â€¢ Alleges politiciansâ€™ attitude created IPOB leader, Kanu
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.
The Maritime Law expert at a press conference in Lagos yesterday took acting President Yemi Osibanjo to the cleaner for declaring that Nigeria is indissoluble, adding that thereâ€™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. â€œMy point is that you canâ€™t force sovereignty; you canâ€™t force people to live together, the people must be included in the process of things,â€ he stated.
Â According to him, â€œPresently, 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 whatâ€™s the way forward is. Every Nigerian politician is calling for restructuring, but I disagree, because I think thereâ€™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 is 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.
He further stated that surprisingly, Nigeria has been in this since 1914. â€œIn that year, the colonial masters deceived us, and when they saw that it wasnâ€™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 wasnâ€™t possible to retain power, they created a military-generated constitution of 1999. Which one of these constitutions represents the people?â€
Agbakoba posited that the sovereignty of Nigeria is only sacrosanct for politicians eyeing 2019 elections, stating that â€œthey 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.
â€œIt is not in the interest of Nigeria to listen to what I call the conspiracy of the elite. This conspiracy could be found in APC, PDP or whatever name they decide to change the party to. We need to look inwards and determine how best we can grow our country, and I think we can do so by asking the real questions.â€
Â 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. â€œThis is an unknown man who suddenly sprang up popularly, why? Because politicians have created the space for such situation to take place. These politicians are not at the grassroots; they sit in Abuja and talk while the people relate to ethnicity or subnational groups, and Kanu saw the opportunity to take over the Southeast where he took advantage of the existence of marginalisation, resentment and poverty. Meanwhile, the Southeast politicians are in Abuja coveting with other politicians for Abuja power leaving their home base open.â€
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria said 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 â€˜self-determinationâ€™ and it is recognised in the United Nation Charter just like the Catalans in Spain.
Â 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?
â€œIs 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,â€ he said.