Self-determination: Why constitutional amendment can’t restructure Nigeria

(Being an Open Memorandum by the Lower Niger Congress to the “South-East Restructuring Summit” in Awka slated for May 21, 2018 by Ohanaeze. This Revised Memorandum was first issued March 7, 2018 during the botched attempt to foist a rejected “Igbo Position” by agents of One-Nigeria)

As a General Caveat, let me posit upfront that all the demands for the Restructuring of Nigeria are fueled by the Self-Determination desires of the Constituent Components of Nigeria.

Let me also posit that “Restructuring” as being currently canvassed, basically means the Reconfiguration and Reconstruction of the Constitutional Architecture of Nigeria to revert it to the Federation it was designed to be at inception.

Accordingly, it follows that Restructuring is not mutually exclusive with Self-Determination, rather the former is one of the means of attaining the latter.

It also goes without saying that “Restructuring ” may deliver varying degrees of Autonomy, to the Constituent Components of Nigeria, ranging from a Federation, a Confederation or a Non-Federation depending of when and how it is undertaken, and more importantly, what quantum of goodwill to Federate, remains amongst the entrapped Constituent Components of the failed Lugardian experiment of 1914, tagged “Nigeria.”

The crux of the disputations between the proponents of “Restructuring” in Eastern Nigeria and the proponents of “Self-Determination” has to do with the Process by which the fundamental Constitutional Reconfiguration envisaged by each side will be enacted.

The “Restructuring” Proponents are canvassing a Process that premise the changes they seek upon Amendments to the 1999 Constitution, while the Self-Determination proponents insist that the changes being sought cannot be subjected to any Process that depends on Amendments to the 1999 Constitution as that leaves the entire transaction (and so the fate of the Peoples of Eastern Nigeria), in the hands of the same Caliphate-led “rest of Nigeria” which imposed the said Master-Servant Constitution of Nigeria 1999 and which constitute the contrived Majority at the National Assembly, as wrought by the forces that imposed that 1999 Constitution to reduce the Igbo to the negligible Political Minority it has become, especially in the National Assembly.
(Just like seeking to cure Apartheid by Amendments, in a Boers-controlled Parliament, back in the day).

It is within this context, that what may be reckoned by the untrained eye as a minor procedural difference to the same destination of Igbo redemption, is now assuming the status of an irreconcilable disagreement, between the “Restructurists” and the “Self-Determinists” of Eastern Nigeria.

This irreconcilable difference has already claimed it’s first heavy casualty, in the form of the recently botched Ohanaeze attempt, (via a Committee it set up), to railroad the Igbo into the Restructuring-by-Amendments blind alley.

In towing the Restructuring-1st line it currently does, I am afraid Nzuko Umunna is setting itself up next in line after Ohanaeze on the sure path to perdition and this would be most unfortunate.

Unless a Referendum in Eastern Nigeria proves otherwise, it is the contention of the LNC, as it is of ADF and now backed by the recent Opinion Poll on the subject commissioned by the GIA, that the overwhelming majority of the Igbo Populace, is desirous of Self-Determination from a Nigeria that has not only failed them, but has become a toxic liability, locking down their future and sprinkling their blood all over again for sport, after the 1967-1970 episode that consumed 3.5 million of our kith and kin in the killing fields the World called “Biafra.”

A little historical background to this Self-Determination cum Restructuring Debate will help guide the younger generation reading this.

The ABURI Sovereign Conference and the resultant ACORD of January 1967, was a Demand by Eastern Nigeria, and a Commitment by the rest of Nigeria, to Restructure the then flailing Federation of Nigeria, back to being a proper Federation.

However, upon return from Ghana, the rest of Nigeria reneged on the ABURI ACCORD which expressly ruled out the use of force by any side in the resolution of the Constitutional dispute that had arisen from the events of 1966, and went on the deploy massive force, in genocidal proportions, 1967-1970, to compel the return of the breakaway Eastern Region to the Nigeria Union, by Conquest.

Biafran Currency was confiscated from the embattled Easterners; Their Properties were declared Abandoned and Confiscated. The Monies confiscated from them were warehoused by the then Finance Minister and used to drive the Indigenization Decrees of the early 1970s, just to ensure the complete pauperization of the East.

A thick glass ceiling was placed on the Easterners in the Public Service, Military and other opportunity spheres of the the Federation of Nigeria which had become a Master-Servant reality for the East, post-war.

Between 1975 and 1999, the all-conquering One-Nigeria Alliance in the 1967-1970 War, imposed the 1979/1999 Constitutions by which the Master-Servant terms of the current Nigerian State was codified and made permanent.

This vice-grip Constitutional subjugation and Policy suppression of Eastern Nigeria, were succinctly encapsulated by the words of Lamido Sanusi Lamido, the immediate past Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and now the Emir of Kano, when in 1999, he declared at a Public Lecture, that:

“The Northern Bourgeoisie and the Yoruba Bourgeoisie have conspired to keep the Igbo out of the scheme of things. They have been defeated in war, rendered paupers by monetary policy fiat, their properties declared abandoned and confiscated, kept out of strategic public sector appointments, and deprived of public services. The rest of the Country forced them to remain in Nigeria and has continued to deny them equity. Our present Political Leaders have no sense of history. There is a new Igbo man who was not born in 1966 and neither knows nor cares about Nzeogwu and Ojukwu. There are Igbo men on the streets who were never Biafrans. They were born Nigerians and are Nigerians, but suffer because of the actions of earlier generations. They would soon decide that it is better to fight their own war and maybe find an honourable peace than to remain in this contemptible state in perpetuity. The Northern Bourgeoisie and the Yoruba Bourgeoisie have exacted their pound of flesh from the Igbo. For one Sardauna, one Tafawa Balewa, one Akintola and one Okotie-Eboh, hundreds of thousands have died and suffered. If this issue is not addressed immediately, no Conference will solve Nigeria’s problems.”
(Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, at a Public Lecture titled, “Issues in Restructuring Corporate Nigeria” 11th September, 1999, at Arewa House Kaduna).

Nearly 50 years after the issues tackled in Aburi, which degenerated to the 1967-1970 War, and which remain the basis of the punitive Constitutional and Policy Impositions against the East, the younger generation of Eastern Nigeria, roused up themselves and took up the gauntlet, to cast off the yoke of enslavement imposed upon the East by the rest of Nigeria.

This younger generation insists on the exercise of the Universal Right to Self-Determination by Eastern Nigeria.

In this push towards Self-Determination in Eastern Nigeria, there is a largely uncharted, rambunctious Biafra-or-Death Campaign, championed by the IPOB. There is the more orderly MASSOB. Both seek what they describe as “Biafra Restoration” and “Biafra Actualization” respectively.

But there is also the Lower Niger Congress (LNC) which has in place, a Structured, Methodological Template, designed to deliver the Self-Determination Objective of the Territory via a Referendum whilst isolating and incapacitating the belligerent Caliphate via the Consensus of the endangered and embattled rest of Nigeria.

It is pertinent to note that both MASSOB and the genuine Biafra Agitation wing of the IPOB, already adopted the LNC Referendum Template, publicly)

Mindful of the history of the brutal dealings of Nigeria with its Eastern Region over the last six decades, the LNC initiated an Outreach arm called the Movement for New Nigeria, MNN, by which it neutralized and replaced 1967 Alliance that came against the Eastern Region.

The success of this MNN Alliance Outreach Strategy, initiated since 2003, is evidenced by the current Consensus of the Non-Caliphate rest of Nigeria, which not only isolates and quarantines the belligerent 12-State Feudalist, Sharia Contiguity, BUT ALSO COMPLETELY SHUTS OUT THE OPTION OF THE KIND OF 1967-1970 VIOLENCE FROM THE TABLE despite the state power and instruments of coercion, official and unofficial, currently in the hands of Nigeria’s New Minority, the Caliphate.

Bottom-line is: No War is required today, to re-establish and restore the inalienable Right to Self-Determination for Eastern Nigeria. (Call it Independence if you so prefer).

We also challenge the proponents of Restructuring to table what new lever and Strategy they have in their hands, to compel a better response or even behavior, by the arrogant, recalcitrant Caliphate and to table what their answers are to unprovoked Southward violent sweep of the same Caliphate in an undisguised CONQUEST and COLONIZATION Campaign; what their answers are to the Caliphate-imposed Sharia that require its adherents to kill the “infidel”; to the Feudalist World View of the Caliphate which which holds that all men are not born equal or to the CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS imposed on the already fractured Union of Nigeria by these debilitating impositions and choices of the Caliphate which are foisted upon rest of Nigeria by the Unitarian Constitutional Model which render the Federation of Nigeria totally unworkable?.

If they have none, the least they can do is to avoid stranding in the way of the Self-Determination drivers and machinery, rather than the endless
Scaremongering and Warmongering, which are are the jaded tactics of a totally defeated enemy.

The tragedy is that most of Eastern Nigeria Thought-Leaders do not seem to understand the meaning of State Demise and so they continue to invest emotions and hope on the carcass of a dead Nigerian Federation which passed on since 1967.

Any Proposition of “Restructuring” that does not begin with the wholesale jettisoning of the worse-than-apartheid 1999 Constitution as exemplified by the Ibadan Declaration of September 2017, is in service of the Caliphate One-Nigeria and in direct disservice to the manifest Self-Determination desires and quest of the Peoples Eastern Nigeria who now seek a Referendum to decide their future.

Tony Nnadi, LNC Secretary General

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