Abuja — The National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) has written to President Muhammadu Buhari over the rising security challenges in the country and canvassed as panacea, the return to the 1960 and 1963 Constitutions to replace the extant 1999 grundnorm, which it said the military imposed on Nigerians.
The pro-democracy group, which was in the vanguard of the clamour for the rebirth of democracy in Nigeria during the military regime of late Gen. Sani Abacha, leading to the return to civil rule in 1999, in an open letter to the president, pressed for the suspension of further elections until the country gets a new constitution.
The letter, dated June 15, 2021, and obtained by THISDAY, was signed by its General-Secretary, Mr. Ayo Opadokun.
Another letter by the group also dated June 15, 2021, and signed by Opadokun, to the Secretary-General, United Nations Organisation (UN), Mr. António Guterres, requested the global body's intervention to halt the fast deterioration of national security and political instability in Nigeria.
THISDAY also obtained a copy of the letter to the UN copied to the UN Security Council; the President of the United States; the Speaker of the Congress and Leader of the Senate of the United States; the European Union and European Parliament; the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and the House of Common and the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Buhari as well as the President of the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs of Nigeria.
NADECO, in the letter to the president, accused him of fuelling secessionist agitations through the "Fulanisation" policy of his administration and its disregard for the constitution.
It also decried the deterioration of national security and political instability under Buhari's administration.
It said: "Other than diminishing democracy to a virtual dictatorship, NADECO wonders by which Section of our Ill-founded and presently extremely beleaguered so-called the Federal Republic of Nigeria Constitution 1999 do the trio of your good self, Mr. President, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives aided by your hound dog, the Minister of Justice, public service officers all, with specific functions set out in the constitution, find the justification to judge yourselves entitled to jump uninvited, with decrying statements, into the compendium of frays between trespassing Fulani herdsmen and ancestral land owners exercising their primordial rights to decide whom they want or do not want on their lands."
NADECO said perhaps Buhari's interest in supporting the herdsmen was due to the fact of his being the patron of the Fulani herdsmen and cattle traders, (Miyetti Allah), making him to push for the suspension of land owners' rights "in awe of such trespassers."
It stated that it is such defence for especially preferred ethnicities that had led to the various discomfort experienced by other groups, including Ndigbo and the whole of the Middle Belt and Southern Nigeria, which now want to opt out of Nigeria.
NADECO argued that the growing secessionist tendencies in the country were fueled by what it called the obvious policy of Fulanisation and the president's refusal to discontinue the operation of the 1999 Constitution as altered.
It said: "In all the circumstances of this matter, NADECO has no alternative but to join in the insistence that there better be no more elections under the 1999 so-called federal constitution, until we return to the negotiated 1960 and 1963 federal constitutions to which Nigerians subscribed at independence and when we became a republic."
NADECO also expressed concern about the inequitable distribution of political posts between the North and the South, saying that out of the total of 360 House of Representatives members, the South has 169, while the North has 191.
It also decried the injustice in the distribution of oil revenue.
Citing the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics report of 2017, NADECO stated that the North-central receives 20 per cent of oil revenue and contributes 0.00 per cent, while the North-east receives 16 per cent and contributes 0.00 per cent.
It added that the North-west receives 21 per cent from the oil revenue and contributes 0.00 per cent.
NADECO said every month, the 19 Northern states receive a minimum of 57 per cent of 100 per cent of oil revenue to which they contribute 0.00 per cent.
According to it, the South-west receives 16 per cent, contributes 6.36 per cent, while South-east receives 11.00 per cent; contributes 3.12 per cent and South-South receives 16.00 per cent and contributes 70.64 per cent.
Working with the data from the office of the Accountant General of the Federation, as published by the Ministry of Finance (2013 April), NADECO stated that the 357 LGAs of the 17 Southern states received 45.1% and contributed 100 per cent, while the 419 LGAs of the 19 Northern states received 54. 9% and contributed 0.00 per cent.
NADECO added: "The foregoing narrative explains why the owners of Nigeria were not given the opportunity to participate in constitution-making whilst the Tables of Rights of the component parts of the country show the reasons why you, Mr. President, and your preferred citizens, will forever not allow Nigeria to go back to what was agreed and formed part of the independence constitution; making one Nigeria the biggest fraud ever."
NADECO decried what it regarded as the nepotism, ill-treatment, inequitable and unjust nature with which the Buhari administration has governed Nigeria.
It said since Section 6 of the 1999 Constitution ousted the jurisdiction of courts, there was no local Nigerian legal forum the entrapped ethnic nationalities who constitute the majority and are occupying four out of the six zones in the country can seek redress.
NADECO accused Buhari of rejecting all entreaties and appeals by eminent Nigerians and ethnic nationalities leaders for the country to return Nigeria to the independence constitution as negotiated by the founding fathers and upon which Nigeria sought membership of the United Nations, but would rather accuse the protagonists of seeking to break up the country whilst ridiculing and threatening them with the charge of secession.
It said it was based on this that it decided on behalf of Nigerians to put world leaders on notice through the open letter.
NADECO stated that it supported and endorsed the clarion call made by a former Minister of Defence, Lt. Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (rtd), and the 'Save Our Soul Plea' of the Ilana Omo Odua led by Prof. Banji Akintoye, asking Nigerians to exercise their rights of self-defence.
It said its reason was that the federal government had failed to fulfil its constitutional responsibility as contained in section 14 (2) (b) of the 1999 Constitution as altered, which states: "The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government."