BY CLIFFORD NDUJIHE, DEPUTY POLITICAL EDITOR
LAGOS — TWELVE years into civil rule and 17 years after the formation of the National Democratic Coalition, NADECO, leaders of the group yesterday took a critical look at the state of affairs in the country and returned a grim verdict: Nigeria is headed for revolution if a Sovereign National Conference, SNC, was not convened, to address rising waves of discontent in the polity.
On this count, NADECO leaders said, yesterday, in Lagos, that they were returning to the trenches to save the country from the precipice of disorder.
Indeed, one of the leaders, Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu (rtd), said the incoming administrations of President Goodluck Jonathan and governors might not deliver the desired dividends of democracy without restructuring of the polity into true federalism, which he contended could only be done through the SNC.
NADECO said: “There are inundating calls by a multitude of ethnic, cultural and other Nigerian organisations that NADECO should re-enact its anointing by pointing the way forward to the polity. It is our duty, therefore, to draw the attention of the authorities and the world at large to the seething discontent with the present structure of Nigeria as imposed by the 1999 Constitution and to also caution upon the consequences of continuously ignoring such discontent, especially in the light of the goings-on in North Africa and the Middle East.”
“We also insist that it is essential to quickly infuse some order into what otherwise appears like the road to ‘Kigali’ so as to avoid the reality and imminence of irreversible self-redemption/self-determination actions by the ethnic nationalities. In the circumstances, there is an immediate need to deliberate upon the relevant question: ‘which way Nigeria; Abuja, Aburi or Araba?’”
“By that, what we contemplate is to keep Nigeria’s seriously haemorrhaged heart still beating whilst the owners of the land at a sovereign national conference constitute afresh, atruly federal country that can win the hearts of its citizenry, restore a sense of belonging and thus restore patriotism to the country.”
Leaders, who spoke yesterday at the presentation of the group’s comeback 14-paragraph statement titled: “Convocation of Sovereign National Conference before irreversible self-determination actions,” include Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu (rtd), Chief Fred Agbeyebge, Mr. Alfred Ilenre, Mr. Tony Nnadi and Comrade Linus Okoroji.
They said the non-disposition of President Goodluck Jonathan to holding the confab, increasing deterioration of state of affairs in the country and a series of subsisting litigation against the 1999 Constitution, indicated that the country was sitting a keg of gun powder and the US prediction that Nigeria would be failed state in 2015 might come to pass.
According to them, the post-presidential election violence that claimed lives and properties in northern parts of the country had shown that Nigeria required more than free and fair elections to move forward.
Recalling that NADECO was established in May 1994, to mobilise Nigerians for de-annulment of the June 12, 1993 election, won late Chief MKO Abiola, who had affirmed his commitment to convening the SNC, they said history had come full circle.
How? “By some uncanny coincidence, it is not only May again, it is also the 17th anniversary of NADECO, as it is also an election year, largely hailed as free and fair, has again delivered a candidate of Nigerians’ choosing: Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan. Mayhem from a section of the country has consumed lives under a democratic dispensation, with the perpetrators proclaiming that they neither believe in democracy as a form of Government nor is it possible to get justice under the 1999 Constitution.”
They continued: “In between, citiznery dis-satisfaction has given rise to Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB); Odua Peoples Congress (OPC), Action Committee for the Restoration of Odua Sovereignty (ACROS); Itsekiri Peoples Congress (IPC); Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND); Middle Belt Coalition (MBC); Movement for the Retrieval of the Stolen Sovereignties of the Ethnic Nationalities of Nigeria (MRSSENN); Boko Haram (BK); Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU); Ijaw National Congress (INC); and a myriad of other ethnic and cultural organisations.
“All these ethnic platforms are at one in asserting that their sovereignties have been stolen; their resources have been confiscated by an imposed and usurping centre and all are at one alleging that their persistent discomfiture flows from the negation of the federal principles upon which Nigeria secured its independence as a country. This imposition and usurpation now embodied in the 1999 Constitution has replaced that federalism.
Furthermore, these ethnic nationalities are demanding that an opportunity be afforded the owners of the land, to come together, for once, to agree the rules of co-existence, which have been denied them by succeeding authorities.”