Kanu Has Pledged To Stop Agitating For Biafra If Nigeria Is Restructured – Ben Nwabueze
Southern Leaders of Thought on Thursday disclosed that they have extracted a commitment from the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, to stop his agitation for the creation of a sovereign Biafran state if Nigeria was truly restructured.
Addressing a press conference on behalf of the forum at Chief Rotimi Williams’ Chambers in Lagos, eminent lawyer and elder statesman, Prof. Ben Nwabueze, said the people who want to break up Nigeria are those opposed to restructuring the country.
The legal icon warned that President Muhammadu Buhari will be courting trouble if he tries to usurp the constitutional powers of the people to demand a better Nigeria through a change in structure.
He explained that the power to restructure the country belongs to the people and not to the National Assembly, insisting that for the peace of Nigeria, the government must not toy with the people’s rights.
According to him: “Self determination doesn’t mean secession as IPOB is clamouring. It means the ethnic nationalities want to govern themselves within Nigeria.
“Restructuring is not a matter that can be implemented by amendment of the 1999 Constitution. It imperatively requires a new constitution adopted or approved by the people at a referendum.
“It is sad that while the clamour for restructuring is reaching a crescendo and is sweeping across the country, the National Assembly is still regaling us with talks about constitution amendment, and buttressing its position by the erroneous assertion that the 1999 constitution can only be amended or altered (sections 8 and 9), but cannot be abolished and replaced by a new constitution. By taking this untenable position, the National Assembly makes itself a big obstacle in the way of restructuring.”
Nwabueze maintained that a negotiated restructuring, implemented through a new constitution, is the best assurance for the realisation of the group’s desire for one Nigeria.
“We think the way forward for Nigeria is for the people, in exercise of the power inherent in them as a sovereign people, to make through a referendum, new constitution, constituting a new political order.
“In our circumstances as a country, with a great vast expanse of territory, comprising a great diversity of ethnic nationalities, with divergent interests and outlooks, it seems generally agreed that a federal system, truly so-called, is the system appropriate for our situation. We, therefore, conceive restructuring as requiring, modified as necessary, the restoration or re-establishment of the kind of federalism that existed under our 1960/1963 constitutions. That is the central object or purpose of restructuring,” he said.