Submission To The Advisory Committee On National Dialogue

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Justifications For A New Formula Of Governance – Constitution: **Sub-Theme: Attempting to solve an equation with the same failed formula is recipe for endless failures:

Sovereignty, the supreme absolute and uncontrollable power by which any independent state is governed; the self-sufficient

source of political power, from which all power and specific political powers,  are derived, is derived from the people and donated to government through an instrument, the CONSTITUTION, to a body of persons in a state. Usually sovereign power is surrendered by the people in place of their security and welfare, which is the primary purpose of government.  It is accepted that by the word, “sovereignty” in its largest sense is meant supreme, absolute, uncontrollable power, the absolute power to govern, but in circumstances where the document transferring such sovereignty is fraudulent and or questionable and the government has glaringly and woefully failed in discharging its primary purpose to the people, it is doubtful if that government has any right, to still assert such sovereignty over the people. In natural justice, the people, the original owners of sovereignty, have a right to withdraw sovereignty and reassert it.

  The people should therefore confer, give themselves a constitution and have a referendum ratify it. It is very obvious that the present National Assembly, which is part and parcel of Nigeria’s failure, will never accept the peoples’ new will.

The only constitution given to Nigeria by Nigerians is the 1963 Constitution. All other constitutions are by-products of coupists, imposed on the people. In addition to the fraud in the 1999 Constitution, is the total and absolute failure of governance in Nigeria from 1999 till date.

Fund for Peace, the internationally accepted NGO that tracks state-failure world-wide, prescribes a variety of standards for measuring state failure:  

“Loss of control of its territory, or of the monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force therein; erosion of legitimate authority to make collective decisions; an inability to provide public services; an inability to interact with other states as a full member of the international community; . . . widespread corruption and criminality; refugees and involuntary movement of populations; and sharp economic decline.”

Except for interaction as a full member of the international community, Nigeria has met all Fund-for-Peace standards – 69% poverty; only 57.9% adults literate in English language; unemployment – deceptively estimated at still intolerable level of 24% with dangerously high over 80% graduate unemployment (under-employment of the employed is estimated at close to 50%); very low Human Development Index (UNDP 2013) – 153rd out of 186 countries surveyed); 8th most corrupt nation on earth (unheard of sum of #32billion able to be carted away from treasury and an ex-Governor, now Senator  in Jigawa was alleged by EFCC to be able to pocket #12 billion in one day); 4th in world kidnappers league; 6th in internet security threat; in 2012 placed 5th among ten world’s countries with most terrorist attacks; Nigeria’s Boko Haram ranked 2nd after Afghanistan’s Talibans amongst world’s terrorist organisations and vey many uncountable issues more.

Definitely there is something wrong with Nigeria’s rule of engagement – the grand nom and the way it is run. Helped by two major factors, the fusing of a country into a nation is impossible: Religious fundamentalism creates permanent instability whereas humongous corruption stultifies growth leaving the people permanently poor, unemployed, illiterate, un-healthy, low life-expectancy, high infantile and maternal mortality, destitute and hopeless –all fertile ingredients for a peoples’ revolution.

We identify with the South-East Elders’ Council submission but categorically submit following:

A new Constitution must be drawn up. Nigerians would be seeking to glorify failure by any attempt to solve the present endless crises by continued amendment of a failed formula – the 1999 Constitution.

The 1963 Constitution must be the working paper for any peoples’ Conference since it is the only Nigerian peoples’ constitution given to Nigeria by Nigerians uninhibited. 

Nigerians, indeed Africans, have not matured enough and seemingly do not have the decency to operate the presidential system of governance. In Africa, Nigeria in particular, the presidential system builds the big man who unfortunately subverts governance institutions. The Head of State must be separated from Head of Government.

Provision must be made in the Constitution for anti-corruption Czar completely independent of the Executive branch. Present anti-corruption bodies are arms of the executive branch which is estimated to be responsible for over 70% of corrupt practices since 1999.

Secularity of Nigeria: Most of Nigeria’s crises since 1959 have resulted from religious extremism/fundamentalism, which is anti-thetical to secularity of State in any multi-religious federation. Turkey (99% Islam), Malaysia (67% Islam) and South-West Nigeria (45-55% Islam) are case studies on peaceful co-existence of religions and High Human development Indices.

Thorough definition of federating units; a balanced federation with equal powers among the federating units not exceeding 12 but not less than six; devolution of powers including some measure of coercive forces to the federating units, true fiscal federalism.

Judicial independence with recruitment based on the Kenyan model – advertisements, reception and consideration of petitions against judicial nominees and statutory composition of federal, zonal/regional or state judicial apex bodies not subject to the whims of one person –the Chief Justice and or Chief Judge.

 

Politicians, world-wide, are known to promise to build bridges where there is no river whilst campaigning for elections. Ronald Reagan was so exasperated with the morals of politicians that he declared that there is very thin line between politicians and the oldest profession. Therefore it would not be easy to get the present National Assembly and executive Branch to give up powers. Both feel threatened about their tenure.  Considerations should therefore given to proroguing parliament until the new constitution takes effect and enacting subsidiary legislations to sustain governance until the new constitution comes into effect.

 

  “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” The time to act is now. “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

Today our youths are kidnapping us for ransom. Militancy is everywhere. We buy armoured cars, helicopters and private jets, use armed escorts with siren blaring recklessly and imprison ourselves in our fortresses to escape our angry youths. The political and business elite who can afford all these deceive themselves. he streets of history are littered with failed federations. We deceive ourselves when we think that the Arab spring is impossible in Nigeria. 

The thresh-hold for human endurance without hope, particularly among the youths, is very limited and reactions and chain reactions could be unpredictable.     

 

Chukwuemeka Onyesoh (Prince),

President, 

Forum for Promotion of National Ethos and Values (FPNEV),

Enugu.

29th October 2013.




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