By Uduma Kalu
As the National Assembly amends the 1999 constitution, Rear Admiral Ndubisi Kanu (rtd) and Gen. Alani Akinrinde (rtd) have said that Nigeriaâ€™s problems cannot only be met by electoral reforms, elections, amendments, war against corruption, amnesty for Niger-Delta nationalists/freedom fighters and emergency votes on electricity.
The duo, as Chairman and Deputy, respectively, of Change Nigeria, CN, said â€œthe problems are rooted firmly in a unitary constitution deceitfully called federalâ€.
They said, yesterday, thatÂ any attempt to conduct the 2011 general elections, with the 1999 constitution will spell doom for the country and that the only way forward was to use a constitution agreed to by all the ethnic nationalities in the country.
They said the country should â€œto return to its original federal structure without further delay.â€ TheyÂ rejected the conduct of any further elections on the basis of the 1999 constitution,Â as this can only prolong the frustrations of the people of Nigeria and “probably drive us faster to an implosion.â€
Battle for Nigeria’s soul
They also identified three camps rooting for the soul of the country, which include â€œthe ruling party, whose sole concern is how best to retain power for ever, never mind the pursuits of the reform forum or the mouthing and animated distractions about zoning/rotation; vociferous alliance of some opposition interests/civil society, whose driving concern is how to take over power or grab a large chunk of the political space, with no verifiable plan to be different from those they seek to supplant.
â€œThe third are Western powers with business interests in Nigeria, whose primary concern is â€˜stabilityâ€™ that guarantees an uninterrupted flow of oil, no matter what happens to the peoples of the country.â€
But the group said events in the last six months have brought to the fore the faultsÂ threatening Nigeriaâ€™s foundation,Â which they blamed on the 1999 constitution.
They noted that the United States of America had warned about Nigeriaâ€™s breakup in 2015,Â Muammar Gaddaffi advised that Nigeria break up along ethnic/geographical lines, presence ofÂ MEND,Â MASSOB, OPC, MOSOP and calls for a sovereign national conference, adding that already, Nigeria is rankedÂ worldâ€™s 12 most unstable countries.
They also said that Anthony Enahoro, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, Wole Soyinka,Â Bankole Oki, Bolanle Gbonigi, supported by Asari-Dokubo, Ralph Uwazuruike, and Yerima Shettima are at the Federal High Court in Abuja and Lagos, asserting that the 1999 constitution is a fraud that must be terminated forthwith. They also reminded thatÂ Governor Fashola of Lagos State is asking a Yoruba Solemn Assembly about their position on the country.
Accordng to CN, â€œall stakeholders, including governments should be courageous enough to do like the Government of South Africa did under Fredrick De Clerk, when it took steps to dismantle the apartheid order by convening a sovereign meeting, which worked out a fresh constitution. â€œThe alternative is the escalation of ongoing unilateral actions by the nationalities to throw off the illegitimate suzerainty of the Nigerian country over their suppressed sovereignties/territories in exercise of their inalienable rights to self-determination as defined by the United Nations in September of 2007.
â€œThe entrapped nationalities should expedite actions to generate their respective constitutions in formations they deem fit in readiness for the inevitable sovereign meeting at which those constitutions will be federated by the cession of certain powers from which a federal constitution shall be derived while the units retain all other powers residually.â€