THE former Senate President, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, yesterday stated that the Equality of the geo-political zones would significantly douse tension emanating from the 50 years post-Nigerian Civil war on the country.
He further added among other propositions, “that growing disposition of our political leaders to be above the law” and the “winner takes all outlook of our political system” needed to be addressed in order to move the country forward in a democratic setting.
Anyim stated this in a keynote at the International Research Conference on ’50 years post-Nigerian Civil war: Issues, challenges and prospects towards national integration, Justice, Peace and Security organized by the Centre for Health and Allied Legal and Demographical Development Research and Training of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Akwa.
He said: “Equality amongst the regions or geopolitical zones, as we have them today, is an optiont that will significantly douse tension. In the opinion of many, the Nigerian state would derive immense benefits, including state legitimacy and citizen psychological relief from a freely negotiated constitution.
“Rebuilding faith in Nigeria, building a new national consensus and deescalating the rising tension all over the country should be the most urgent task of the national leadership. I task the Center to inquire into the leadership recruitment strategy of the current democratic experience to identify improvement options that will enhance patriotism and commitment to rule of law.
“The growing disposition of our political leaders to be above the law implies that our democracy is growing in the reverse. The ‘ABOVE THE LAW’ executive political leaders attitude need to be evaluated with a view to
measuring its effect on the desire of aspirants to political offices, particularly, with the attendant rise in corruption and nepotism.
“The winner takes all outlook of our political system needs to be interrogated with emphasis on the attendant ‘do or die attitude of our politicians as this has escalated electoral violence and manipulations.”
According to him: “The commonly recounted issues that led to the Nigerian civil war include Western Region Crises, the boycott of the 1965 election, the coup and counter-coup of January and July 1966 and the pogroms against the Igbos in late 1966.
“A deeper analysis of the sequence of events leading to the war would highlight two major causes – constitutional crises and ethnic response to national issues. On the issue of constitutional crises, it is imperative to look deeper into some issues that have continued to reoccur in our national discussion. E.g., there is a discordance on whether the abrogation of the 1963 constitution by the military is valid or not and also whether the military can legitimately give Nigeria a new constitution. The Nigerian situation is a unique one.
“The supreme court has ruled that when there is a successful coup, it overthrows the old order and can enthrone a new order.
This position is also not conclusive because the principle goes further to maintain that the new order subsists as long as the intervening force is in control. In this case, while the military rule endured there was no challenge but since they exited, the legality or otherwise of their actions has become subject of contention.
“This conference should further interrogate the place of the 1963, 1979 and 1999 constitutions of Nigeria in our progress to nationhood. This is because the current agitation for restructuring lies within the delicate legality or otherwise of these constitutions. It is also important to examine whether the constitutions that succeeded the 1963 constitution effectively addressed the circumstances that gave rise to the western region crises.
“This is because even in the 4th Republic, Governors were still being forcefully removed from office using federal might.
It will also be of national interest if the Center can probe deep into the role of ethnicity at the various turning points of our national history. Did ethnicity play a role in the 1966 January coup? The counter-coup of July 1966 was it ethnic-inspired? How was public opinion shaped or influenced in the aftermath of the January 1966 coup that led to the pogroms?
“Government with direct revenue allocation from the federation account by the military. Perhaps that may be the reason for the multiplication of the number of local government areas in the country. It must be evaluated whether the present crises infested local government system contributes positively to our national progress or not.
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