ix. Gombe 1985
x. Zaria 1987
xi. Kaduna & Kafanchan 1991
xii. Bauchi & Katsina 1991
xiii. Kano 1991
xiv. Zangon-Kataf 1992
xv. Funtua 1993
xvi. Kano again in 1994
xvii. Kaduna 2000
xviii. Kaduna 2001
xix. Maiduguri 2001
xx. Jos Maiden Crisis-September 2001
xxi. Kaduna 2002
xxii. Jos-November 2008
xxiii. Beheading of Gideon Akaluka in December of 1995 in a Police Station in Kano.
xxiv. Post-April 2011 Presidential Election: 10 youth-corps men & women and numerous citizens murdered because a Christian Southerner was elected President against a Moslem Northerner.
xxv. Christmas Eve Riot in Jos in 2010
xxvi. Madalla Christmas day bombing in 2011
xxvii. Mubi January 6, 2012.
xxviii. Thousands of Igbo killings caused by Boko Haram (which of course has the full backing of the northern elites). We should also include the more recent cases of –
xxix. Nimbo, Enugu Massacre, 2016by Fulani Herdsmen armed with sophisticated weapons.
xxx. Similar massacre of unarmed civilians in Awgu Enugu in 2016
xxxi. Another massacre in Abia in 2016 by Fulani Herdsmen.
xxxii. Beheading of a 74-year old Mrs. Bridget Agbahume of Ebonyi State. The killers of Bridget were released on the orders of the Governor of Kano State, Alhaji Abdulahi Umar Ganduje.
xxxiii. The killing of the Apo 6 (six Igbo youth) were brutally killed by the police; a case whose disposal and handling reveal much about the federal security agents and their hate or non-value for the Igbo.
xxxiv. In late January, 2013, more than 50 dead bodies were seen floating on Ezu River in Anambra State. These bodies were later identified as remains of some missing MASSOB members who were taken away from a meeting venue in Anambra State.
xxxv. In 2016 a university graduate farmer, Ndubuisi Uzoma, was beheaded in his farm at Iddo community along the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Road, Abuja by Fulani herdsmen. His headless corpse was found in the pool of his blood on a Sunday by his relations, who went in search of him when he failed to return from the farm.
xxxvi. Massacre of unarmed Self-determination agitating IPOB and MASSOB members in Onitsha, Asaba, Nkpor, Oba and Aba by combined Security forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
xxxvii. This year, the Arewa (Fulani) youth issued Quit Notice to all Igbos living in the Northern part of Nigeria to leave the Region before October 1, 2017. Global outcry prevented the intended attack and killing of Igbos.
xxxviii. This Quit Notice prompted petitions which ADF and some other organizations sent to the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the United States of America Congress, requesting for protection.
xxxix. What followed next was the invasion of Alaigbo by the Nigerian Army in what it called OPERATION PYTHON DANCE, during when many unarmed youth, members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) Movement were tortured and killed in most inhuman conditions. The home of their leader, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu was sacked by soldiers; up till today nothing has been heard about their leader and his parents.
xl. In 1999, President Olusegun Obasanjo set up The Human Rights Violations Investigation Committee under the Chairmanship of Justice Chukwudifu Oputa. Ohanaze Ndigbo submitted a Memorandum detailing series of atrocities and deprivations against Ndigbo. That Panel was spurned by the former Military President Ibrahim Babangida and other former Military leaders mainly of Northern origin.
4. THE INTENSIFIED AGITATION FOR THE RESTORATION OF THE REPUBLIC OF BIAFRA.
By the beginning of the twentieth Century the predicament of Ndigbo and their frustration with every aspect of their existence in Nigeria had reached such a boiling point that there was renewed agitation for the restoration of the Republic of Biafra.
i. In 1999, the Movement for the Restoration of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) was set up.
ii. In 2012, some Igbo elders went to court to seek the separation of Alaigbo under the aegis of Biafra from the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The case has been on at the Federal High Court, Owerri since 2012. Among the Igbo elders who instituted this case are His Majesty, Justice Eze Ozobu, former President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Chairman of Enugu State Council of Traditional Rulers; Dr. Dozie Ikedidfe, former Commissioner in the East Central state and ex-President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, General Achuzie, an outstanding soldier who fought during the Biafra war, Bar Debe Ojukwu, son of the late Ikemba Nnewi, Chief Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, and others.
These elders went further to establish a Customary Government in the name of Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB). This is the original IPOB. Nnamdi Kanu was the Director of Radio Biafra set up under the auspices of this struggle. His unjustified arrest and detention raised the renewed agitation for Biafra to a higher and intensified level. His eloquence and strong-will has made him the rallying point for the younger generation who have rallied round the banner of IPOB Biafra.
iii. It was in the light of the above also that in March 2014 an International Colloquium was held in Enugu attended by over 2,500 Igbo intellectuals, pubic figures, traditional rulers, clergy, business men, women and youth from both home and in the Igbo Diaspora in such continents as the Americas, Australia, Europe, Asia and other countries of Africa. The Colloquium examined the Igbo Question in Nigeria Before, During and After the Biafra war, At the end of the Colloquium, it was decided to set up the Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF) to work with all our patriotic compatriots towards the survival and development of Alaigbo in view of the enormous challenges facing her in Nigeria. We vowed to work for the Rebirth and Development of Alaigbo so that she could become a major player in the Committee of Nations. So the recent upsurge in the agitation for Biafra is only the rising in crescendo of the struggle for self-determination of Ndigbo because they are rejected in Nigeria.
iv. It is therefore an act of deliberate distortion and diversion to call the renewed agitation for Biafra an act of the youth.
5.0 RESTRUCTURING OR OPTING OUT OF NIGERIA – WHAT ARE THE ISSUES?
5.1 From the pages of History.
In the light of the above, the question of the Way Forward for Ndigbo in Nigeria demands a correct sense of history as well as due appreciation of the uniqueness of the dangers they face in Nigeria today. 5.2 The Way Forward for Ndigbo – There` are two possible choices: – a. RESTRUCTURING THAT CREATES A NEW POLITICAL UNION – OR
b. A PEACEFUL DISSOLUTION of the Federation so that Ndigbo can build a Nation-state of their own!
5.3 RESTRUCTURING THAT CREATES A NEW POLITICAL UNION
Restructuring that creates a new political and socio-economic foundation for the continued co-existence of the various nationalities that make up the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
This is the only rational meaning of RESTRUCTURING that can ensure the survival of Ndigbo and at the same save Nigeria from tragic collapse in view of the prevailing political crises.
More than ever before, most of the Regions and nationalities in the Republic want to breathe an air of freedom, to control their political and socio-economic affairs and, where possible, maintain a form of peaceful union or association with their neighbors in the Republic. Let us consider these two alternatives: –
5.4 A PEACEFUL DISSOLUTION – of the Republic as was the case of the East African Federation, the old Yugoslavia, the Indian Federation, the Soviet Union, etc. If we do this, a number of independent nation-states emerge from the existing Federation, co-existing as autonomous and peaceful friendly neighbors. It will, no doubt, be possible that a new impulse will emerge to encourage a form of political and economic cooperation or union as has been the case with the European Union today. Let us take a close look at the two options: –
5.5 Proposition or Choice No One – Restructuring, What does Restructuring mean in the Nigerian context as of today?
After a careful and objective analysis of the persistent political and social crises in Nigeria and the level it has reached today, ADF is of the view that the only viable political union is the one based on certain social, cultural, religious, economic and political principles and values. It is only these that can guarantee the continued co-existence of the various nationalities in Nigeria in any peaceful political union.
These principles include the following: –
i. A Union of the willing and free peoples, totally devoid of masterslave relationship in the conduct of its affairs.
ii. It must be a Union anchored on the principles of
- Self-Determination of The Various Nationalities,
- Regional Autonomy,
- Freedom of the Component Regions to manage and control their Political Environment and Resources.
- Thus, it has to be a Union that guarantees the fundamental principles of Equality, Equity and Justice for the component nationalities and individuals who live under its authority.
- It must, therefore, be a Union not held together by force of arms, but through an equitable structure as well as a clearly-defined and collectively empowered Central Authority.
The Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF) would like to state quite categorically that no amount of military force can hold the Federal Republic of Nigeria together. Only the free choice of the people can. It is, however, possible for any mad-man in the mold of Hitler to think and insist otherwise.
5.6 Restructuring Nigeria as of today means more than Constitutional Amendment; It is beyond Constitutional Amendment.
i. What is needed to salvage the Federal Republic of Nigeria as it is today and prevent the looming crises from bursting into a civil war is more than a Constitutional Amendment and, therefore, cannot be left to the National Assembly and the Executive to handle or to decide what should be done.
ii. The ADF believes that the perennial crises in the Nigerian Federation, which has claimed the lives of millions of innocent people, particularly of the Igbo race, has, as of today, raised the question “which way Nigeria?” to unprecedented luminous level.
iii. Therefore, only the people themselves through a Special Political Conference of delegates specially elected for the purpose of providing an answer to the question, “Which Way Nigeria, to be or not to be?”
iv. Whatever possible answers they propose have to be put to the people in a Special Plebiscite or Referendum.
v. As said above, the ultimate two-related questions to be put the people now are :-
a. Whether we should continue to stay together in a common political union, i.e., in one country or To dissolve into our separate natural cultural and linguistic entities.
b. If we decide to continue to live together, then what type of political union will guarantee that we live under conditions of peace, human dignity and social progress? If, on the other hand, we decide to dissolve, how do we do this without war among peoples who should be living in peace as citizens of neighbor-states?
vi. In the light of the foregoing, we affirm that what is required today is either laying the foundations for a new political union or dissolving the Republic. This is beyond the powers of the present Legislature or Executive to decide or determine. Anybody who is looking in that direction or asking us to look in that direction is neither serious nor sincere. vii. What the National Assembly is doing by way of tinkering with the discredited 1999 Constitution of the Federation is simply robbing paraffin oil on a deep smelling cancerous would.
The Question of ‘Which Way Forward For Nigeria?’ must be returned to the People to Decide. Therefore, we wish to emphasize the absolute necessity now of a Political Conference of freely elected delegates by their constituents (units of ethnic nationalities).
In this regard, ADF holds the view that the proposed Political Conference has to go beyond the submission of the 2014 National Conference. The basic task of such a Political Conference is to provide answers to no 4 (v) above, namely, a. Should Nigeria continue to remain as one political union or b. Should Nigeria dissolve into its component Regions? The answer(s) which the elected delegates of the people provide should be submitted to the people for ratification in a Plebiscite or Referendum.
5,7 The Principle of Self-Determination! The foundation of any political union is based on the highest principle essential for the formation of any state, particularly a political federation. This is the fundamental principle of Self-Determination.
This is the principle that underlies the proposed Referendum or plebiscite. Thus, even after the General Plebiscite and in spite of its conclusion, any Ethnic Nationality, or Region that wishes to opt out of the Federation must indicate so after an agreed period of say a year or two years. Their choice should also be ascertained through a Plebiscite or Referendum conducted to ascertain whether that is the wish of the majority of their people or just the campaign of a minority of political agitators within the ethnic or region.
In other words, ADF believes that the Principle of Self-Determination is the key rational principle that should decide the relation between peoples of different ethnic nationalities. This should be the guiding principle in the case of the new Federal Republic of Nigeria as a Union of Autonomous Regions.
5.8 The so-called Indissolubility of the Nigerian Federation.
This is the sing-song of those who treat Nigeria either as their collective orchard or an estate of their forefathers and therefore regard the peoples of the various nationalities as their minions.
That is to say, Nigeria is indissoluble
- For those who have amassed so much wealth acquired through looted and stolen funds and resources of the people and have them hidden in international and local banks and investment institutions. Some even own palatial properties with values greater than the budget of the entire country.
- For those countries and their leaders who wish to perpetually control the natural resources of Nigeria, and in whose banks and financial institutions including real estate, Nigerian leaders and other looters hide their loots.
These are the people and countries desperate to keep the Federation as it is – a human Golgotha, an indissoluble political entity enjoying the peace of the graveyard1.
5.9 The Option of Opting Out of the Nigerian Federation.
The option of leaving Nigeria to build a separate country called either The Republic of Alaigbo or The Republic of Biafra is very strong among Ndigbo whether living in the present Nigerian Federation as well as those living in other parts of the world. It is an option no one can easily ignore. The extensive background discussed above demonstrate very clearly that there is great justification for that option.
It is not therefore, a matter of deciding for the people, especially if the decision is being made by those who have personal reasons to choose remaining in Nigeria.
6.0 PREVIOUS ATTEMPTS AT RESTRUCTURING AND WHY THEY FAILED.
6.1 Restructuring through Constitutional Amendments,
Previous attempts at Restructuring of Nigeria, mostly through Constitutional Amendments, have failed for three major reasons: – i. They failed to address the fundamental character of the Federation as a union of pre-colonial autonomous nationalities and what is needed to make such a political and economic union viable and stable.
ii. They did not derive from the will of the people being united in such a Federation.
iii. The political leaders who controlled the North, the Region which the British allocated the largest land mass and capped it up by manipulating the census to give it political majority and thus control of the emergent political union, the Region whose leaders subsequently used the Nigerian military under their control to further restructure the Federation to put it more firmly under what previously we use to refer to as Northern hegemony, (but the people of the Middle Belt and all the minorities living in the North now confirm that it has indeed been Fulani Moslem hegemony) This hegemonic power has consistently blocked any attempt to restructure and create a genuine federation with a democratic political order.
iv. In this way, those who control the Northern Region have maintained a political strangle-hold on the entire federation and enslaved the various ethnic nationalities under them They allow only restructuring that were promoted by their military leaders but oppose and nullify those that have attempted to promote meaningful reordering of the status quo.
6.12 Hegemonic Restructuring Versus Democratic Restructuring
In the current debate, we are therefore confronted by what is called Hegemonic Restructuring versus Democratic Restructuring. The doublespeak is obvious when we listen to their leaders talk about restructuring. They either oppose it or they affirm it. When they affirm Restructuring they mean to offer Hegemonic Restructuring, the type that offers Ndigbo such insincere carrots as Vice Presidency, an additional State, devolution of power, etc., etc.
When they oppose Restructuring they mean the type of Restructuring that will guarantee their minions political and economic equality and freedom, self-determination, regional autonomy, control over the security of their ancestral homes, their religion, their culture. etc. Only such restructuring that took place under Gowon, Murtala/Obasanjo, Babangida, and Abdusalem Abubakar were sustained. Even the restructuring that resulted from the 1994-5 Constitutional Conference in the time of Abacha was blocked and torpedoed by the Northern leaders. Similarly, the outcome of the National Conferences organized by Obasanjo and Jonathan were thrown into the trash can.
What went wrong with the restructuring under Obasanjo and Jonathan? In fact, we should equally ask ‘what was wrong with the outcome of the Abacha-sponsored National Conference of 1994-5?’
First and foremost, those Conferences produced results that radically altered the status quo and could have led to an opening of the democratic space to allow the dominated nationalities to breathe a little fresh air of democratic governance and freedom.
In the case of the 1994-5 National Conference under Abacha, the various nationalities were able to elect delegates that derived their mandate directly from the nationalities.
The end result of this process was obvious, namely, the Abacha National Conference produced results that largely had obvious democratic implications. The Hegemonic agenda was badly assaulted. But the forces of Hegemony were not done; they used General Abdulsalem Abubakar to finally overthrow the 1994-5 Draft Constitution that had an air of enhancing positive democratic development for the Federation.
Thus, in place of the 1995 Draft Constitution handed over to Abacha as the popular wish of majority of the people, they imposed the contraption called the 1999 Constitution.
What happened was that those conferences under Abacha, Obasanjo and Jonathan reached decision which would radically alter the entire structural equation.
6.3 Fulani Hegemony Firmly Rooted: Nigeria has indeed almost become the illusory Estate of the Fulani Progenitors.
But mark you, over the years, the Arewa hegemony has become so firmly rooted, so comprehensive and total that they control the entire political and social space of Nigeria. The last lap of the process of total conquest of the territory of the Federal republic of Nigeria is the ongoing desperate efforts at overrunning the entire geographical space of the Nigerian Federation, using the murderous armed Fulani herdsmen supported by the Nigerian security forces.
6.4 Why the demand by the Fulani to have the National Assembly to Handle the issue of Restructuring?
Since they are aware that the only platform on which their present campaign of total conquest can be politically challenged is a Political Conference where patriotic and nationalistic forces may prevail, they do not want anything pertaining to restructuring the Federation to be tabled again at a National Conference of the people, knowing fully well that the coalition of the forces of freedom in these areas will overwhelm them as before. Rather they want the National Assembly which they presently control to handle the issue of restructuring so as to produce the result they want.
Already serious mobilization of political forces is going on in order to influence the course of the steps they want to adopt. The main target in this campaign are the State Executives, Legislators, politicians and businessmen whom they can blackmail and manipulate and use them as agents to misrepresent the wishes of their people.
Why do the forces of hegemony insist that the issue of restructuring should be left to the National Assembly and not to the Political Conference of the people? – One, they can easily blackmail and manipulate the legislators to achieve their goal of keeping the system as it is. – Two, what happens in a Political Conference is that the forces of freedom are now dominant in the Regions of the South-East, SouthSouth, South-West, Middle-Belt, Southern Kaduna, etc. An alliance between them will definitely influence the outcome of such a Conference as happened in the time of Abacha, Obasanjo and Jonathan. These geo-political zones control over 70 % of the population of Nigeria. People in these zones are desperately eager to free themselves from Fulani domination. They are all yearning for equality and freedom.
The forces of hegemony would not mind if the issue of restructuring and the future of Nigeria are left in the hands of the Judiciary, the Military, the Police, the Security Agencies, Economic and Social Agencies and Institutions, the Federal Media and some handful of private media, elected Governors and Legislators, etc. The Arewa Fulani control the majority of these organs and institutions of state power. But they have lost over 75 % of the popular masses who are yearning for freedom and liberation from the hegemonic control and massacre by the Fulani and the institutions of the state under their control
6.5 Fallacy of Nigerian Federalism Restated.
In a recent submission one of the emerging leaders of ADF sent us the following note which eloquently summarizes what may be popularly referred to as how a fraudulent federalism is being promoted in Nigeria. According to him, in what we may call the artificial Nigerian Federation
“Federating nations which hitherto were thriving very well on their own, came together under duress, to become part of what is currently known as Nigeria”
However, Federalism truly defined and explained means the following:
- independent federating units come together to form a Federation.
- these federating units cede a portion of their powers and responsibilities to the central government.
- the federating units provide the resources to run the services ceded to the central government.
- the federating units maintain their autonomy to run their own affairs without let or hindrance, outside those services or responsibilities they have collectively ceded to the central government.
But in Nigeria, it is now the central government that is creating the federating units, it has collected all the resources and decides on what or what not to give the federating units. Thereby creating a Unitary system of government; a rogue system imposed by the Military to suit their selfish ends. This is a fundamental problem.
This is the cause of all the agitations and chaos. Enough is enough because Nigerians have now said that the gloves are off. (Attorney Austin Okeke Writing from South Africa).
6.6 The monstrous forces of Hegemony is on rampage.
– The chickens have come home to roost.
– Things Fall Apart and the Artificial Center can no longer hold.
– Utam Abala Ohia The Monster is on rampage
– the forces of Ethnic and Religious cleansing have been let loose
– All the Victims of this hegemony are now astir
– Songs of freedom is now raging all over the Federation.
7.0 STANDPOINT OF ALAIGBO DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION (ADF)
As a patriotic organization of patriotic citizens from all parts of Alaigbo – the Igbo-speaking Areas of Nigeria – Eastern Igbo, Western Igbo, Southern Igbo and other areas that speak various Igbo dialects and practice different variations of Igbo culture, and after careful study of the Igbo Predicament in Nigeria, the series of pogroms and genocide of Ndigbo, before, during and after Biafra, including the Asaba Massacre of innocent citizens and humiliation of our unarmed youth and discretion of our women demonstrating peacefully against the slaughter of their children, it is our conviction that Ndigbo, at this point in their history can only accept either of two possible political relations with the rest of Nigerian. These are – i. Alaigbo to exist as an Autonomous Region in a new political union with their neighbors in Nigeria. OR ii. To opt out of Nigeria as an Autonomous Republic.
This position have been arrived at as a result of the circumstances stated above. ADF would like to reassure herself that these two alternatives represent alternative desires of our people through two steps, namely Opinion Poll and Referendum.
The question of which direction the Ndigbo want to go at this juncture in their history is the number one question that we, as a patriotic organization, with men of global and national experience, have painfully been seeking answer to.
We are aware that various groups including major stakeholder in Alaigbo (Governors, Legislators, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF), IPOB, etc.) have been advocating views which they consider as what the Igbos want. Because these views are somewhat divergent, we must take urgent steps to have evidence to place before our people, other Nigerians and the global community as to what our people really want.
Therefore, ADF proposes an empirical method that could enable us to speak more confidently and authoritatively on what the Igbos – our people – want. In this regard, ADF proposes the following two steps –
A. An Opinion Poll – conducted with utmost respect for scientific evidence and truth. This will enable us to ascertain, with high probability (rather than conjecture) of the wishes of Ndigbo globally, both at home and in the Igbo diaspora.
This exercise would provide us as well as those who share our views the basis to speak authoritatively and confidently on behalf of our people. Thus, it would enable us to answer the question President Buhari posed in his Aljazeera interview when he asked “What do the Igbos want? with a high level of authority.”
B. A Plebiscite or Referendum. The Plebiscite or Referendum should be conducted either through the machinery set up by Igbo Stakeholders and pan-Igbo organizations or by the Federal Government of Nigeria in conjunction with the International Community and Igbo leadership institutions.
It is not, indeed, possible for anyone or any people to believe that they can exterminate the entire Igbo race because they are demanding their fundamental rights of freedom, security, control of their lives and meaningful existence. Ndigbo want to leave at peace with our neighbors and co-operate with them in assuring for ourselves and our neighbors’ security, social and economic progress.
8. ADF PROPOSAL
NIGERIA TO BE RECONSTITUTED AS A FEDERAL UNION OF AUTONOMOUS REGIONS.
Given the background of the chequiered history of Nigeria and the genocidal experiences of the citizens of Alaigbo, including subjugation and denial of fundamental political and economic rights, punitive measures, dismemberment of her territory to render her landlocked without sea ports, functional airports and motorable roads, etc. Ndigbo want a political and economic system that would enable them to take control of their physical, socio-economic and political environment, Consequently the Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF) proposes as follows with respect to the First of Two Options: –
A. The Option of Remaining part of a Political Union, otherwise to be addressed and with the rest of Nigeria.
Nigeria to be Reconstituted as A Federal Union of Autonomous Regions.
- Nigeria is to be Reconstituted as a FEDERAL UNION OF AUTONOMOUS REGIONS.
The Union shall be held together by the hallowed principle of SelfDetermination. In other words, Nigeria becomes a Country in which all the Autonomous Regions have freely chosen to live together. In other words, Nigeria is not a Federal Union created by Conquest or Annexation.
- Therefore, any member Autonomous Region shall be free to opt out of the Union if it so wishes.
- Federal Union Government
i. There shall be A Federal Union Government which is the Central Authority of the Federal Union consisting of
a). A Federal Union Executive Council.
b). A Federal Union Bi-cameral Legislature – A Union Congress.
c). A Federal Defense Council
d). A Federal Supreme Court (Responsible for Constitutional issues)
e). Institutions in charge of Common Services of the Federal Union
4. Powers of the Union Government shall be as delegated to it as agreed collectively by the Autonomous Regions, provided that it shall be confined principally to
i. Defense as constitutionally defined, provided that the Military shall not be committed to any operation without the decision of the Defense Council and that such decision receives unanimous agreement of all the Autonomous Unions.
ii. Foreign Affairs as limited by the powers of the Autonomous Regions to establish consulates, seek and attract foreign investment for the development of each respective Region.
iv. Central Bank
5. There shall be Common Services Agencies as may be agreed by all the Autonomous Regions.
6. The Management, staffing and operations of the Common Services Agencies shall reflect the Union Character, in terms of equitable representation.
7. The Federal Union Government shall have a President and such number of VicePresidents as there are Autonomous Regions,
8. The office of the President shall rotate among the Autonomous Regions every four years in such a way that no Autonomous Region shall produce a President a second time until all the other Autonomous Regions have produced a President.
9. There shall be a Uni-cameral Union Legislative Assembly (the Union Congress) responsible for law-making.
10. The Union Legislative Bodies shall be composed of such number of representatives of the Autonomous Regions according to their respective population.
11. The Armed Forces of the Federal Union There shall be a Union Defense Council made up of
i. The President as Chairman and the Vice Presidents.
ii. The Prime Ministers of the various Autonomous Regions
iii. Union Defense Minister, iv. The Chief of the Union Defense Council.
v. The Defense Ministers of all the Autonomous Regions.
vi. Military installations, defense establishments, appointment and promotions within the armed forces shall reflect the Union Character.
12. Judicial System
i. There shall be Federal Union Supreme Court responsible for Constitutional matters.
ii. There shall be Regional Courts, Courts of Appeal and Supreme Courts handling all cases within each Region.
13. AUTONOMOUS REGIONS
i. An Autonomous Region is defined as a geo-political territory made up of one ethnic nationality or a number of ethnic nationalities that have, in accordance with the principle of self-determination, agreed to stay together as one Autonomous Region.
ii. Each Autonomous Region to answer whatever name the people wish to adopt.
iii. Each Autonomous Region to have its own Constitution, Anthem and Flag.
iv. Each Autonomous Region shall have the freedom to democratically reorder its internal structures which shall be reflected in its Constitution.
v. The Autonomous Union shall have a Prime Minister as Head of Government of the Autonomous Region. There shall also be a Deputy Prime Minister.
vi. There shall be a Council of Ministers for the management of the affairs of the Autonomous Region.
vii. There shall be a Unicameral Regional Legislative Council.
14. States in an Autonomous Region
viii. There shall be State Governments provided that the States as presently composed shall be guaranteed their identity and governmental structures.
ix. New States shall be created provided that no State shall be created unless through a Plebiscite.
x. Each State shall be responsible for the creation of Local Governments within its territory and defining their constitutional status and responsibilities,
xi. The choice of membership of any Autonomous Region by any nationality shall be determined by the principle of Self-determination provided that members of each nationality shall be encouraged to stay in the same Autonomous Region.
xii. All territorial claims shall be settled by Plebiscite or Referendum.
xiii. Each Autonomous Region shall be in charge of the natural and mineral resources, including VAT and other forms of taxation generated within its geo-political space.
xiv. Each Autonomous Region to be Self-governing as far as control of its Security and Resources are concerned
xv. The Continental Shelf of an Autonomous Region shall be deemed as part of the Autonomous Region. This is consistent with international law which defines the Continental shelf as a seaward extension of the land of the coastal state,
xvi. The income and resources generated in each Autonomous Region shall be shared as follow: – a. The Union Government 20% b. The Autonomous Region 30% c. The State 50%
xvii. Protection of legitimately acquired individual and collective property in each Region by citizens of other Regions.
xviii. Each Autonomous Region shall have control over its Union Guard, Police, Para-military and Security Agencies including the Police, Civil Service, Judiciary, Education, Agriculture, Land, Transportation, Customs, etc.
xix. All Autonomous Regions shall enter into a national treaty to Defend the Country in the case of aggression.
xx. The military shall not be used to settle internal disputes within the Union.
xxi. The Union Government in collaboration with the Governments of the Autonomous Regions shall seek the assistance of the United Nations to conduct fresh census in order to resolve any controversies regarding the population of Nigeria and its component Autonomous Regions; and Census data shall contain parameters and characteristics of the ethnic composition of both country and all the Autonomous Regions.
B. THE ALTERNATIVE OPTION
B.1 The Option of Freedom from Slavery. Instead of Staying in the Nigerian Federation under the present conditions analogous to conquered peoples, whose lives don’t count, slaves deprived of fundamental rights to life and property, Ndigbo would Opt out of the Nigerian Federation and establish
- The Republic of Alaigbo or
- The Republic of Biafra.
B.2 The new Republic shall seek to embrace all parts of Alaigbo, that is to say,
– the Igbo-speaking Areas of Nigeria
– Eastern Igbo, Western Igbo, Southern Igbo and other areas that speak various Igbo dialects and practice different variations of Igbo culture.
B.3 The Affairs of the New REPUBLIC OF ALAIGBO OR BIAFRA shall be conducted in accordance with the basic principles freedom, equity and justice in accordance with the principles of Self determination and self-reliance, respect for of the fundamental principles of her civilization; Democratic Republicanism, her Christian faith and respect for international law and fundamental human rights. It shall respect the culture and religion of her neighbors, protect their legitimately acquired property and investment in our land.
B.4 Any other Nationality opting to co-exist with Ndigbo as citizens of the Independent Republic of Republic of Alaigbo or Biafra shall be guaranteed Equality, Equity and Justice based on the principles of democratic political participation and representation, equitable power and resource sharing based on the principles of proportional representation in the key organs of the State such as Executive, Legislative, Judiciary, Military, Security Forces, Bureaucracy, Diplomatic Service, Economic institutions, etc.
After deep and strategic reflection on the history, national character of Ndigbo as well as the present state of the global community, ADF is fully consciousness of the need for Alaigbo to maintain very cordial relationship with members of the international community including her erstwhile colonial master, Great Britain. Fully conscious of the fact that Alaigbo is a Christian and Democratic society, and above all, that her citizens are global citizens who live in several parts of the global community, Ndigbo shall seek to maintain political and economic friendship and cooperation with all countries who respect her Democratic Culture and Christian values. Alaigbo expect her citizens to remain law-abiding inhabitants of their host communities.
PROF. T. UZODINMA NWALA
PROF. NATH. ANIEKWU ADF
DECEMBER 21, 2017