By Bartholomew Madukwe
Some groups in the South-East of Nigeria have said that the oneness, indivisibility and indissolubility of the country as contained in Section 2 of the Constitution can never have any effect or be validated unless they are mandatorily linked and grounded in social contract.
The groups include Civil Liberties Organisation, CLO,
Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law, Centre for Human Rights & Peace Advocacy, Human Rights Organisation of Nigeria, Society Watch & Advocacy Project, Anambra Human Rights, South-East Good Governance Forum, Int’l Solidarity for Peace & Human Rights Initiative, Igbo Ekunie Initiative.
Others are Foundation for Environmental Rights Advocacy & Devt, Society for Economic Rights & Social Justice, Initiative for Ideal Devt & Emancipatory Leadership in Nigeria, Igbo National Council, Forum for Promotion of National Ethos & Values, Easy Life Initiative for Rural Youths and Voice of the Voiceless International.
Speaking with journalists in Onitsha, Anambra State, the groups argued that by Section 14 of the Constitutional Charter of Responsibilities, the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of the government and the participation by the people in their government shall be ensured.
”Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be a State based on Principles of Democracy and Social Justice”; 14 (2) it is hereby declared that sovereignty belongs to the People of Nigeria from whom government through this Constitution, derives all its powers and authority.
“In the event of default in same by the public office holders manning executive, legislative and judicial powers of the government in the country or any part thereof, the oneness, indivisibility and indissolubility of Nigeria become totally challenged and unrealisable,” they stated. According to them, Section 17 of the Chapter 2 holds that the State Social Order is founded on ideals of freedom, equality and justice and in furtherance of this social order, every citizen shall have equality of rights, obligations and opportunities before the law.
“The sanctity of human person shall be recognised and human dignity shall be maintained and enhanced and government actions shall be humane. By Section 17 (2) (d), exploitation of human and natural resources in any form whatsoever for reasons, other than the good of the community, shall be prevented. 17 (2) (e), the independence, impartiality and integrity of courts of law, and easy accessibility thereto shall be secured and maintained.
“It is also a fact that 98 percent of the country’s serving and former public office holders are living far beyond their statutory incomes and legitimate lifestyles.
“The worse of it all is that billions of dollars and their local currency equivalents are borrowed locally and internationally by National and Sub-National Governments in Nigeria; only for 70 per cent of the budgets substantially financed through the borrowed sums to be squandered in over-bloated recurrent expenditures especially through codified criminal processes of security votes, overheads and allowances of the country’s 17,500 top public office holders and national and sub-national senior public/civil servants.”