Nigeria is re-enacting the mistake of 64/65 – Nnadi

By admin on 08/01/2015

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This is the concluding part of the Factnewsonline interview with TONY NNADI, Secretary to Lower Niger Congress (LNC). In this interview conducted by EMMA MADUABUCHI, he insists that it is wrong for Nigerians to attempt going to the polls faced with a dangerous scenario similar to that of the mid 60s.

 

There is argument in some quarters that Nigeria has been a terrorist state since the 70, which was stopped in a way with the coming of Jonathan as President, and pushed terrorist elements out of governance. Do you agree with that assertion?

Well, to the extent that anybody who saying it and taking it only from 1970 may have his own reasons may be when he became aware of it. But I can tell you from the documents we have that it was created to be so from 1914, when the British lumped together various territories they had conquered, albeit under the pretence of treaties.

You know they were doing things by force, but would come later and bring their documents for you to sign when you are not in a position to refuse. So, by a combination of brute force and guile, they were able to secure a vast swat of territories which they in 1914 called Nigeria.

 

Are you then saying that Nigeria, as a terrorist state, started long before 1970?

Yes, the British started it and handed over to Fulani in the North. The bottom-line of it is that Britain saw Nigeria as its outpost. They have come from Europe to take away what they could find to take away peacefully here. But those who opposed them they terrorised and subdued.

So what happened in 1914 was just a merger of various treaties that became the whole, because they had the oil rivers protectorate, the Lagos colony merged as the protectorate of Southern Nigeria. You know they were doing it in stages – 1906 they merged the Southern territories, and by 1914 they had completed the processes of merging the administrations.

It did not happen overnight; they merged the financial system; the education system; all other kinds of systems culminating in the announcement on January 1, 1914, which is that the territories had become one administrative unit to be called Nigeria. Now, in putting it together, even at that time – because we have documents to show the details of what they had in mind through what they left behind, which was to continue to control Nigeria through the North.

We have the document of 1919, the week that Lugard was retiring having managed his Nigeria for five years, which showed, through their gerrymandering, that they were packaging Nigeria to create a majority from a minority in order to put that new majority in charge – that is the Fulani and their supporters.

 

Why did they so much want to put the Fulani in charge?

Why where they at home with the Fulani? They were resisted in the South from the onset by the likes of King Jaja, Oba Owverume, Pepple of Bonny, even Odumegwu Ojukwu’s grandfather played a great part in the resistance. From that point on, it was clear to them that this people of the South were not going to accept them, especially in view of the larger scheme of the things to take away from their parts, and as such must be kept down at all times.

Now, somebody may be talking about Oloibiri as the place of the first discovery of oil in Nigeria. It is all falsehood; they have sold our oil for about fifty years. It was the approach of independence that made them declare Oloibiri. Otherwise if you search, you will see that Shell was headquartered in Owerri for 42 years and going to Port Harcourt in 1961.

It was when they started the pretense that they tried to obfuscate the matter of who owned the assets they were taking away, then they started looking for new identities of people who would not be able to resist them the way a larger block of people would be able to resist them in the east. In the whole country, it was a clearly settled intention on their part to create a master-servant relation between the North and the South.

The Northern oligarchy at the time was a feudal society just like their own society, for they (the North) also had a settled system which had overran all the other languages in the middle-belt all the way to Ilorin. So, for them (Britian), it was just a matter of retaining those structures in order to control the rest, and that was why the arrangements they made was that which empowered them (the North) constitutionally.

From the constitution of 1914, to the one of 1922, and to the one of Macpherson, to the one of independence, they were all packaged to reinforce that master-servant relationship.

 

From your assertion is would then mean that the North was willing to play that role?

Yes, anybody talking of 1970 maybe became conscious of the matter by 1970. If you doubt me, you look at this statement by Ahmadu Bello, which he made in the week of independence in 1960, because the British had created this master-servant thing that they left in their hands, while the rest were celebrating what they thought was the exit of the British, Ahamdu Bellow was telling his lieutenants a different story. I quote him now, where he was saying that “The new nation called Nigeria should be an Estate of our great grandfather Uthman Dan Fodio. We must ruthlessly prevent a change of power. We use the Minorities of the North as willing tools and the south as a conquered territory and never allow them to rule over us and never allow them to have control over their future”.

This statement by Ahmadu Bello was reported in Parrot newspaper of October 12, 1960. So, even at the point of independence, these matters have been worked out into a constitutional framework in which one region of the country – the then Northern region – was going to be a permanent political majority. This is despite the fact that they were lesser in number, in population. Yes, there is land mass, but we talk about human beings when we are talking about countries.

 

How is it possible to create a majority from a minority?

British did it; they turned it around by inflating the population figure for them in the 1951/52 census round, which they again reinforced in 1961/62 census. That one got rejected.

They also wanted to reinforce it in 1971 and again it got rejected. It has been falsehood and falsehood all through, and you now had a situation where that thing that Ahmadu Bello was talking about became a battle script. If you look at the constitution by which Nigeria is being managed today, you will see that we came to that arrangement on account of the implementation of that battle script of Ahmadu Bello, because he was talking to his political descendants – those who learnt at his feet.

You have a map of Nigeria and you make a mental picture of three or four divisions in it; you begin to place the characters that played one role or the other in the development of what we now have as constitution. Who did what coup? Put them where they belong in that map and you will see a clear picture of the roles of the ones from the Muslim North, who at the apex, and the ones from the middle-belt who were their attack dogs. Ahmadu Bello called them willing tools. We are talking about the (Yakubu) Gowon’s of this world, the (Theophilus) Danjumas of this world, the (Jeremiah) Useni’s of this world, and all such people who had held top positions in the country. Today you still have them; elements like Paul Unongo, Abubakar Tsav, and others who think they are more Northerners than the North.

These people are still playing that role of willing tools in the hands of the people who are the inheritors of the political empire of Uthman Dan Fodio which Ahmadu Bello was talking about. Having pushed things to a level where the modicum of agreement that was reached at independence to be one union when the British were going, exemplified by five constitutions as at 1963 where destroyed. Remember that the Northern region had its constitution, the Western Regions had its own, the Eastern region had its own too, and the Midwest which came later also had its own.

Of course one Constitution was for the centre, which was just a matter of regions that were countries of their own, contributing only 15 per cent of their income, because they owned their assets and contributed only for the upkeep of the centre. And they defined the tasks the centre would do on the behalf of all, which was basically defence, external affairs, internal communications – just a few things. And the money required to run them were contributed by the regions.

Now at the point where those constitutions were toppled, became the point at which the basis of the Nigerian union was overthrown. The problems arising from it was the resistant to it, which was done by the then Eastern region.

Now to subdue the East, you now went back to a point where the British conquest of the peoples has to be repeated, that was what became the war, which eventually ended in the 12 twelve states which Gowon created by fiat in 1967 that now made one part a permanent minority. Those states were created to undermine the regions that were strong enough to challenge the Fulani controlled centre at the time.

Of course, Nigeria ceased to be a union of consent; a union of agreement from that point. It became a union of imposition. So the Constitution you see today is an amalgam of all those decrees that were made since 1966 that were lumped together in 1979, to become the 1979 Constitution.

Like we saw Ben Nwabueze, who took part in the drafting of that Constitution, confessed the other day that Murtala Mohammed and his agents had already written the Constitution fully before the Constituent Assembly was called. He confessed that the little adjustments they thought they had made during the Constituent Assembly were removed. On the 21st of September 1978, when Murtala Mohammed had already been killed by his fellow military rulers, Obasanjo who became the new enforcer completed the job for him.

 

How do you mean by Obasanjo being the new enforcer?

You know in a slave camp, there are slaves and the slave-drivers appointed by the master; Obasanjo is the head of the slave-drivers. Obasanjo is the chief slave-driver for the North. Look at how he came before, and look at how he came the second time, and all he did on their behalf. He did not touch anything they imposed. That was the accord between them.

Now if you look deeper, you will see that by one announcement, all the things the Constituent Assembly wanted changed were removed. 17 amendments by them were removed by that single announcement of Obasanjo of 1978. 17 amendments were introduced by the Constituent Assembly, they were all removed.

Let me show one example. Nobody in the Constituent Assembly wanted a Presidential System, but by one amendment the Constituent Assembly was overruled by Obasanjo. By one amendment, the states that were created in 1967, which needed to be put away and returned to the regions that will federate were retained. Land Use Act was imposed, as they brought the land tenure system in the North to be applicable in the country. By this, they simply seized the entire land and assets of the country; it was the North that was spreading their civilization southwards.

It was the Constitution whereby the government of Shehu Shagari was run, before it collapsed on their heads. And then 1999 came a few years after, they merely changed few things. If you look at the Constitution of 1999 you will see where Abdulsalami narrated how they came about the 1999 Constitution. He said they went round and that  most people wanted the retention of the 1999 kind of Constitution and therefore they added a few things here and there because by then they had created a few more states, it had become 36 states.

To that extent we have traced from 1914, to 1960, and to 1966 when the whole thing became actually reversed, excluding one part. Then we came to 1979 and then 1999, when now it has been one straight run of master-servant relationship.

 

How do you situate the Biafra/Nigeria war in all these?

What they call the civil war was an attempt by one side saying that you cannot continue to kill us in an arrangement we have not agreed upon, and it was the first serious push to be independent. Of course there was a gang-up between the Northern Region and the Western Region to choke out the Eastern Region.

 

A gang-up?

If you thought it was an accident, you look at that letter that Murtala Nyako wrote to the 19 Northern governors, accusing Jonathan of genocide in their place. In that letter, you will see that instructively that he had described Jonathan as an element of Eastern Nigeria, that was out to avenge the killings of 1967/68 in their area. He conveniently forgot the new name tag they placed on Niger Delta, being South-south and South-east.

When it was convenient for him, he describes Jonathan as an element of Eastern Nigeria. Let me tell you what it means. If you go back to the era of Azikiwe, when he was fighting the colonialists, he did all the fighting with Mokwugo Okoye, Osita Agwuna, Mbonu Ojike, and of course with few other people here and there. But when the matter of transfer of power came to be effected, it was an alliance of that conservative North and a renegade wing of Yoruba South-west that was given power. It was that alliance that made it impossible for Azikiwe to preside over Nigeria at independence.

It was same alliance that came to life when Awolowo, having been premier of Western Region, and with all his knowledge and experience subjugated himself to working under Gowon, a boy with school certificate. Gowon only went to school after he was thrown out in 1975. Awolowo worked under Gowon, a boy without any training for nine years in other to beat down the east. Again, if you have an imaginary map of Nigeria, you will see who comes from where and to what purpose their alliance has been put.

 

This appears to be a reflection in the current happening in All Progressives Congress (APC), where a professor of law (a grandson-in-law of same Awolowo) is subjugating himself to serve under Buhari, a former soldier of no known educational accomplishment?

Our attention really is not really on personalities, or roles played by individuals but on the fact that the North and the South-west always combined to beat down the east and seized their lands and oil assets, which Gowon craftily and officially took over in the name of the war. He was claiming that he needed the money to fight the war, but has the war not ended since 1970?

That was the second episode of an alliance of the North and the South-west. Now, by 1976 when Murtala Mohammed was killed in a coup, again the alliance sprang up. In fact, at the point of the coming of Murtala Muhammed, it was that alliance that had a Chief of Staff of an Obasanjo, and between the two of them, of course Musa Yar’Adua had to be brought in to make up when the other fellow died, it was that alliance that imposed the 1979 Constitution to retain all their benefits from the war.

 

Certainly that alliance cannot be existing today?

It is that alliance that has come up in the name of APC today. Anybody may be talking about democracy or free and fair election. But what I am seeing is the fought re-enactment of that alliance of two regions to undo the other region.

I am not seeing any APC, I am seeing the sharia North with the renegade wing of the Yoruba west forming a majority in the name of a political party to choke out what they call the minority man from Eastern Nigeria. And we are saying that quite apart from, and in addition to the prospect of violence that will ensue when either party wins, the issue of how we live together must be addressed before we go for any election.

Now, because by providence, a Jonathan has become President, and they had to take it upon themselves to do the “ungovernable thing” from the time he wanted to contest in 2011, now they are telling us they are going to form a parallel government. The candidate of the alliance already told us that the blood of the baboon will mix with the blood of the monkey, if they fail to be coroneted in the election of 2015.

That is one side of the story, if in 1964-65, the situation which led to the whole collapse was stopped by those who ought to have stopped it, 1966 would not have occurred, because the Constitution had suffered a major setback. In fact the Constitution had collapsed by the time that election was coming. It was like a low intensity fire, then you now go and bring an election which was like carrying fuel to an already burning fire, of course the whole thing collapsed.

We are now faced with that same scenario in which the Constitution by which Nigeria was being governed has been rejected across board – whether you are looking at Odua Peoples Congress (OPC) that was questioning the internal security in Yoruba land; or you look at Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) that was questioning the ownership of the oil in their land; or you looking at even Boko Haram that was questioning and is still questioning why Nigeria has imposed democracy on their sharia territory.

These are constitutional questions and as I speak, we have managed to construct those questions in a mode that could be answered in a form of conference, and that was what became the push for Sovereign National Conference.

Of course, Mr. President understood what the problem was because he knew how the presentations were made for there to be a conference. Then he told them in writing at the time of convening that the conference was designed to realistically examine and generally resolve the long-standing impediment to our cohesion as a united country. If you read the speech by which he inaugurated the Okurounmu committee, you will see it.

So, we have a situation in which the President was clear and presented it to them that it was a matter of how we are going live together that was going to be discussed on the floor of the conference. What was the first decision on the floor of the conference? Elements from that part of the country, the North, working with their allies from the Yoruba west, the renegade wing of the South-west, decided that the matter of our unity was not to be discussed at the conference. Of course they set up 20 committees to share the money that was made available in the period they had to seat in Abuja. Bottomline, nothing has been discussed.

 

So it is now business as usual?

They thought they have wobbled it through and would now go for election. But there is a third force that is far bigger than all the politicians and all the political parties put together. That force is going to stop them from renewing their mandate in the pretence of having done elections. Our position is that whoever wins the election is going to govern with that Constitution that enslaves the majority at the hands of a minority, and it is in rejection of that constitution that we insist that no further election shall be tolerated under it, because it will just mean the renewal of our enslavement by another four years. To make it worse, that same alliance has managed to wear the garment of a democratic political merger of APC.

Remember that apart from the threats of Buhari, we have also heard Asari Dokubo say that on account of this gang-up, Jonathan is not allowed to govern, but chased away, that they would have no obligation than to re-enact what they did in 2009/2010 before Jonathan became President, which was to blow up all oil facilities in their region, so that no more will be available to anyone who becomes President.

Therefore, we are saying that we are not going to fold our arms and watch those who have not discussed how we want to live together, how education and healthcare can get to the people drag us into the situation we saw in 1964/65. A situation which went on to become 1966 and therefore 1967 – 70, where up to three million to five million people got killed, just because they want to hold the head of the knife.

If we go into this election, we are thinking that up to 10 million would have been buried before we go back to what we would have done in the first instance. We are going to confront the politicians. We are already mobilizing for massive civil disobedience if they insist in going for elections because we are rejecting that constitution. We are not looking at who the winner or who the candidate is. We are looking at what instrument they will use to govern because that is the job description of the government. So if it already takes anything away from the citizens, particularly people from one section of the country, who bring what is being shared, we are just going to have to test it out in the coming days. 

 

Posted on January, 9 2015

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