Call For Abrogation Of The 1999 Constitution: Coupist; Voice Of Jacob & Hand Of Esau
(Onitsha Nigeria, 10th August 2015)-The attention of the leadership ofInternational Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety) is drawn to a public statement made by a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and 2015 gubernatorial aspirant of the Party in Bauchi State, Northeast Nigeria, Dr. Ibrahim Yukubu Lame in which he called for “establishment of emergency powers for President Muhammadu Buhari”above the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended. Dr. Ibrahim Yakubu Lame, who is also a former Minister for Police Affairs, further recommended for extra constitutional processes of fighting corruption to ensure speed and results. To him, the provisions of the 1999 Constitution and her processes are very slow. The referenced public statement was widely published in a number of print media including the Nigerian Pilot Newspaper of today (10-8-2015:http://nigerianpilot.com/apc-chieftain-calls-for-suspension-of-constitution-to-enable-buhari-perform/).
We see Dr. Ibrahim Yukubu Lame’s call as not only ill-conceived, coupist and treasonable, but also a voice of Jacob and a hand of Esau. That is to say that he is not alone in that infamous statement and may most likely have gotten the blessings of his federally ruling political party and the Presidency. The riotous statement of his is a gross violation of Section 1 (2) of the 1999 Constitution, which forbids governing Nigeria or any part thereof except in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. Few years past under the Obasango’s corrupted and bastardized constitutional or presidential democratic government, a similar script (third term or tenure elongation) was prepared by his Presidency and a similar riotous character was hired to present it as a personal statement for the purpose of putting same into public consciousness. In a matter of weeks, the statement spread like a wildfire and became a national debate. It later moved to the National Assembly and grounded the all-important national legislative businesses. The infamous plot was oiled by then Presidency costing Nigerians billions of naira.
Today, they are at it again. This time around, it is a constitutional abrogation project or theory with Dr. Ibrahim Yukubu Lame hired as its hypothesis experimenter. It is on indisputable record that the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and his Party-APC has since 29th May 2015 observed the fundamental provisions of the 1999 Constitution in gross breach with impunity. Most of their conducts so far are clearly repugnant to the Constitution. In other words, the 1999 Constitution under which President Muhammadu Buhari became the 6th electoral President of Nigeria has been enslaved and treated leprously. As we write, the Director General of SSS, Retired Director Lawal Musa Daura and the acting Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mrs. Amina Zakari are occupying their positions in gross default or breach of the 1999 Constitution.
There are several other gross breaches of the Constitution including gross lopsided federal appointments and composition, which grossly violate Section 14 (3) of the 1999 Constitution. Others are unconstitutional use or deployment of the operatives of the SSS to harass, intimidate, arrest and detain a number of Nigerians with trumped up or “trial by ordeal” accusations including INEC Resident Electoral Commissioners; deliberate usurpation by the SSS, with presidential backing, of the constitutional and statutory duties of the Nigeria Police Force, the Economic & Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices & Related Offenses Commission including dabbling into fraud and other white collar and non political crimes constitutionally and statutorily left in the hands of the NPF, etc.
It is also constitutionally riotous and saddening that close to three months in office, President Muhammadu Buhari has not constituted a federal cabinet. Till date, the all-important offices of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) are constitutionally vacant. Nigeria has never experienced this democracy sole administrator-ship since the adoption of presidential democracy in 1979 and the return to electoral civilian administration in 1999.
It is therefore, not surprised observing the unhealthy turn of events under the Buhari’s Presidency particularly its manifest coup against the 1999 Constitution. These explain why we hold that the APC chieftain’s riotous statement is the voice of Jacob and the hand of Esau. There is also a clear link between the riotous statement and the militarist antecedents of President Muhammadu Buhari. Under his military’s inglorious epoch, “emergency presidential powers” was the norm. The 1979 Constitution, which gave birth to the 1999 Constitution with modifications; was brutally corrupted and bastardized to the extent that it was coded with “ouster clauses” including “presidential emergency powers” such as infamous Decrees Nos.2 & 4 of 1984. It is the same “emergency powers” that are now seemed being demanded presidentially through the backdoor.
On the other hand, it saddens our heart that leading Civil Society Organizations and activists based in the Southwest, who used to be “Nigeria’s social saints” have slumbered and turned their “activism machineries” into “executive” or “consultancy rights activism”. It is no longer “street activism” but “INEC-CSOs Situation Room Interface” or “CSOs-National Assembly Interface”. The likes of popularly respected Femi Falana, SAN, who used to approach law courts from left, right and center, on matters of unconstitutional conducts by political office holders, have suddenly hung his wigs and gowns in the face of these manifest constitutional infractions. In their days, questions pertaining to “abuses of the spirit and letters of the Constitution” by political office holders were frequently sought and obtained judicially. Today, it is only the “letters of the Constitution” that are looked at, and even at that, their gross abuses no longer constitute “presidential and impeachable breaches” under the Buhari’s Presidency.
Another trigger of these social maladies is the corruption and bastardization of the country’s media industry by corrupt former and present political office holders particularly the print and electronic segments. Today, the referenced media segments have turned to propagandist or alarmist industry, oiling these monumental constitutional infractions with impunity. The roles of the mass media (sustenance of constitutional democracy, rule of law, good governance and human rights) contained in Sections 22 and 39 of the 1999 Constitution have brutally murdered.
We, therefore, call on the authorities of the Nigeria Police Force to investigate the riotous statement of Dr. Ibrahim Yakubu Lame and prosecute him for treason if found culpable. Even if he denies the riotous statement by reprobation; a common feature of the country’s political office holders; circumstances leading to its issuance or utterance, including where he made it, when he made it, who he made it to, the media he made it to and recording gadgets used, etc should be thoroughly investigated and popular findings made.
The riotous statement under reference is grossly repugnant to Section 1 (2) of the 1999 Constitution. By that Section, Nigeria or any part therefore shall not be governed outside the provisions of the 1999 Constitution. Dr. Yakubu Lame’s “emergency presidential powers” recommendation is totally extra constitutional and amounts to recommendation for a military coup or anarchist governance of Nigeria. We advise President Muhammadu Buhari again to follow at all times the dictates of the 1999 Constitution or step down inexcusably.
For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety)
Emeka Umeagbalasi, B.Sc. (Hons) Criminology & Security Studies
Uzochukwu, Oguejiofor-Nwonu, Esq., (LLB, BL), Head, Campaign & Publicity Department
Obianuju Igboeli, Esq., (LLB, BL), Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Program
Chiugo Onwuatuegwu, Esq., (LLB, BL), Head, Democracy & Good Governance Program