The National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), a platform of distinguished Nigerians committed to securing and PROTECTING Democracy in Nigeria believes it is time once again to rise and defend democracy in our dear country. We are very troubled by recent national developments and are forced to issue this warning to all our compatriots that democracy is once again under threat in our nation!
A) THE EVENTS IN THE SOUTH-EAST AND IN PARTICULAR, ABIA STATE WHICH WAS INVADED WITH A LARGE CONTINGENT OF THE SOLDIERS AMOUNT TO AN UNCONSTITUTIONAL AND GRADUAL TAKEOVER OF POWER BY THE MILITARY:
On Sunday 10th of September, 2017, the Nigerian Armed Forces invaded South East Nigeria, and in particular Abia State with a large contingent of soldiers, armored tanks and other military paraphernalia. In Abia State, the soldiers invaded communities, tortured civilian population, over-awed the constitutionally elected governor and civil institutions of the state, and declared the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) a terrorist organization, in defiance of the judgment of the Federal High Court. All of these actions are unconstitutional and represent an illegal take-over of the functions of the National Assembly, the Abia State House of Assembly and the legal authorities.
The Army High Command has announced further that the “Operation Python Dance” will be a regular event and that another similar activity named “Operation Crocodile Smile” will be carried out in the South South and South West.
The actions of the Military, we restate are inconsistent with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and may be the beginning, if not checked, of the unwitting or witting subversion of democracy in Nigeria.
We therefore call for an urgent action by Nigerians to see to it that we put a stop to this gradual return to military rule. All lovers of democracy in Nigeria need to stand up and raise their voices against this retrogressive political development in our Country.
B) NADECO has long affirmed that the way to restore justice, equity and fair play to our polity is to return to True Federalism. It is rather unfortunate that some political actors are trying to confuse Nigerians regarding the true meaning of Federalism. This effort to misinform, especially by some political parties, is a dangerous play and deceitful ploy.
The 1959 and the 1963 Federal and Regional Constitutions of Nigeria described essentially what True Federalism is. For emphasis may we remind us what True Federalism means:
Independent Federating Units come together to form a Federation.
These Federating Units cede some of their powers and responsibilities to the Central Government.
The Federating Units provide the resources to run the services ceded to the Central Government.
The Federating Units maintain their autonomy to run their affairs without let or hindrance, outside those services or responsibilities they have collectively transferred to a Central Government.
That is True Federalism in short. But the problem with Nigeria, and what is causing all the agitations and instability, is that we have an inverted federation which the Military converted Nigeria to.
Here, it is now the Central Government (Federal) that is creating the Federating Units, they now collect all the resources and decide what to give to the Federating Units, they take all the powers and cede what they like to the so-called Federating Units. This is the problem.
All the cry for restructuring is simply to restore Nigeria Federation to a proper Federation. Why should this offend some people to the extent that they are now using every method including military incursion to prevent it?
Attention of All is here drawn to the undeniable fact that to date, No, repeat No, political Leader in/of the so-called North has done as much as the Sardauna; no political Leader in/of the so-called East has done more than Michael Okpara; and no political Leader in and of the West (mid-West inclusive) has done as much or more than Awolowo. If any “political Leader” has, let him or her rise and say so. Why was, why is that so? It is indisputably obvious that the structure (True Federalism) they were operating was a big, indeed the major foundational and contributory factor.
It is clear to us that unless Nigerians fully understand and address what is at stake, those who benefit from the continued instability of Nigeria will continue to create confusion and delay Nigeria from achieving its manifest destiny.
Rear Admiral Godwin N. Kanu (Rtd)
September 21, 2017
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