It will be recalled that by an Open Memorandum dated May 14, 2018, addressed to the Ohanaeze Conveners of the Restructuring Summit and titled, “UNDERSTANDING THE OBJECTION OF THE EASTERN NIGERIA SELF-DETERMINATION COLLECTIVE TO ANY “RESTRUCTURING” THAT WILL BE DEPENDENT ON AMENDMENTS TO THE 1999 CONSTITUTION”, the Lower Niger Congress dissected the core issues driving the disputations between Proponents of Self-Determination in the Greater Eastern Nigeria and those canvassing the Restructuring of Nigeria, in the hope that the illumination offered by that Open Memorandum would bridge the gap between the two sides.
Considering the Countrywide support for the Reconfiguration of the present Constitutional Architecture of Nigeria, the focus of that Open Memorandum was on the appropriate mechanism for approaching that now-inevitable Constitutional Reconstruction Undertaking.
The Awka Restructuring Summit which took place May 21, 2018 issued what it called as the “EKWUEME SQUARE DECLARATION” which it described as a Consensus Position of the Igbo on the raging debate about the future of the wobbling Federation of Nigeria.
Those who do not understand the key issues at stake may be hoodwinked by the CONTENTS of what Ohanaeze articulated in the Awka Summit as what the Igbo want in the failed Federation of Nigeria.
Where the problem lies however, is in the PROCESS for seeking the attainment of those lofty Proclamations.
It is the PROCESS that will dictate the HOW and the WHEN of attaining the Goals listed in the Proclamations.
Despite the intensive efforts of the LNC and the ADF to get Ohanaeze to shift to the side of where the Igbo wish to go next in the toxic and fractured Nigerian Federation, Ohanaeze adamantly stuck with the Script that serve the interests of One-Nigeria as against the Strategic Interests of the Igbo it claims to represent and speak for.
It may sound great to declare “Restructuring”, “New Constitution” and the like. The Question is : WHO WILL DO THESE THINGS FOR THE IGBO AND WHEN?
If as captured in the Ekwueme Square Declaration, Ohanaeze now has now joined the Igbo rejection the 1999 Constitution as the basis of Nigeria, is it difficult for it to interpret that situation as the rejection of the badly flawed Nigerian Union erected and defined by that Constitution (for which reason a large segment of the Igbo Populace, especially the angry younger generation, seek a future outside the Nigerian Union, the Agitation for which has been framed as “Biafra Restoration” by the more radical wing of the agitation) ?
Is it difficult for Ohanaeze to realize that the first order of business in the present situation is a Referendum to allow the People entrapped into the Union of Death and Attrition, to decide : First, WHETHER THEY WANT TO CONTINUE IN THE UNION OF NIGERIA and Secondly, if the answer to the first Question is yes, , ON WHAT TERMS THEY WISH TO SO CONTINUE.
After many months of direct engagements with the Conveners of the Awka Summit, it is clear to the LNC that Ohanaeze consciously decided to CIRCUMVENT this all-important First-Question of Whether or Not the Igbo wish to continue in the toxic Union of Nigeria, before the secondary Question of the Terms of the Union which is where the matter of “New Constitution” and “Restructuring” fit in.
Those who do not understand the gravity of the mischief being done by those who are desperately circumventing that First-Question may continue to applaud the Ekwueme Square Declaration in ignorance while the Caliphate enemy is aided by this Ohanaeze Model of Restructuring to get to another Election in 2019 under the Master-Servant 1999 Constitution which it imposed in utter negation of the Self-Determination Rights of Constituent Components of the rest of Nigeria, designed to to enslave the rest of the Country.
It is in this regard that Ohanaeze presents itself, (even if unwittingly), as working for the Caliphate enemy, to the extent that everything prescribed in the Ekwueme Square Declaration, REST EXCLUSIVELY IN THE HANDS OF THE ENEMY TO DO OR NOT TO DO FOR US, WHENEVER AND HOWEVER THEY CHOOSE”
On the other hand, the Prescriptions of the LNC on the same subject matter, already being worked to its logical conclusion, within its Grand Script on Self-Determination, puts everything we need to do in self-redemption, in our own hands, to do, in the time and manner we choose to do them, (requiring the some kind of peer review with our co-entrapped travelers in the doomed Lugardian Voyage that began in 1914).
What Ohanaeze has done, was deliberately done to maintain the pretense that they are championing the extrication of our People from the misery codenamed “Nigeria”, while in reality, they are railroading us to a cut-de-sac as People in a manner that leave our fate and future entirely in the hands of our conquerors.
Fortunately, at this stage, the Awka Summit Declaration is at best a Proposal by Ohanaeze on how the Igbo should navigate the turbulent waters of a Nigeria that is heading into deeper and more tempestuous waters.
In the days ahead, a wider interrogation of the Ekwueme Square Declaration by all Stakeholders may yet bring the two sides to common-grounds in terms of the Two Key Question of the WHETHER and the HOW, for continuing in the defunct Federation of Nigeria which collapsed since 1966.
The claim of wide consultations and consensus is simply untenable, even going by what transpired on the May 8, 2018 Imeobi Meeting at which the Conveners attempted to sell the Draft Ohanaeze had in mind for the Summit Awka.
It is also instructive to note that Final Draft of what was Presented in Awka was not made available to the key organizations named by Ohanaeze as being in endorsement of the Declaration including the Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF), Nzuko Umunna and the World Igbo Congress (WIC) prior to the Public Presentation in Awka. Our understanding of a Consensus is that the Draft was the Final Basis.
We consider premature and unnecessary to engage with the specific prescriptions of the Declaration such as creation of One more State for the so-called South East as well as the Structures and Tiers of Governance for the Union. Such must wait for when the important preliminary Questions as encapsulated herein are taken up dealt with.
Apart from the usual lamentations and preambles about the inverted Federation that has been imposed in place of the Federation we agreed upon at Independence, the closet the the Summit came to broaching the real concerns of the Igbo was where it mentioned the need to Convene a Constitutional Conference to decide the future of the flailing Federation of Nigeria.
The Lower Niger Congress posits that in the face of the widespread repudiation of the fraudulent 1999 Constitution by the Constituent Components of Nigeria, what the proprietors of the current, disputed Nigeria have to do now, if it wishes to avert a disorderly and unceremonious collapse of the now very weak and most rickety Federation is to, is to borrow the Template of what South Africa did in 1999 under President Frederick W De Klerk, to transit itself away from the Master-Servant Apartheid Constitutional Order. Accordingly, the first order of business will be to suspend and defer all further National Elections Planned under the rejected 1999 Constitution especially the one advertised for2019, and set in motion process with Constituent Powers to deal with the Sovereignty Issues thrown up by the demise of the current 1999 Constitution, whilst keeping the Existing Governance Structures in a Transitional Capacity for the period of the Constitutional Reconstruction, just like South Africa did during the period of its CODESA-driven Transitioning.
Anything less leaves the situation wide open to uncoordinated unilateral Regional actions in self-redemption.
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Lower Niger Congress
May 22, 2018