Things fall apart, when the center can no longer hold. Patriotism can only be if and when the people know that they decided how they should be governed. True federalism in Nigeria would remain a mirage till the constitution have the backing of the people. And to those that think amendment of the constitution is the only way out, they should wake up from their slumber for it is of no significance to put a new wine in an old wineskin. Without a Sovereign National Conference to determine the way forward Nigeria would fall apart, since the center can no longer hold.
A nation like Nigeria where it has become abundantly evident that the constitution has a fundamental defect and given that defect, the nation has not progressed in the interest of the nationals, it’s only proper that the ethnic nationalities that constitute the nation come together to chart a new course for her. This is not alien to Africa, neither is it to the world at large. Our neighbors, Benin, in 1990 succeeded in convening SNC, and from the Southern part of Africa, SA has had their own fair experience in 1991. You’d agree with me that these countries have become better as a result of the SNC.
The reason the SNC is being considered via ethnic origin is the fact that Nigeria is a nation made up of diverse ethnic nationalities. This is not to say there would be preferential treatment given to some ethnic groups over others or that other organizations that does not have ethnic colorations would not be given their place to contribute their quota. National integration is what the SNC seeks to achieve, so the likes of Obama can thrive here. But first, they must meet to decide the way forward, since the problem facing Nigeria has ethnic and religious undertone.
Some people have come forward with the argument that, the basis upon which the SNC would be convened would prove a very difficult task. According to them, what would be the basis for representation? Some people would chose to be represented on an individual basis and that would make it impossible to convene a meeting. And that there are those who also see the nation disintegrating if a meeting of such is convened.
My response is that, individuality has never benefited anyone in the existence of humanity. Since the creation of nationhood it has always been collectivity that stood as the factor that necessitated for the formation of nations the world over. All the nationalists Nigeria has ever had, no not one became what he or she became on the basis of being an individual. They all rose on the back of their ethnic nationalities. Is it Awolowo, Azikiwe, or Balewa – these trio and others like them could not have achieved their mark if not for their ethnic nationalities. And with respect to the nation disintegrating, who are those that are afraid of a possible disintegration if they convene a Sovereign National Conference? If these people are an insignificant minority that should only have their say and not their way, why should we care about them? In other words, why are they an issue? And if they are strong, notwithstanding their numbers, then it is clear they are those that have forced this marriage called Nigeria and benefiting from the status quo.
My candid and dispassionate opinion should not be misconstrued for an anti-Nigerian but someone who has a very clear vision of what life should be like.
Until there is freedom to either remain or leave a marriage, that marriage remains a failed one, and to say it never should have happened is not far from the truth.
My response to the suit instituted by Wole Soyinka for the court to set the constitution aside and make it null and void, since it did not meet the process of making a constitution:
The singular fact that the constitution came without the sovereignty of the people makes the constitution null and void and of no effect to the very people whom the sovereignty rest with.
You do not expect the court to set aside the very document that gives it legal backing.
Late Gani of blessed memory tried all he could, notwithstanding his legal might, he did not succeed to change the system that is not even as strong as the constitution via the courts. Wole Soyinka should have known better that you don’t engage the killer of your father in a fight if you’re not as strong as your father or even stronger.
The way out is the people demanding for a Sovereign National Conference. The people are stronger than the constitution and not the other way round. The people are not made for the constitution, it is the constitution that’s made for the people, and if the people demand a change of the constitution, there ain’t a thing anybody can do about it. Believe me.
I’m not surprised at the way Nigeria is being governed, for I know the majority of those we call or that call themselves leaders are a collection of a bunch of educated illiterate. I know it would take so much time, that’s if it happens in our lifetime to see visionary, inspirational, competent, responsible and responsive leaders at the hem of affairs in Nigeria. We need a rebirth of an unprecedented magnitude to see this happen. And that rebirth can only be possible via a Sovereign National Conference that would produce a brand new constitution that would engender patriotism.
May God bless/help/save Nigeria and Nigerians!