The basic causes for the clamoring of Biafra and Oduduwa republics were results of injustice and unfairness. Consequently, if we must talk on how to kill the agitations, we must first briefly look at the foundations on which this injustice stands because the doctrine of the maxim of equity states that one who goes to equity must go with clean hands.
It is a common historical knowledge that the amalgamation of all the nations British people invaded as a union in 1914 was forcefully done without the consent of the component units. It was the colonial master’s idea solely for the British interests. History also recorded that all the Nigerian constitutions prior to independence – Clifford’s Constitution of 1922, Richard’s Constitution of 1946, Macpherson’s Constitution of 1951 and Lyttleton’s constitution of 1954 – were never from Nigerians. It is also on record that the constitution we are presently using is really not written by Nigerians with people’s mandate to do so, but rather by a few privileged military officers who only were highly qualified as ethnic leaders considering the one-sided book they wrote as a statute. It is equally of importance to note that Nigeria would have had independence before 1960, but it was shifted and negotiated with the influence of the British colonists to be in 1960 because the northerners would not have been ready before then.
Once more, records available show that in exception of Major General Aguiyi Ironsi’s 194 days as military head of state, Gen. Olusegun Obasango’s 11 years leadership – three (3) years as a military dictator and eight (8) years as a civilian president – and Dr. Goodluck Jonathan’s five (5) years as a civilian president every other Nigerian leader since the independence in October 1960 has continued to come from the north. Mathematically, for almost 62 years existence of Nigeria as an independent nation the entire south (south-west, south-east and south-south) has had only about 16 years at the helm of affairs while the north at the end of Buhari’s regime would have already had more than 46 years. Now within the political regions in the south, while the south west has had good 11 solid years through Obasanjo, south-south five (5) years via Jonathan, the people from the eastern part of the country – the Igbos – are conspicuously missing except the merely 194 days of Ironsi.
Consequently, there is absolutely nothing in the Nigerian union that was fundamentally built on equity and fairness. These are some of the basic squabbles of Nigeria’s troubles that we have unfortunately expanded instead of redressing them. How?
We have 36 states in Nigeria, and 19 states are located in the north and if one includes Abuja, the federal capital, it becomes 20, and 16 states in the south. Nigeria has about 774 local governments and Kano and Katsina alone have more than 78 local governments and 845 political wards. I am perplexed because I cannot fathom out the criteria used in creating 44 local governments – and 484 political wards – in Kano State alone and only 20 local governments in a state like Lagos with just 245 political wards. I do not understand the index applied that made it a taboo not to create another state from Oyo and Akwa Ibom States and two more states from the eastern political region.
Since Nigerian leaders for the sake of justice and equity thought it to be wise to have what they called quota system so that money or allocations from the federal level can in equilibrium be distributed to every part of Nigeria fairly in order to make all have that feeling of belonging in one country, it will equally be reasonable and just that the same quota system is applied in sharing power so that we all will also have that sense of belonging. Anything less is a well-calculated attempt to manipulate justice, and it is evil.
The basic principles of “Federal Character” as enshrined in the fraudulent Nigerian constitution in 1979 was to promote national unity and to avoid predominance of persons or ethnic groups against another. This simply translates that we have differences, and that we have recognized these unavoidable facts and tried to justly do something to foster unity amongst us, and in our diversity coexist in fairness and harmony. Sequel to the fact that we have applied “Federal Character” or “Quota System” in making sure that the natural resources from petroleum products that come from the south are equitably distributed, we are irredeemably pinned without any option to also apply the same system in power sharing for a healthy and a rancor free society.
The president of Nigeria should be rotational because under the current arrangement and considering our sentiments and mentalities – where religion, ethnicity and money play big roles – for instance, minority groups and Igbos are highly disadvantaged and can never produce the president of Nigeria under this structure. The system looks standard and democratic, but the real fact is that there is absolutely nothing standard and democratic about it. It is an unfair systematic strategy concocted and made to look acceptable by legalizing it to the advantage of the north against other regions. The damage was done when they created more states, more local governments and more wards in the north and less in the south thereby getting more federal allocations every month, more lawmakers in the lower and upper chamber and a greater number of party delegates who actually decide the person that becomes the presidential flag bearer of every political party. How fair is this structure for other regions to competitively challenge the north in producing a presidential candidate of their respective parties or passing balanced bills in the Senate and House of Reps in Nigeria? Constitutionalized unjustness like this is why some people have got the guts and the impetus to arrogantly make provocative statements boldly that Nigeria belongs to them. How can we in all conscience accept, approve and justify the high level of injustice, inequality, anti-progress and unjustifiable arrangements clearly practiced in Nigeria?
To be continued.
Uzoma Ahamefule, a concerned patriotic citizen and a refined African traditionalist, writes from Vienna, Austria
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