Agbakoba Faults Osinbajo, Ohanaeze’s Position on Nigerian Sovereignty, Says it’s Not Sacrosanct

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• Alleges politicians attitude created IPOB leader, Kanu
Sunday Okobi
Human rights lawyer, Mr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), has faulted the recent declaration by the presidency, prominent politicians and various groups in the country that Nigerian sovereignty is non-negotiable, insisting that Nigerian unity is not sacrosanct, and that no unit of the government or group has the right to force people of diverse culture and views to co-exist.

Agbakoba who also blamed politicians for the emergence of people like the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, lamented that the Nigerian system is not working, adding that the system is not even attractive to call for coexistence.

At a press conference in Lagos yesterday, the lawyer faulted the acting President Yemi Osinbajo for declaring that Nigeria is indissoluble, adding that there’s nothing sacrosanct about Nigeria unity, and that it (the country) can blow up any day going by different agitations and resentment going on in the country. “My point is that you can’t force sovereignty; you can’t force people to live together, the people must be included in the process of things,” he stated.

 According to him, “Presently, Nigeria is in a big problem-recession, poverty, decaying infrastructure, Biafra, Ijaws/Itsekiris, Boko Haram, Arewa, Oduduwa group among others-Nigeria is in absolute tatters. But it is important to ask what’s the way forward is. Every Nigerian politician is calling for restructuring, but I disagree, because I think there’s a conception irony in assuming that restructuring would work or solve the myriad of problems we have. I think the acting president was wrong to say that Nigeria is indissoluble; there’s nothing sacrosanct about Nigeria, it can blow up any day, it is an artificial creation that happened in 1914, and when it was amalgamated, we were not there.

“Nigeria was amalgamated for the interest of the colonialists who wanted to export things from the then nation, and since 1914, we had not had any ‘Octotonous’, meaning we have not had any home-grown process in which the people are involved in the creation of their constitution, and that is our problem, so to just go to restructuring without asking some key questions is fundamentally flawed.

 He further stated that surprisingly, Nigeria has been in this since 1914.
“In that year, the colonial masters deceived us, and when they saw that it wasn’t more relevant, they engineered colonially Independence constitution which has nothing to do with us, which eventually collapsed. The military came in, and when they found out that it wasn’t possible to retain power, they created a military-generated constitution of 1999. Which one of these constitutions represents the people?”

Agbakoba posited that the sovereignty of Nigeria is only sacrosanct for politicians eyeing the 2019 elections, stating that “they will deceive us again till 2019; pretend that restructuring is the issue just to climb the band-wagon of popularism (imagine Obasanjo, Babangida talking about restructuring, what did they do when they had power?). Painfully, Nigerians are always taken in by these leaders. We are so gullible in Nigeria; about 160 million people unemployed, no health care system, no good road, nothing is working, yet we are being deceived by these people. So these are part of the works to be done by the civil society.

 He noted that all these laxities and nonchalance about the people have also given the IPOB leader, Kanu, the platform to spring out from nowhere.
The senior advocate osaid he has nothing personally against Kanu, except that he must agitate in accordance with the Nigerian law. He stated that what the IPOB leader is doing is called ‘self-determination’ and it is recognised in the United Nation Charter just like the Catalans in Spain.

 He said: “Therefore, there’s nothing that stops any ethnic group in Nigerian from seeking self-determination if they organise themselves in the context of the Nigerian law. There is definitely nothing sacrosanct about Nigerian sovereignty. The missing point is that Nigerians have failed to question the sacrosanctity of the Nigerian unity. We have to agree whether we want to be together. No man can force his wife to do what she doesn’t want let alone different ethnic groups in Nigeria.”

 Agbakoba who questioned the meaning of restructuring and in whose interest is it, probed further whether restructure in the context in which politicians are saying that power should be given to the regions work?
“Is it economic restructure, political or on social justice and equality? These are salient points we need to consider and debate as we go alone with the dangerous path called restructuring. Without these, then we should be very wary of it and the proponents of restructuring,” he said.