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|Response To Aare Afe Babalola On Nigeria: Restructure Or Reconfigure (2) by ooduapathfinder: 7:39am On Oct 20, 2023
Our response to Part 7 of your published series covered some of the issues you have raised in Part 8; hence this response is an addendum because of the two options introduced.
We therefore proceed as follows:
(i) You propose an “Executive Bill to the National Assembly to be presented to the National Assembly by the President of the country, asking the Senate to pass a law for the convocation of a Sovereign National Conference, SNC… SNC itself will be made up of elected representatives of the Nigerian people. To ensure fair and effective representation, the SNC should be convened and constituted to include two to three members from each state of the Nigerian federation, who are elected on zero party basis, as well as representatives of professional bodies who will be distinguished personalities with unimpeachable records.”
(ii) The above calls the concept of such a Sovereign National Conference into question. For it is generally assumed (and accepted) that Sovereignty resides with the People. In which case, the question of who the “People” are, must be answered for a Sovereign National Conference to be meaningful or even necessary.
(iii) Inability or unpreparedness to answer or address this question was one of the reasons previous Conferences fell flat on their faces, even though they were not Sovereign. Those Conferences forced the people to literally surrender their inherent capacity to advance the quest for self-actualization because they are either absent or absent-minded when crucial decisions were being made, despite being represented by either political or “socio-cultural” leaders and organizations supposedly selected by those in charge of the country’s central government that has appropriated to themselves, the authority to take decisions reflecting the general expectation of the People(s), thereby making it possible for the central government to discard, disregard or ignore any agreements as has been the case through the various conferences.
(iv) A major reason for this lies in the denial of our multinationalism, multilingualism, and multiculturalism, which has led to the architecture of the State as a direct competitor of, and in opposition to, the aspirations and expectations of the people/citizens. Nigeria’s Constitution describes the country as “a Federation consisting of States and a Federal Capital Territory,” as if the people occupying the states do not exist. Hence, “National Sovereignty” often translates into attempts at suppressing ethno-nationalism by a dominant nationality via the State.
(v) Yet, other Federations did not fail to recognize their Peoples. Even the United States, which is a Federation of territories—for reasons of her coming into being—started by acknowledging “the people” with its Preamble. Russia and China recognize their multinational nature as foundational to their existence, recognized, and constitutionally guaranteed. The Russian Federation is described as consisting of “republics, krays, oblasts, cities of federal significance, an autonomous oblast and autonomous okrugs, which shall have equal rights as constituent entities of the Russian Federation whose multinational people are the “bearer of sovereignty and the sole source of power in the Russian Federation,”. China describes itself as “a unitary multi-national state built up jointly by the people of all its nationalities,” whilst recognizing “Regional autonomy in areas where people of minority nationalities live in compact communities; organs of self-government are established for the exercise of the right of autonomy. All the national autonomous areas are inalienable parts of the People's Republic of China.”
(vi) Yet, the Nigerian State already assumed the singularity of the geo-political space called Nigeria, and all its solutions to its problems are relegated to maintaining that singularity while turning issues of Federalism into an administrative convenience even when it is obvious that the problem is undeniably in that singularity. That is the reason for the ridiculous position that “states are federating Units”. States, as we have them in Nigeria, are administrative entities, which were not even created by the residents but by military fiat. A country can have any form of an administrative unit, which we experienced when the Regions were abolished and replaced with “groups of provinces” which are now more or less the “states”.
(vii) The Richards Constitution was rejected because the principle of a Union or Federation is based on the Peoples and not on administrative units. Indeed, every Union or Federation in the world is based on a Union of Peoples which may now be administered either as states (as in the US) or regions as in Germany. For a federation or Union to exist, therefore, the People inhabiting a geographical space must make that decision. When the case is made that the current states are now a reality that we cannot run away from, the short answer to that is, Yes, we can run away from it, in the sense that the political and economic circumstances that make for their creation are the root cause of Nigeria’s problems today, such that their retention or change can only be by the Peoples affected themselves and not by fiat from the Center. Thus, the Yoruba, for example, may decide to make every Yoruba town or city an administrative center—that will be our choice based on our economic and political imperatives.
(viii) With the above and more, it can be concluded that rather than proceed on another round of “electing representatives” to a Sovereign National Conference, the best way out is through the Nationality Referendums which would have Legitimized, Validated, and Legalized the aspirations and expectations of the Peoples, and which will lead directly to a Conference of Nationalities out of which a new Federal Constitution to usher in a Federal Multi-National State will be established. This will be a Multi-National State capable of addressing the “Leadership Question” in Nigeria because it ensures that the Nationalities are active participants in the process of their development.
(ix) The National Assembly’s role will be limited to legislating on convening of the Conference of Nationalities, after the State Houses of Assembly have passed their Bills for Referendum into Law. Such Referendums are to be conducted by the various State Electoral Commissions or in the case of smaller Nationalities, by their preferred methodology.
(x) As an alternative to a Sovereign National Conference, you proposed a “Transformational Election to evolve a national awakening and decision that the next election will be a restructuring election. That is, the sole criterion for selecting the next crop of leaders in this country – across executive and legislative arms at federal, state, and local government levels- should be unequivocal commitment and promise to implement a manifesto for transformational leadership in Nigeria.”
(xi) Aside from the reality of contention on who or which agency of the State will make that determination, the capacity, and ability of the Nigerian State to ensure any Party voted into power on this basis lives up to its expectation must also be examined. More so when it is known that political parties all over the world represent certain political, economic, and cultural interests that may be contradictory to either the rest of the society or even the country itself.
(xii) A good example is the ongoing crisis in Niger Republic and the response of ECOWAS. With certain actors in Nigeria’s political firmament directly subverting ECOWAS because of their “cousins and brothers and sisters” in Niger, a political party will not be able to sustain a Federalization momentum for electioneering purposes, simply because its political power base rests with its relationships within and without; hence, the question of Restructuring in Nigeria is not only a Nigerian affair as it can indeed provide the template or the way out of the various conflicts bedeviling the Continent.
(xiii) Furthermore, many political parties will be advocating similar issues, more so when the election will be limited in scope because it will be a single-issue election, despite political parties having different ideas on Restructuring. This calls forth the question of separating the wheat from the chaff, the serious from the unserious, with a limited choice of relying on the “personality” or “character” of the party members and leaders. Yet, political opportunism cannot be ruled out, regardless of the presumed integrity of party members, who will not be operating out of a vacuum but as direct members of the community who have undergone common social, economic, and cultural experiences that would have shaped their choices.
(xiv) Therefore, the best way out is for each Nationality to take collective responsibility for its aspirations and expectations which would be Legitimized, Validated, and Legalized through the Nationality Referendum and whose result(s) would be binding on any political party emerging from that Nationality. Pan-Nigerian alliances could be formed within the Multi-National State, which would be predicated on the results of the Nationality Referendums.
(xv) The cause of conflicts and underdevelopment in Nigeria since the amalgamation of Nigeria has been the diversity of the groups that have been cobbled together to constitute the Nigerian State. It is, therefore, logical to put the country’s nationalities at the center of a restructuring process. We should not continue to assume that sovereignty resides in the Nigerian State as captured in the 1999 Constitution put together by an unelected military dictatorship.
Yoruba Referendum Committee
|Re: Response To Aare Afe Babalola On Nigeria: Restructure Or Reconfigure (2) by springer: 8:28am On Oct 20, 2023
The Article is not well structured. Too long to read in this era of no time to waste time. Yorubians are ready fir Yoruba Republic. Nigeria as a name is globally flagged for bad
|Re: Response To Aare Afe Babalola On Nigeria: Restructure Or Reconfigure (2) by ooduapathfinder: 5:46pm On Oct 20, 2023
"..... too long to read and no time to waste time(i.e.no time to read)..."
A society that cannot create time to read is lost.
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