FEATURE ARTICLE

Tuesday, July 26, 2022
foborji@hotmail.com
Pontifical Urban University, Vatican City (Rome)
WHY REFERENDUM FOR SELF-DETERMINATION IS THE WAY-OUT (PART 1)
n 1948, in a speech titled, "The Lie Called Nigeria", Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa (who later became Nigeria's first Prime Minister at Independence in 1960), had this to say about the country's artificial unity:

"Since 1914 the British Government has been trying to make Nigeria into one country, but the Nigerian people themselves are historical different in their backgrounds, in their religious beliefs and customs and do not show themselves any signs of willingness to unite. - Nigerian unity is only a British invention." - (A Statement by Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa in "Legislative Council Debates" (Lagos 1948).

Our present article concludes Parts 1 and 2, of our previous article, entitled, "The Case for Biafra & Likes of Bishop Carlos Belo of East Timor." Our concern remains how to prevent another war of genocide in Nigeria. In the opening paragraph of his classified report, entitled, "The Britain Government and Biafra: The Case for Genocide", Auberon Waugh, has this to say:

"For long as any Christian, liberal or humanitarian tradition survives, the year 1968 will be remembered as the one in which a British government, for the first time in its history, was prepared to condone the mass starvation to death of millions of innocent Biafrans as a means of implementing one aspect of its peacetime foreign policy. Very few people in England have any awareness of the fact - like Germans after the war, they will be able to say that they did not know what was being done in their name."

Continuing, Auberon Waugh, said:

"The argument, with minor variations, is one which has sustained those who, for whatever reason, are so anxious to see Nigeria win and Nigerian unity maintained that they are prepared to support actual genocide as a means to these ends. It can only be upheld if one is prepared to accept, (1) that a people has no right whatever to determine its own nationhood, (2) that rebellion is so vile a crime that no punishment under the sun is too harsh for it (capital punishment is often described as the supreme penalty, but genocide is surely a degree supreme). And (3) that the case against the Biafran people is so unanswerable, and our interest in the matter is so overriding that we have no alternative but to offer ourselves in the role of assistants to the executioner." - Auberon Waugh, "The Britain Government and Biafra: The Case for Genocide" (published in "The Biafra Telegraph" Online Newspaper, September 5, 2016).

Unfortunately, it is because the world powers, international community and our gifted and well-positioned Christian Church leaders had failed to address the Biafra question (with sincerity, courage, audacity and determination), which was the first of its kind in the post-independent Africa, that is why we have gotten the Rwandan Genocide almost thirty years after the Biafra. Again, because African leadership, Ecclesiastical Authorities and the World Powers had failed to address the Biafra pogroms the way it should have, that is why we have gotten the Darfur and South Sudan genocides after Rwanda. Presently, the continent is witnessing with helplessness, similar situations in Southern Cameroun, Central African Republic, Somalia, Eritrea, and Ethiopia.

This is not to mention the intractable case of the Democratic Republic of Congo, among others. Presently, the gatekeepers of the Nigerian State have been waging, though silently, another war of ethnic-cleansings in the Southeast, against the Igbo Biafrans. Yet, the world centers of power, as always, pretend not to be aware.

Accept or reject it, Nigeria has been a theatre of blood and suffering for millions of its inhabitants since inception; and the only thing that can stop that carnage is not another political election or personnel changes. Rather, it is a permanent separation of its different components or ethnic entities, indigenous ethnic-nationalities, forcefully merged as one nation-state, in an unhappy marriage by the British, and called Nigeria. You cannot force persons who cannot stay together in a marriage to continue to remain in such an unhappy marriage. The problem of Nigeria is foundational, systematic and structural as it is historical and total. Only a referendum for self-determination is the way out.

Therefore, no number of political elections or personnel changes in Nigeria today is going to change what has been going on in the country all these years. No number of elections or personnel changes, conducted in Nigeria under this forced and unhappy marriage, and unhealthy political climate, the Jihadist's feudalistic mentality of those who have been piloting the affairs of the country since Independence in 1960, will ever resolve the problem of the country. Only referendum for self-determination is the best way to go about it.

As one author rightly said: "All our leaders from 1960s cannot be bad year after year, era after era…" There is nothing wrong with our leaders. They are not fake or adulterated leaders. We simply have a 'faulty foundation and a faulty structure that makes every action taken by a leader, favors one side, while antagonizing the other. The faulty foundation of Nigeria is the problem with the country.'

Again, it needs be said, 'Corruption is not our fundamental problem as many wrongly have interpreted Nigeria's problem.' No. The real problem with Nigeria is not corruption; "something is fuelling that corruption. Tribalism is not our main problem; something is fuelling that tribalism. Religious intolerance is not the basic problem; something is fuelling that religious intolerance. It is also not hate, or envy or anger; something is fuelling the hate, or envy or anger."

In other words, as a nation state, Nigeria has a faulty foundation, and a faulty political system and structure that makes the parts to be perpetually seeing one another as rivals and enemies bent on taking everything. As our history as a nation state has shown, our political leaders dance to the tune of such a music of a dysfunctional foundation and faulty structure. They embraced it religiously, live and abide by it.

The federal government uses military intimidation, brutality and recklessness against the citizens or against the dissenting ethnic-group to bully the people into living under such an unjust situation and political system. This is why regime after regime, elections after elections, we are always back to 'square-one' - to the valleys of darkness and lamentation as a nation state.

This is in spite of whoever emerges as the president - no matter how or from where such a president comes from. The problem with Nigeria has remained stagnant, malignant, disastrous and catastrophic to its inhabitants. In other words, like malignant cancer, Nigeria needs a clinical surgical operation that could remove the "tumour" to cure the cancer patient. Referendum for self-determination is that surgical operation Nigeria needs now more than ever. Nigeria needs to return to the drawing board, to its founding story, to the 'renegotiating-table.'

Elections or Personnel Changes Is NOT the Answer

The refusal of the gatekeepers of the Nigerian State to heed to this advice, to renegotiate the faulty foundation and fraudulent political system and structure underpinning Nigeria's checked history, is the most disturbing and worrisome fundamental problem with Nigeria. The gatekeepers of the Nigerian State and friends of Nigeria should know that as things are now, the only solution is referendum for self-determination of the endangered peoples of different indigenous ethnic populations and entities that make up the British colonial created contraption, called Nigeria.

This is the most cogent and important challenge facing the indigenous populations and Christians in Nigeria today, and not another fraudulent elections or personnel changes through the recycling of the same corrupt and self-serving politicians responsible for the mess in the country. Nigeria needs courageous, and detached leaders with moral probity, providentially, prepared to help its diverse component entities or rather the endangered populations of different indigenous ethnic-nationalities, navigate this conundrum, to conduct a referendum for their respective ethnic-nationalities or entities, clamoring for self-determination and independence. The struggle today, in Nigeria as in many other Sub-Saharan post-colonial African countries, is a struggle for a 'second-independence' from the domineering ethnic group/groups.

Ask any of the Presidential candidates of the major political parties campaigning for the 2023 election, how they are going to tackle any of those endemic problems besetting the Nigerian State? You will found out that none of them has any clear answer to give. So, the question is, 'what is wrong if they try first and put the house in order, correct the faulty foundation, liberate the oppressed populations of our different indigenous ethnic nationalities, and get the system changed through referendum for self-determination before going for election?'

But they won't do it. Because most people feel that the only way they can continue to remain relevance in the society and enjoy the loots that the corrupt Nigerian system, offers them, is by maintaining the faulty foundation and fraudulent political system and structure that have been holding the indigenous ethnic nationalities and peoples in bondage. All, in the name of maintaining the artificial Nigerian unity, the genocidal Nigeria-Biafra War slogan, "to keep Nigeria one is a task the must be done", or the deceptive statement, "Nigeria's unity is non-negotiable"! What a deceit of the devil? Instead of opting for referendum for self-determination to liberate the peoples of the different endangered indigenous ethnic nationalities in the country, you see them doing all sorts of embarrassing things during every election season and when in power, to keep the corrupt system going through the every four years 'ritual' of political elections or personnel changes.

The same failed politicians will be recycling themselves over, and over again, ad infinitum. That is, every four years through their fraudulent elections. In that way, the problem of Nigeria will have no end in view. Every political election conducted today in Nigeria, revalidates all that is wrong with the Nigerian State. Every four years political election conducted in Nigeria reinforces various kinds of suffering for the people in the country. Including, lopsided government, political instability, economic meltdown, government of mediocrity; corruption, underdevelopment, lack of basic social and civic amenities and infrastructures, rapid impoverishment of the masses, various kinds of sickness, unemployment, poor healthcare, underdeveloped educational sector; and especially, insecurity of lives and property. In fact, every political election in Nigeria brings about increase in the Islamists' and other forms of terrorism, herdsmen terrorism, kidnapping, banditry, military and police brutality, recklessness and impunity; as well as tribalism, religious intolerance, religious bigotry, ethnic-irredentism, ethnic-cleansings, etc.

Some people make the mistake of thinking that the problem of Nigeria is religion! No. Religion, like every other cultural element, though, a divisive element in the society that have the propensity of been manipulated by some crooked politicians and individuals in the society to cause violence or for a political ambition, is not the real problem with Nigeria. As I wrote elsewhere, the fact is that the modern world is NOT governed by religious principles or even sentiments. "The world as we live it today is controlled by politics of race (racism), ethnocentrism, and economic supremacy." The military supremacy and arrangement of the world's modern centers of power - including the so-called international organizations, 'drivers' of the globalization geopolitics, North-South Economic-divide, and the multinationals, giant companies; severe anti-immigration laws in the West; are all serving the neo-colonial project of the West and its allies in Africa and other parts of the Southern continents. They all are fashioned or rather, programed to serve the same purpose, protect those fundamental interests of the modern imperial nations, at the expense of African and other countries of the Southern continents.

Therefore, the enemy is not religion, if we can use that term. The real enemy and problem of the modern world and by extension, Nigeria, is the struggle for ethnic-supremacy, or rather, racial, ethnic politics and economic supremacy and domination; as well as the lust for power and ambitions of all those presumed most favored ethnic-groups, superior races that control the world modern centers of power. As well as their spinoffs, local agents, they have put in-charge of the governmental affairs of the respective nation-states in Africa or elsewhere.

In the African context, in general, for example, it is no longer secret that the world centers of power, which often pretend to be friends of Africa, have never supported indigenous peoples for self-determination! Yes. Of course, self-determination as a fundamental human and peoples' right for indigenous peoples all over the world, was recently, recognized in the United Nations Conventions and even in the African Union's Charter. However, that is where it ends! Recent history tells us that the world centers of power have always worked against the emergence of any indigenous ethnic-nationalities or people in Africa as a sovereign and independent nation-state on its own right.

This is despite the fact that what we call states or countries in Europe today, without exception, so to say, are indeed, ethnic-based. None of the modern day Western European countries, for example, in the correct sense of the word, is a multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-linguistic independent heterogeneous nation-state. Each one of them is ethnic-based! While in Africa, they want us to remain underdeveloped by encouraging and enforcing on us those unrealistic colonial boundaries that never respected our natural and cultural boundaries as Africans of different and divergent ethnic nationalities. The fundamental cause of the conflicts and crisis that bedevils the post-colonial African nation states.

The Intrigues of 2023 Election/Personnel Changes Mantra

Since the buildup for the 2023 election, most people have put more energy campaigning for people to get their Private Voter's Card, the "almighty" PVC. Believing that PVC is what will do the miracle, come the Election Day, 2023. The most embarrassing aspect of it all is that our clergymen and some highly placed Christian religious leaders are the ones leading the 'get your PVC' campaign. Some priests have gone to the extent of making PVC, a condition for receiving the Sacrament of the Holy Communion for their parishioners.

Thank God, the Ecclesiastical Authorities had to caution such priests about denying Holy Communion to the faithful because of PVC. Even as we speak, most of our clergymen spend more time campaigning openly, in their churches or through the social media, for their preferred Presidential candidate in the 2023 election, than the time they are supposed to spend in their pastoral work and social development of their parish community. Not many have taken time to reflect deeper and go beyond the 'Greek-gift' that every political election conducted in Nigeria offers to the future of the inhabitants of the land! That tells you the type of damage Nigerian State has done to the brain of every average inhabitant of this land. It is a pity!

By the way, how do you think your Private Voter's Card, PVC, or even your votes during the forthcoming 2023 "fraudulent" Presidential election is going to count, or is going to change anything in Nigeria, where both the PVC and Independent Electoral Commission, INEC (that is anything but independent), are controlled by the same people, the same ethnic-group and religion? Who themselves, are kinsmen of all those major Muslim terrorist groups and killer-herdsmen responsible for the current terrorist activities, kidnapping, banditry, killings and destruction, as well as military and police impunity and brutality going on in different parts of the country?

Furthermore, just look at how people from certain geopolitical zone, are disenfranchised and harassed by the security operatives and in the distribution of the PVC materials during the current ongoing voter's cards registration and verification exercise nationwide. That tells you how free and fair your much-priced 2023 Presidential election is going to be. Already, from experience, people from the Southeast resident in other parts of the country, especially, in the North and Southwestern city of Lagos, etc., are disenfranchised during this current PVC registration exercise, and in the past, at the polling stations in those places, and therefore, not allowed to vote freely as should. In this case, of what use is your PVC, if you are from the Eastern part of the country but resident in the North or Lagos, you are not to exercise your franchise because of your ethnicity and state of origin, during election at the polling stations or during the PVC registration and verification exercise?

Again, have you ever heard the present federal government, Aso Rock, or security operatives condemn vehemently or go after any of those Islamist terrorists from Northern Nigeria or killer-herdsmen responsible for the killings, kidnapping, banditry and destructions of innocent lives of civilians, Christians and Indigenous ethnic populations and communities in the country? Moreover, do you think that if a Christian President is elected in 2023, he is going to go after any Northern Muslim and Fulani Islamists and terrorists killing Nigerians and destroying our communities and farmlands? Who is that Christian President of Nigeria that will dare go after members or sponsors of any of these Northern Nigeria-based Muslim terrorist groups, bandits and killer-herdsmen?

Put bluntly, any of the three Presidential candidates of the three major political parties, APC, PDP, and Labor Party, or what have you, becoming the President of Nigeria tomorrow cannot guarantee your life and security of your property in Nigeria! None of them as President of Nigeria is going to stop the Boko Haram, ISIS-ISWAP insurgency, and Fulani herdsmen terrorism, kidnapping, banditry, killings of innocent civilians happening in Nigeria! Moreover, if a Christian wins the election, or even a moderate Muslim candidate that is not of the choice of the gatekeepers of the Nigerian State, as Atiku won the election last time in 2019, what makes you think they are going to give it to him? How are you sure that the person at the head of INEC is going to behave and do the right thing, especially, if a candidate from the Southeastern Nigeria, for example, wins the 2023 election?

Therefore, the only solution is for us to go back to the drawing board! That is, to the founding story of Nigeria, renegotiate the Nigerian State, and conduct a referendum for self-determination of those ethnic nationalities that may wish to opt out and form their own separate independent sovereign states, so that we all can begin to relate well as neighbors and not enemies.

Today, as never before, Nigeria as a nation-state is crying out for renegotiation and referendum for self-determination of the endangered populations of different indigenous ethnic-nationalities that constitute the British colonial created contraption. This is because, your PVC or even election of a Christian or Muslim from the South as President, or a moderate Fulani Muslim from the North of the country, cannot put a stop to any of these ugly things happening in the country. That is, Islamists' insurgency, herdsmen terrorism, kidnapping, banditry, killing and destruction of lives and property of Christians and peoples of different Indigenous ethnic communities in the country.

Again, a Christian or Muslim candidate becoming the President of Nigeria today or tomorrow, tell me, will he as a President, going to affect any change on the military and police; that is, sack all the Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorist members that have infiltrated the Nigerian security forces, military, police, DSS, and all the paramilitary establishments in the country? Will a Christian or moderate Muslim candidate becoming President tomorrow, stop the Fulani from controlling the three-arms of the Federal Government, Executive, Legislative and Judiciary; as well as the country's security apparatus, Military and Police, DSS, all the Paramilitaries, and what have you?

Will a Christian or Muslim (whether from the North or South), becoming President tomorrow, change the Northern Nigeria Muslim preponderance and control of the National Assembly (Senate and House of Representatives), or the Judiciary? Tell me, if a Christian from the Southeast (or even any part of the South), for example, becomes the President tomorrow, with what majority of lawmakers in the National Assembly, is he going to work with? Is it this National Assembly dominated by the Muslim and Fulani North? How many legislators in the National Assembly are going to support the Nigerian President of Southeastern extraction? How would a Nigerian President from the Southeast (or any part of Igboland and Eastern Nigeria), function as President under the present fraudulent and lopsided structure and political system of Nigeria, where the Southeast geopolitical zone is the most shortchanged and dwarfed? And the National Assembly itself, is by far, controlled by the Fulani and the Northern majority lawmakers, with their Islamic Sharia law mentality and mindset?

Under what platform or political climate then is the Christian President from the Southeast going to function, assuming that election takes place in 2023, and the Fulani Oligarchy and British allow him to be proclaimed "elected" President in 2023, which we know will never happen? Assuming the Christian Presidential candidate from the Southeast or Eastern Nigeria wins the election; tell me how he is going to function under such a lopsided, fraudulent structure and political system, without having majority members of both his political party and geopolitical zone in both Chambers of the National Assembly, Senate and House of Representatives?

What of the other arm of the federal government, the Judiciary; that in case of electoral disputes is the arbitrator? Because the Nigerian State has been so lopsidedly, structured, ab initio, that the same dominant ethno-religious group from the North that controls the Executive and Legislative arms of the federal government, also controls the judiciary. We all witnessed what happened to the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Walter Onneghen, how he was unconstitutionally, and disgracefully removed from office by President Buhari, and replaced by a Northern Fulani Judge, expert in Sharia Islamic jurisprudence, and not even in common law that is enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution. What of the case of Imo State governorship election in 2019? Where the duly elected governor Emeka Ihedioha was removed, and replaced with someone that came fourth in the election, a 'stooge' of the Caliphate; thanks to the miscarriage ruling of the same Caliphate-controlled Supreme Court?

Moreover, will a Christian President from the Southeast or any part of the country, dare venture into reopening the long closed International Seaports in Port Harcourt, Calabar and Warri for the people of the former Eastern region (Biafraland)? What of location or rather construction of International Airports, Railway lines, Road Highways (of international standard) in the Southeast! Will any Christian Presidential candidate from the Southeast dare change the tide of things in this regard if such a person becomes President of Nigeria in 2023?

What of the imbalance in the military and police operatives' composition, intakes and appointments? The lack of decentralization of security operatives' structure and apparatus in the country, the lopsided arrangement in states creation within the federation that shortchanged the Igbo people of the Southeast geopolitical zone? The same lopsided arrangement blankets the so-called "Exclusive Lists" in infrastructural and economic development; the federal revenue allocation formula, appointments into federal government offices, companies and parastatals; and so forth. Will any Christian President from the Southeast or any part of the country, ever dare touch this existing unjust structure and discriminatory system of the Nigerian Federation in its relation to the Igbo people of the Southeast geopolitical zone? That is, in any of these vital sectors of Nigeria's governance culture, which as we all know, contradicts the principle of federal character as enshrined in 1999 Nigerian Constitution, as amended?

Therefore, better not allow yourselves be deceived by those whose only interest, is to use the name of a Christian from the Southeast on the ballot paper for the 2023 Presidential election, to deceive the gullible, in order to validate Nigeria's fraudulent election and our collective continued enslavement in the British contraption!

In other words, we shall continue to deceive ourselves as a people, thinking that one's voter's card, PVC or participation in the every four years 'ritual' of the fraudulent political election in Nigeria under the present faulty foundation and political system and structure, is going to change anything in the country! Not at all! Rather if the 2023 election, for example, is allowed to take place at all, the event of the genocidal Nigeria-Biafra War (1967-1970), and the present Islamist carnage, Boko Haram, ISIS-ISWAP insurgency, and Fulani herdsmen terrorism in the country, happening under the watch of the present administration, may have no end in view! God forbids!

Conclusion

There is no favorable environment for any political election to hold in Nigeria today. A country where every election is a matter of life or death is not only not a country, but a death trap for its inhabitants. We need to have a country first, before we can talk of conducting an election. Election needs to be conducted under a free and favorable, conducive political and democratic environment. For the moment, Nigeria is not such a country.

Nigeria lacks the fundamental requirements to be called a country or state; and therefore, it has not favorable political environment today for any credible and purposeful political election to hold. That is, Nigeria lacks the basic requirements for a nation-state, or hold any credible election. Nigeria has no strong political institutions and stability. The country is not yet governed strictly, by rule of law and order. Neither is it yet been monitored by well informed, disciplined, conscientious, and politically conscious citizens; or a people that share the same value system, philosophy of life; have one dominant religion, language, culture and a shared ancestral history as a people. Only when Nigeria transforms itself, or helps in creating such nation-state or nation states of out itself, will all these talks about elections or personnel changes, begin to make a sense.

We need to have a country first, a truly nation state/states, we can really call our own and home, before we can talk of conducting an election to change personnel in the country's political leadership structure. For the time being, Nigeria is NOT such a country, has never been, and will hardly be. Because, Nigeria, in the first place, was never created by the British to succeed as a nation-state, but rather to be behaving like it is behaving all these years of its creation, since the Amalgamation of the Southern and Northern Protectorates by the British in 1914, and especially, since Nigeria's flag independence in 1960. This is the crux of the matter!

TO BE CONTINUED

Continued in Part 2

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