Letter To President Buhari--Economic And Political Synergy
This Letter is a response to the myriad of issues facing Nigeria under your Presidency especially now that your efforts at curbing corruption are really revealing the depth to which the malaise had crept into Nigeria’s body politic. This is aggravated by the recent disclosure about top civil servants conniving to sabotage the 2016 national budget to satisfy their corrupt appetite and aspirations, in an emphatic revelation of the descent of the entire state apparati into the cesspit of corruption.
Needless to say, all of these point to the imperative of CHOICE between a maintenance of the current political order or CHANGE of the structures of governance. We do recall that as an aspirant as well as the leader of the party in power, you did promise CHANGE for which reason APC is popularly referred to as the Party of Change.
While the efforts to sanitize Nigeria’s finances and retrieve stolen monies are commendable, Egbe Omo Oduduwa says that the simultaneous pursuit of both the economic and the political components of Change is the surest guarantee against a subversion of the promise of CHANGE. Your Administration must do no less.
Nigeria’s entire political structure was and is still based on an economy which is no longer able to support that structure. All of the efforts by your administration at economic diversification will come to naught if a substantial part of its dividends are applied towards the maintenance of those structures. The central issue has to do with the raison d’etre of the STRUCTURE and not the slashing of salaries and allowances.
Today’s global economic reality clearly show that a country’s economic buoyancy is determined by her ability to not only compete within the global space, but also her ability to determine the content and context of her economic activities. Thus, when the economic aspirations are not in tune with the political architecture, the synergy for development will be lacking.
Egbe Omo Oduduwa posits that Nigeria’s economic diversification will be meaningful only if it proceeds from the standpoint of combined political and economic reordering as a fundamental necessity.
While all the world’s geo-political territories are one way or the other engaged in redefining their global positioning, Africa is still stuck in maintaining its colonial legacies, primarily based on the negation of the Peoples as drivers of their economic destinies thus making Africa a developmental dump-site where all sorts of experimentation that cannot support any form of development are carried out, all based on aspirations to accumulate foreign reserves or attract foreign investments with political structures that are fundamentally at variance with the real developmental needs of the Peoples.
This you can see from the pressures being piled on the NAIRA, which has been on-going for the past 30 years without a respite in sight. Our ability to manage financial resources without regard to the ends of development becomes a pursuit of an end in itself. All your noble efforts to ensure prudence, savings, sanitation of the economy and “diversification” without corresponding political coordinates will become mere statistics that do not reflect on the lives of our peoples.
The relationship between the political and the economic can be seen in the abolition of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade because of its continuous economic unviability culminating politically in direct colonialism which itself succumbed to the anti-colonial “Wind of Change” in order to avoid the economic collapse of the colonizing countries. It is also clearly indicated in the coming into being of Nigeria vide the 1914 Amalgamation which was informed by economic necessity. In each of these instances, the political and economic solutions were simultaneously engaged where one became a consequence of the other.
Can we act differently in today’s Nigeria? When the country “diversifies” through any economic activity, and assuming that it succeeds, would its proceeds go toward sustaining the extant political structures? Doing so would defeat the purpose of diversification, more so when these political structures have become so entrenched in corrupting the State Apparatus and becoming clogs in the wheels of our desire for Development.
Nigeria is now faced with two choices: Your Administration can proceed on its anti-corruption/diversification course while utilizing/maintaining/challenging the corrupt and corruptive structures of the State, resulting in your Administration’s continuous political fights, with all of its uncertainties, including, but not limited to, the emergence of new political formations, alliances or tendencies anchored on perceived political lapses and/or manipulations, the end result being neither economic nor political freedom, which the pursuit of Change demands. On the other hand, diversification, as an economic necessity must involve “diversification” of the political system; meaning, economic proceeds cannot be used to sustain extant structures but must create its own political structures for the necessary synergy to apply.
There is no room for a military attempt at consolidating or promoting any change process, either in the form of fighting corruption or economic diversification, not in the least because the military, as an institution, was and is directly responsible for Nigeria’s current state of affairs and cannot be expected to provide any solution as the problem cannot be the solution. You and some members of your Administration had, at one time or the other, participated in the Institution’s incursions and it is our belief that lessons have been learnt. This does not imply that a “military solution” may not be attempted but we are certain that it will only compound the problem rather than resolve it.
The question your Administration faces thus becomes the Constitutionality of any political action you may want to take. Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution, with a preamble falsely anchored on “We, the People” cannot operate outside the manifest interest of the Peoples of Nigeria. Accepted that this Preamble does not, by itself, grant any powers and rights not specified in the Constitution; its being a statement of the principles in this Constitution means it cannot also be based on a false premise.
That such a premise as “We The People” is false implies that the entire principles, powers and rights it purports to embody are also false since “We, The People” had no hand in its making, directly or indirectly, being a product of military fiat which was not acting and did not act on behalf of “We, The People”, even as by so doing, the producers of the Constitution unwittingly affirmed the Peoples’ sovereignty.
This false preamble only means, on the one hand, not binding on “We, The People” on whose behalf such an assumption was made. On the other hand, “We, The People” need to exercise our right to correct this anomaly by ensuring that the Constitution is indeed a product of “We, The People”, the only guarantee of its legitimacy.
Since no such authority was delegated to the military, it implies that at any and all times, only “We, The People” have the power and the right to make, amend or change the Constitution, partially or in its entirety and such powers and rights cannot be circumscribed by whatever provisions contained therein once the “We, The People”, on our own initiative, decide to express ourselves and make any changes, to the extent of overriding whatever provisions that had been provided for any changes at any time, based on the exclusivity of the rights of “We, The People” to always have the ability and the need to make such decisions, partially or wholly, and at any point in time, thus voiding all the two-thirds of states and National Assembly provisions for its amendment; especially when the National Assembly itself has serially abused the Constitution.
Consequently any effort at political changes cannot be limited or circumscribed by the provisions of this Constitution and your Administration’s way out of the quagmire is the enablement of Peoples Constituent Assemblies among the various Peoples and Nationalities within Nigeria organized along Regional or Zonal geo-political lines. The outcome of their deliberations and proceedings would be tabled for acceptance or rejection at Regional Referenda which must have been enabled by Executive Order.
This would lead to the replacement of the National Assembly with a single House of Representatives and creation of a National Federal Council, with equal representation from the Federating Regions, regardless of size, entrusted with choosing/electing/selecting a Head of State/Head of Government.
Furthermore, your Administration’s current attempt at retrieving stolen monies would gain more traction when those who have partaken in the sharing of our monies and have so far refused to refund same would be handed over to their Federating Regions with the shared monies becoming the Region’s debt to the Federation, which can be either in totality or as a negotiated percentage. It will be left for the Region to find any means necessary to retrieve or choose to pay the debt; with the Federal Government empowered to collect its debt from the Federating Region by any means at its disposal.
For the Peoples Constituent Assemblies, the Movement for National Re-Formation(MNR) has what can serve as a template, a Federation of 18 Regions out of which 12 would be mono-nationality with 6 being multi-nationality based on the equality of all the nationalities, regardless of size, as well as being autonomous federating units of equal value to the whole.
Mono-nationality Federation Ibibio
Federation,Ijaw,Igbo,Urhobo,Edo,Yoruba,Nupe,Tiv,Gbagyi,Hausa,Fulah,Kanuri. Multi-nationality regions: (i) A federation comprising minority nationalities in Cross River and Akwa Ibom states (i.e. Eket, Annang, Oron, Ibeno, Efik, Ejagbam, Korop, Boki, Bakwara, Yakurr, Yala). (ii) A federation comprising the minority nationalities in Rivers and Bayelsa states (i.e. Ikwerre, Etchei, Ekpeeye, Engeni, Ogba, Eleme, Ndoni, Ogoni, and Andoni). (iii) A federation comprising the minority nationalities in Delta State (i.e. Ika, Ndokwa, Warri, Isoko). (iv) A federation comprising the minority nationalities in West Middle Belt, i.e. Zuru, Kambari, Bariba, Bussa, Karekare, Ngizim, Angamo, Bola, Funne, etc. (v) A federation comprising the minority nationalities in Central Middle Belt, i.e.: (a) Ebira Group: Ebira, Uku, Ebira-Ugu, Ebira-Panda, Etuno-Igarra, Ebira Mozun, Bassa-Nge. (b) Igala Group (c) Upper Benue Group: Alago Eggon, Gwandara, Mada, Kakanda, Mighili, Bassa-Komu, Ninzom, Arum etc. (vi) A federation comprising the minority nationalities in East Middle Belt, i.e. (a) Plateau Group: Ngas, Berom, Afezere Taroh, Goemai, Nmavo – Jukun, Amu, Pyem, Youn etc. (b) Taraba Group: Chamba, Jukun, Kuteb, Mambila, Kona, Kunni, Kaanab, Ndoro, Abakwa, Mumuye, Yububen, etc. (c) Savanna Group: Bura, Tangale – Waja, Bachama, Manghi, Kilba, Yungu, Mwanna, Bwazza Mbula, etc.
The quest to redeem Nigeria deserves and demands no less.
Thank you, Sir.
Shenge Rahman Akanbi, Femi Odedeyi
For and on behalf of Egbe Omo Oduduwa