The pathway to Referendum and Economic Biafra
There is no constitutional provision for a referendum in the 1999 constitution of Nigeria as amended. Where then is the constitutional basis for the federal government, even if sympathetic to the cause of the agitators, to ask for a referendum within the territory called Nigeria?
The simple implication is that even if you shout from now till thy Kingdom come there is no path to Biafra through any referendum currently.
If the agitators are serious minded they should be lobbying members of the National Assembly to introduce a constitutional amendment proposal that will capture referendum as one of the steps to decide if a federating unit(s) can legally exit Nigeria.
There are many National Assembly members from the south and middle belt that will support inclusion of exit clause and pathway in the constitution.
Groups like IPOB will do better spending their resources in lobbying the members of the South East Caucus of the National Assembly to get their buy in and support for presentation of the amendment proposal before the National Assembly. From there they should go and lobby members of the National Assembly from south south, south west and middle belt regions.
If well structured and presented, even core northern legislators will support exit clause in the constitution. Who told you that majority of northerners don’t want to exit and pursue Islamic Republic agenda?
Package your presentations well and stop insulting them.
Make no mistake about this; many countries have exit clauses in their constitutions, especially when the federating units are not ethnically homogenous. Ethiopia is an example, with the exit of Eritrea as good reference point.
Even the United Kingdom made up of 4 major “ethnic groups” (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) have well defined exit clause and path that leads through a referendum.
One major advantage of having exit clauses in a country’s constitution is that it helps to ensure that the majority are not tyrannical in the exercise of the powers of a majority and everyone works towards equity and fairness for all.
As long as everyone feel fairly treated nobody will invoke exit clause. Even when invoked, the angry party can be quickly pacified not to vote for exit. That’s what happened during Scotland referendum conducted on the 18th of September 2014. Majority of the voters (55.3%) opted to remain within the union.
If there was peaceful exit clause and pathway in our laws nobody will discriminate against innocent children by demanding 130 score from one state and 2 from another state to enter same institution. Such evil acts will be enough for someone to trigger the exit process.
The concept of “forced union with no way out” was what the UN tried to solve with the declaration on the rights of indigenous people.
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) was adopted by the General Assembly on Thursday, 13 September 2007, by a majority of 144 states in favour, 4 votes against (Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States) and 11 abstentions (Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burundi, Colombia, Georgia, Kenya, Nigeria, Russian Federation, Samoa and Ukraine).
Today the Declaration is the most comprehensive international instrument on the rights of indigenous peoples with the previous 4 nay voters even reversing to support the declaration. It establishes a universal framework of minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of the indigenous peoples of the world and it elaborates on existing human rights standards and fundamental freedoms as they apply to the specific situation of indigenous peoples.
The UN Declaration ensures that indigenous peoples’ rights to cultural integrity, education, health, and political participation are protected. The UNDRIP also provides for the recognition of indigenous peoples’ rights to their lands and natural resources, and the observation of their treaty rights.
At its core, is the UN Declaration’s recognition of indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination to “freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.” As explained by former U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, James Anaya, the right of self-determination is “to be full and equal participants in the creation of the institutions of government under which they live and, further, to live within a governing institutional order in which they are perpetually in control of their own destinies.”
With this UN declaration any country still with the mindset of forced marriage without divorce pathway must be governed and inhabited mostly by leadership dinosaurs still thinking like Nigeria’s British Colonial Masters who created exit pathways in their own home but brainwashed Nigerian leaders into “one NIGERIA or die” mentality.
If Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and his IPOB group re-channel their energy and popular good will into seeking for a constitutional exit clause through referendum they will forever be remembered by generations yet unborn as the catalysts of a new prosperous Nigeria. If they fail to get votes for their Biafra.
IPOB can easily achieve legislative support by reminding South eastern legislators that they will need votes to return while also reminding south south and south west legislators that they will ultimately need the Igbo vote in their constituencies to have it easier in 2019.
Hold massive rallies in support of constitutional voluntary exit clause and enforcement of UNDRIP and the whole world will calmly watch and later act in sympathy.
Without an exit clause in the constitution of Nigeria there are only 2 major other options left for those agitating for separation from Nigeria. The first is to go to the UN and demand your rights as Indigenous people. To make headway in that direction, you will need a strong lobby that must include a permanent member of the UN Security Council with economic interest in your area. Otherwise you will be wasting your time.
Concurrently, you can also commence a suit at the world court to see if you can arrive at the Bakassi Peninsula separation model. That will probably take 10-20 years to realize.
The other major option will simply be the use of military force to compel a separation. If you like deceive yourself from now till next year, Nigeria has the military resources to defeat any insurgent component of the federation. The least prepared for military confrontation is even the south east region of Nigeria. The people have always been Jesus loving and peaceful Neighbors who will never hurt visitors to their land to avoid ancestral retributions.
This is the time for IPOB supporters to change strategy now that they have the focused attention of the nation and the world.
It is also laughable that IPOB and their supporters are willingly celebrating those with organic cowardice whose agenda is to mislead them into the destruction of Igbo land whereas same individuals have not gone back to their own area to declare Oduduwa Republic or any other.
Remember Banjo and Awolowo so as to be well guided. Ogwula!
Ndigbo must also wise up to the recurrent fraud of “Nigerian President of Igbo origin”. Do not let anyone mislead you with such rubbish talk aimed at isolating our courageous sons and daughters led by Nnamdi Kanu.
There is no political path to Nigerian President of Igbo origin in the foreseeable future. Moreover, apart from the psychological benefit of feeling like one of the owners of Nigeria, it is not really worth fighting for. Just 2 days ago, on my way to PH, I noticed how bad the Rivers end of the Enugu-PH highway currently is and it dawned on me that the 5 years presidency of Jonathan means nothing to his base constituency.
What then is the value of producing a president who will, like Jonathan, spend more resources trying to pacify those who never believed in his presidency but believed that he took away their birthrights?
Ndigbo do not want the Presidency of Nigeria anymore. Keep and rotate it between the north and south west. We are not interested.
There is another pathway to Igbo greatness even within the federation called Nigeria. IPOB and other Igbo groups should actually pursue that path with all they’ve got and within just 5 years the rest of Nigeria will gather and beg them to rule over them.
Take all your investment in Nigeria home. Build your factories at home, establish your shops at home, educate your children at home and attract foreign investment to your home.
If Ndigbo religiously follow this prescription they will certainly be above bluffs like “park and go” and as you have economic prosperity at home you will be attracting national and global attention of the right quality. Those who are presently baiting you with Nigeria’s presidency will beg you to have Nigeria presidency for as long as you want as they will want to share in your prosperity.
Enough of this “Igbo presidency deceit”, it is a fraud.
Ndigbo, “Biafra” should simply focus on economic success of the south east region. If you have that economic Biafra you will have all other Biafra.
Educate your children with small economic leverage to stop wasting such leverages in seeking political offices. Ifeanyi Uba had no business running for Anambra Governorship. Just like Uche Ogah of Abia state and many others. Those men are supposed to be like Dangote and Adenuga that are politics proof and even bigger than their state governors.
Why is it that in Igbo land anybody with up to N500m in their bank account opts to waste the funds in partisan politics and drag us back many years? Stop that nonsense today.
Those with economic power should never seek political power as a matter of strategic group interest. I won’t say more.
Finally, Ndigbo should continue to work hard and innovate. Make yourselves the Jews of Nigeria economically and scientifically. That will lead you to your Biafra of the mind or even territorial Biafra, whichever the majority of your indigenous people want.
-the voice from the wilderness should always be taken serious whenever he speaks. Read Revelation 1:1