Delta State Chairman of Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, Professor Godini Darah has come out to talk about expectations from the Senate Review committee on some portions of the 1999 constitution headed by the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, the Senator representing Delta central.
He revealed that the work of Omo-Agege’s committee has been simplified by previous works done by other committees and he expects them to have the required courage and clarity of mind to carry out their assignment.
According to him, our constitution has given politicians gigantic powers that even angels will not exercise fairly and justly.
He added that Nigeria is currently a unitary empire system that concentrates enormous powers at the center exercised by the President of the country.
His words, “Senator Omo Agege’s committee is given the assignment to take a look at aspects of the Nigerian 1999 constitution to be reviewed. The title is important, they did not say constitutional amendment committee, they say review. In the English language review simply means take a look at it.
When they say Amendment , it already sends you on an assignment , that there are errors, there are short comings there. We pray for them to have the courage and sagacity of mind to extend the mandate of their assignment to review and identify sections that should be expunged. If review is just to polish, it will bring no comfort to Nigerians.
The work of the Omo-Agege’s committee had been made easy by previous works done by other committees. For the All Progressives Congress, APC, the Omo-gege “s committee duty has been well served by the Nasir Elrufai”s committee that was targeted at a political matter. Fortunately for Nigeria, and I can say unfortunately for APC, the Elrufai”s committee adopted the radical recommendations of the 2014 national conference on devolution of powers , resource ownership and control, derivation principles and overall political engineering of restructuring the Nigerian system to make it serve the purpose of a federal system. What Nigeria runs now is a unitary empire system, which concentrates enormous powers at the centre exercised by the President of the country.
Those powers are so gigantic and gargantuan that even an angel cannot exercise them in a manner that will be fair and just. Those powers were defined by military dictators who were tyrants and tyrants don’t respect freedom, they don’t respect fair play. They don’t know what justice is, they recognize only conquest and control. The 1999 constitution is a bad copy of the result of General Sanni Abacha’s conference in 1994/95. It was just updated by General Abdusalami Abubakar, rtd in a hurry, it was a poorer copy. General Abubaker was working to an answer, I think the foreigners had advised him properly to disengage from power that with June 12 crisis you cant stay there. But disengage and look at the person who should be your successor, that person should not be hostile to the foreign powers, he should be a friend of those who enjoy Nigeria.
Nigeria, a perpetual importer that must buy goods from outside , those countries own Nigeria more than you and I. They did not want a successor who would serve like a Rawlings of Ghana , Thomas Sankara of Burkina Faso or even a mild Nelson Mandela of South Africa .
They wanted somebody you can call a zombie of the foreign powers. The constitution was drafted and approved to serve that purpose. That constitution is therefore a constitution of a supremacist regime . . We in Nigeria especially in the South , although we are educated but sometimes we don’t examine the etymology and meaning of words. So you have layers of powers in areas with Emirs and governors. So that, 1979 constitution is a slave mandate intended to conquer , dominate , diminish and ruin the south. It is the modern version of the amalgamation of January 1, 1914.
That Amalgamation of north and south arose from a long debate among colonial powers in London as to whether there should be two countries, one Northern Nigeria and the other Southern Nigeria as it was in the Sudan , as it was in North Korea, South Korea. When that debate was on , the memos were written by Captain Lugard. But who was Lugard.
In my writings I referred to Lugard as a security guard. Frederick Lugard came to this end of the world as the security officer of the Royal Niger Company , that company came to do business. It was in charge of all the riverine areas. Charter was given to them in 1885 to trade and make profit in this region We had independent kingdoms in the region – Bonny, Isoko, Efik, Calaber, Ukwuani , Ijaw , Urhobo, Itsekiri, Onitsha, Igala, Benin kingdom, the biggest of them all .
To bring these people under control so that you could trade conveniently you needed some military might. The Royal Niger company was given powers by the British parliament to form its own army, they called it Constabulary to go and deal with these natives going to interrupt trade, suppress the area and bring civilization there. The man that was appointed to head that force was Frederick Lugard from Scotland , he then came there and exercised his mandate. He used the method of massacre and bloodshed to eliminate, he conquered many areas from Lokoja, Igala name it. In 1894 Lugard fought as far as Sokoto where there was rebellion against him, that rebellion was buried in blood. Then he exiled about three hundred and fifty women and children never to come back.”
The atrocities committed by Lugard are so unpardonable that no matter how wide the gates of heaven is he will never get there. Lugard did this murder of innocent people so efficiently that he was rewarded by the British. When the British system was trying to occupy this colony they were also trying to do same in Uganda. The Uganda also revolted as our people did here.
Don’t forget there was King Pepple of Bonny who was arrested, kidnapped and jailed and exiled overseas. There was Jaja of Opobo for similar reasons. Jaja became king of Opobo and he paid all the debts the African merchants were owing in one day. And the British said this must be a dangerous man, pay the debts of his colleagues and they had to frame him , he was arrested and jailed . When they finished with the two people they came to Oba Ovonramwen Nogbaisi of Benin kingdom, the oldest empire after the Egyptian empire.
If you didn’t conquer Benin you could not amalgamate Nigeria. But before Benin there was an Itsekiri/Urhobo man called Nana Olomu. Independently he had a city in Benin river called Ebrohimi , he tarred all the streets . Nana had five thousand canons to defend that city. He was a man of civilization, grounded in style . He spoke seven languages. He spoke Urhobo, Ijaw, Itsekiri , Portuguese, Spanish, French and a little of Arabic.
His father Itsekiri from Benin River and his mother from Urhobo in Ekpan, Uvwie The greatest warriors of Urhobo then were the Uvwies. The British knew that Nana’s mother an Uvwie if they attacked Nana, Uvwie would send forces for his defence so on September 1 1894 the British attacked Uvwie , they had studied the area. Effurun and several parts were attacked , a day before attacking Nana. Nana defended his city. A man , I wont name him now went to tell the British that he knew the road they would pass to Nana’s city if they wanted to attack him. Nana dug canal round his city so if you were coming he would see you.
But that man helped the British penetrate Nana’s city and he was defeated. He was not captured but he escaped to Lagos and then to Gold coast , today’s Ghana. Nana was declared wanted dead or alive. After some months he surrendered himself. He was tried and banished for ten years. When he came back they allowed him to build a new city, that was how he built Koko in present day Warri north local government area .
After Nana of Itsekir was gone , Pepple , Jaja the only obstacle was Ovonramwen. When a white said he wanted to see the Oba, he was told that there was festival and no visitor was allowed to see the Oba. And Oyinbo said black man giving me condition? That was how trouble started and that led to the invasion of Benin in 1897, February 17.
After conquering Benin we had the first Unity government, north and south in the country. Lugard had been sent to Uganda , earned more laurels, killing more people revolting against British rule. In 1913 Lugard was sent to Hong kong another British colony, Lugard massacred there the way he did in Uganda and Nigeria , he became a darling to the British colonial leaders.”