Being a press statement by Change Nigeria at Airport hotel, ikeja, Lagos on Tuesday the 8th September 2009
Our dear countrymen and women, we welcome you to this historical occasion today Tuesday 8th of September 8, 2009, on behalf of our Organisation: "CHANGE NIGERIA" (CN).
Our Organisation enters into the affairs of this country as a non-political party group of concerned Nigerians; concerned that not so long after we have been told that we may not last another fifteen years as a country, we have now been classified as a "failed state" in the latest global country stability rankings.
The concern cannot be peculiar to us members of our Organisation alone; we believe it is a concern in which all of you here present and others elsewhere listening and watching, indeed all Nigerians also share.
We may be inclined to dismiss these views as those of idle observers, but before we do that, let us first of all, look at contemporary events in our country to see how they mirror us to ourselves and to the rest of the world from whence came those observations.
1. The Niger Delta Crisis has been with us for some time, yet it has been allowed to degenerate badly with massive human and material losses, remaining unresolved.
2. Two former Administrations, one Federal, the other State, expended years over Local Government squabbles; two succeeding Administrations brought peace on the issue in their wake; only for the same issue to rear its head again between the new Administrations in the past few weeks.
3. Like a for-ever fermenting volcano dishing out fumes with rare spasms of quiet; another religious extremism promoted by a group referred to as Boko Haram has erupted in the Northern part of the country consuming lives; this time with as curious a demand as the abolition of western education – going by media reports.
4. Meanwhile, the Boko Haramites, it would appear, do not know that that western education is decadent and is at the point of total collapse; what with the Director-General of the NYSC publicly alarming that some of our today’s graduates are incapable of filling forms.
5. In the West and a number of other places, all over Nigeria, life is both cheap and endangered by marauding desperados who accept contracts for the delivery of human heads at N1,000 per head. In the Eastern part, kidnapping has become the latest growing industry with ransom as low as N5,000 at the retail end of the big market.
6. With a mere 1,000 megawatts generated for 140,000,000 people and more, (even with investment of about Thirty Billion US Dollars!) total blackout has been a gift from Administration to Administration for the people of Nigeria; a national shame for a Country boasting of millions of barrels of crude oil a day out of its lands and waters for decades now. Petroleum products for local consumption are almost wholly imported – again to the embarrassment and shame of all.
7. Roads, countrywide, have become death traps; railways are non-existent; healthcare facilities are in shambles, with Nigeria topping world charts for avoidable maternal and infant mortality indices.
8. Unemployment is at an all-time high as manufacturers relocate to other countries (e.g. Ghana where there is stable electricity and relative security) taking along with them jobs that should have been for Nigerians.
9. Corruption has become a way of life as to be in fact openly celebrated. Worse still, it is Constitutionally leveraged by an Immunity Clause in the 1999 Constitution which comprehensively protects the custodians of the Nigerian treasuries against any form of investigation, prosecution and sanction.
10. Poverty has overtaken more than 80% of the populace thus plunging the value system into complete ruins.
If our own surveys of our own affairs present such a bleak picture, can we deny baffled foreign observers who proceed from our known God-given resources, both human and material, their right to alarm at what beats their imagination. The Nigerian peoples are no less bewildered since the billions of petro-dollars accruing to Nigeria had not lifted them out of the pit of poverty nor have the celebrated intellectual/academic accomplishments of countless Nigerian geniuses all over the globe, translated into technological advancement.
By the admission, indeed confession, of the British who packaged the contraption of the country called Nigeria for the protection of their then and still continuing selfish interests, Nigeria is not a nation-state and was doomed at inception by the pretence that it was one. That is to say, whereas we can geographically place the existence of a land mass delineated on acceptable world maps, described and known as Nigeria, we cannot say, without fear of contradiction, that there is a nation of people(s) called Nigeria.
From all available evidence, a Nation can be defined as: a distinct race or people characterised by common descent, common customs and habits, common myths, common religion and a common language. At all relevant times, such people are contained in a defined geographical area which in times of old eventually used to grow into nation-states, although with the spoilages of war and migration may today be strewn across international borders. It is clear from this analysis that the shorthand formulae for the essentials that make a Nation and give it cementing and binding force which in turn compels loyalty to it are "Consanguinity
": the existence of a common ancestral blood relationship; "Ethnography": the scientific perception of a race of people identifiable by their common customs and habits; "Mythology": a body of myths culminating in an accepted oral or written literature chronicling the traditional beliefs of the people; "Religion": the general mental and moral attitude resulting from the belief or recognition by the people of some higher but unseen power with control of their destinies who is entitled to obedience, reverence and worship and "Language": over time, the whole body of words and of methods of combining them used by the people which are grounded in and are the outcome of the usages of their consanguinity, their ethnography, their mythology and their religion.
Lord Malcolm Hailey, a British historian recorded Nigeria
’s short-coming in these essentials when he said of his own peers’ creation: "Nigeria is perhaps the most artificial of the many administrative units created in the course of European occupation of Africa". Henry Bretton, an American political scientist wrote in the same vein: "there is no universally acceptable and understood rationale for the existence and functioning of a state called Nigeria and efforts at an artificial creation of a national mythology or a Nigerian ideology will be unproductive."
It is true that the land mass today known as Nigeria was inhabited by what the British themselves termed "enemy tribes" with the habit of engaging in inter-tribal, even intra-tribal wars. As far as we know, they engendered bitterness between and amongst the different ethnicities which may even remain latent today, but they never resulted in conquest. Conquest and consanguinity ruled out, you will therefore agree that in any quest as to how we came to be called Nigerians, there is only one question left: did we agree or consent to become Nigerians?
Unfortunately, we cannot even attempt an answer to that question here; why, because it is sub-judice as a few fellow Nigerians whose historical lessons at school as to how Nigeria came about, are already asking it at the Federal High Court in Abuja and Lagos. The plaintiffs include: Prince Tanimose Bankole Oki (SAN); Chief Anthony Enahoro; Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu; Professor Wole Soyinka and Biship Bolanle Gbonigi. The Late Chief C. C. Onoh was on that list up to his passage. From the younger generation, we also have plaintiffs including Ralph Uwazurike, Alhaji Shettima Yerima and Mujahedat Dokubo Asari. There is a legion of other prospective plaintiffs applying to join.
But thank God that even the rules of sub-judice still allows us to recall that, prior to foisting the name Nigeria upon its people, there existed in and on its geographical extent, mutually recognized and mutually respected vibrant sovereign and autonomous ethnicities with identifiable geographical boundaries and their own peculiar social and political systems of governance; all of whom were accorded recognition by Treaties evidencing British engagements with them: the Edos, the Efiks, the Hausas, the Igbos, the Ijaws, the Itsekiris, the Tivs, the Yorubas and a host of other such ethnicities. Some even had quasi-diplomatic missions in old Europe.
All attempts since 1914 at imposing the same Constitution upon all of Nigeria from the centre, instead of making a federal Constitution to federate the units’ constitutions, are the product of deliberate policies to forcefully keep those parts of the country who have the essentials of a nation-state, away from evolving rules and regulations for giving effect to their consanguinity, their ethnography, their mythology, their religion and their language. No wonder it has remained singularly "unproductive". It should be noted though that in spite of Hailey and Bretton, it suited the British to fabricate this country; it must also be said that the interests that compelled the British still linger evev at some not so distant removes.
Ironically, the same British who were part of an historical process that started with wars undertaken for the sole purpose of subduing ethnic Scots to ethnic English and later evolved first into the consensual union known as the United Kingdom and today has devolved into an agreement allowing ethnic Scots their own parliament where they tend to their own affairs, furtively subsumed those ethnicities and sovereignties under the name Nigeria. In other words, they knew better, but their over-riding economic interests blinded them to the fact that in the absence of the natural ingredients that nations evolve from, consensus is an essential alternative. In other words, there must be some over-riding reason behind the refusal of those who have suffered the same fate with all of us here, to embrace consensus but rather cling on to the British precepts that discarded our ethnicities and stole our sovereignties to force an artificial nation down our throats.
Where those natural indices are absent, a group of peoples bound together by only geography and colonial heritage, can agree to form themselves into nation-states. The United States of America is an example of where people (13 colonies which could have gone their separate ways as nation-states) who were not bound by the afore-listed natural ties, met and resolved to form themselves into one nation-state called the United States of America. That agreement is the basis of the celebrated Constitution of the United States of America which has survived till date in prosperity.
Switzerland is another example where the ethnic nationalities possessing the ingredients for evolving into individual nation-states consensually formed themselves into cantons that eventually federated into the Union called "Switzerland" today.
The key is to sit down and agree and in the case of Nigeria, it is only in that light that we can understand that seemingly innocuous phrase: "we the people of Nigeria…" which has continued to plague our so-called Constitution-making with its worst manifestation in the 1999 Constitution.
Behold, that phrase is the architectural design for meting out to you and I, a fate tending to something worse than slavery, worse than the apartheid segregation system; it is the foundation for stealing and denying us the sovereignties which we inherited from our fore-bearers and our virtual exclusion from legitimate participation in our own affairs. It is the forged cheque under which our resources are being cashed over our heads and squandered with impunity by the custodians of our stolen sovereignties.
What the foregoing means is that the so-called "Nigerian Federation" which is already devoid of natural nation-building ideals and therefore needs at least consent to stay together, remains an involuntary union, not built, as it should be, on the spirit of equal partnership and mutual respect for the federating units. We are thoroughly convinced that there is more than enough goodwill amongst the peoples of Nigeria to go into a meeting today and give the requisite consent to continue the union. That will address ill-feelings flowing from obvious and palpable injustices of the past.
The last use to which the discarding of our ethnicities and the stealing of our sovereignties were put, manifests in the 1999 Constitution in the following realities:
1. A structural setting in which one Region pre-1966, has become 19 States plus the Abuja Federal Capital Territory and three Regions plus the erstwhile Federal Capital Territory of Lagos of the same period, have been collapsed into 17 States with the implications for representation at the National Assembly and revenue allocation.
2. A federal/states power relation equation in which the states (the supposed federating units) have become beggars at the feet of an almighty, omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent federal government with the states having minimal legislative power or resources to address the needs of their peoples. The tail ("federal" – Centre) now wags the body ("federating units" – States). Even where the States exercise legislative power, they have no enforcement machinery of their own since the centre ‘police’ the whole of the federation.
3. An expensive Presidential system has replaced the relatively cheaper Parliamentary system in which the executive branch were fully accountable to their peers in the legislature.
4. A unitary system of Government in which the Centre noses into all the nooks and crannies of the land-mass, sniffing out revenue producing resources to be hijacked, appropriated and shared under a skewed Revenue Sharing Formula, with almost no reference to derivation, the very antithesis of justice and fair play; a departure from the federal system under which the then federating Regions developed at their own pace using mostly their own resources between 1953 and 1966.
5. A Land Tenure System that deprives indigenes of their natural right to their lands but vests access to land in the hands of stranger elements.
6. Appropriation provisions that practically hand over blank cheques to the President and the 36 Governors who are at liberty to spend from the treasury while appropriation debates are still going on in the legislatures.
7. An immunity clause that effectively puts beyond our reach for query and sanction, the 37 men and their deputies whose signatures move all the monies contained in our treasury and who exercise full control over our commonwealth. Corruption remains hale and hearty, dwelling in the impregnable fortress of the Immunity Clause.
8. An electoral system in which the Centre and the party in power at the Centre have absolute control over the entire electioneering machinery throughout the country.
In all, over-centralisation, product of the 1999 Constitution, is at the heart of the inefficiencies and corruption that has brought Nigeria to where it is today.
From the above it is obvious that all the initiatives, genuine and otherwise, aimed at fighting corruption, reforming the Electoral System, improving infrastructure and alleviating poverty, will come to naught except the 1999 Constitution is terminated and replaced by a negotiated truly federal constitution.
Outside the Constitution, in utter negation of the spirit of balance and fair play and in abuse of what a federation should be, we find a lop-sided policy of locating key parastatals without regard for balance, equity and relevance.
It is now apposite to inquire into how we got to this sorry pass. The search for how we got into this pit, this quagmire, starts with the circumstances of the birth of Nigeria itself; its journey through colonial parentage, internal self-governance by the federating Regions; independence and immediate post-independence teething problems; the intervention of the military in governance in 1966 and the consequent jettisoning, over time, of the federal foundations upon which Nigeria was built; the replacement of the federal structure by a unitary command-style structure in which subservient impotent-rendered, dependent states replaced erstwhile self-sustaining Regions; the civil war; the long years of military rule during which immediacy replaced due process; the unmasked negative politics of the same period; during which resources owned and controlled by the erstwhile Regions were by various decrees hijacked and confiscated by the almighty Centre.
Today we have a "1999 Constitution" (Decree No.24 of 1999) containing a 68-Item Federal Exclusive List in which all kinds of subject matters that were within the competence of the then Regions have been put beyond the reach of the States. Even the 30-Item Concurrent List in that Constitution gives unqualified precedence to the Centre over the federating units. We are now "federal" only in name.
The foregoing have culminated in a feeling of alienation by the suppressed ethnic blocks - the federating units or peoples - the building blocks from which the country Nigeria was fashioned. Some ethnic blocks in fact feel conscripted and held down in Nigeria by sheer or virtual force of arms; thus there is a complete loss of faith in the union leading to most ethnic blocks today viewing Nigeria as a liability which they are forced to endure. There is a yawning disconnect between the peoples and their country. The glaring evidence of failures earlier mentioned have their roots in this disconnect and the cure to the marauding maladies lie in reversing that disconnect.
What do we do?
A Federation presumes the existence of units wishing to federate. To write a Constitution controlling how the federating units should go about their own business and call it a Federal Constitution is to assume that those units were not in existence but are being brought into being by the central constitution. Since the starting point is to agree and the ethnic nationalities know their pre-colonial boundaries, the urgent imperative is to do the inevitable: sit down facing one another to answer the following questions:
1. Do we want to become one nation-state? If yes, on what terms? (Constitution).
2. In what formations do we want to live
– Regions/Provinces? (Structure).
3. The scope and limits of the powers of the Centre in relation to those of the federating units. (Exclusive, Concurrent and Residual Lists).
Once the above items have been agreed upon by the federating units, the Regions will work out their own constitutions guided by the agreement reached by all at the aforesaid sitting. The federal constitution is in turn worked out by a meeting of the Regions, armed with their own constitutions, to reflect what powers they have ceded to the centre. These modalities are dictated by Nigeria’s peculiar history and circumstances and therefore approximate, in our estimation, to full consent from the scratch. This is what is termed in constitutional jurisprudence as an autochthonous constitution.
That way, the ethnic nationalities will retrieve their stolen sovereignties, regain their trampled dignities and re-establish their confidence as federating ethnic nationalities in the Nigerian project, with a view to transforming the geographical expression called Nigeria into a nation-state, along the lines of true federalism, inevitable in a multi-ethnic setting such as ours.
Having travelled the rough road since "the mistake of 1914" (Sir Ahmadu Bello); having failed to transform to a Nation from "a mere geographical expression" (Awolowo) and not being bound by the known consanguinities and historical affinities, we must now either sit down and agree on how to form ourselves to resume the building of this country into one nation-state called Nigeria or we consciously continue on our journey to self-destruction.
Judged from the foregoing points of view, failure so far has been deliberate. Attempts at constitution-making have been shrouded in unnecessary complication and tedium because those who by self-arrogation succeeded to our colonial heritage strive for failure, since success is detrimental to their perceived or even pocket interests. Why for example would a fellow citizen of this same "artificial" Nigeria say at a National Debate in Abuja that "any call for the review of the relationships between the ethnic nation-states of Nigeria to decide whether they want to be together and how to regulate their relations, is treason or why would a representative stand on the floor of the National Assembly in Abuja to recommend the extermination of over 20 million peoples of the Niger-Delta for daring to complain aloud over the economic rape of their lands and the torment their peoples have been subjected to for decades by an artificial Nation? But succeed we must, even for the sake of such members of our country.
So, how do we get about achieving the desired goal of changing our presently tottering edifice into a sustainable nation-state?
That question seems largely answered by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples 2007, which now enshrines the inalienable right of the ethnicities to self-determination within which they can legitimately pursue non-reducible minimums in their political, social, economic and other interests, albeit within the framework of an existing State.
In fact, since the year 2002, the European Union resolved the ethnic question in Europe. The Catalan and the Basque ethnic groups in Spain now have internal self-rule. In France, Corsica now has autonomy to govern itself. Even the United States of America, which has 50 states for the American settlers as the federating states, also has 48 continental states to satisfy the wishes of the America natives (the Red Indians). In the Indian federation in Asia, the states are governed as autonomous entities.
Our Organisation is saying that for too long, we have gone the wrong way and we posit that no matter how far a traveler has gone on the wrong way, he should turn back and take the right path if he intends to reach his destination. It is essential that the denied sovereignties be returned to the peoples. Failure to do so could amount to encouraging or forcing them to begin to consider ways to salvage their future.
Conscious of the flaws in the 1999 Constitution, ranging from non-participation in its creation to its odious provisions some of which had been earlier highlighted, we must now get down to the business of deliberating upon the basis of submitting our sovereignties unto a union called Nigeria because the falsehood contained in the preamble to the 1999 Constitution that "we the people of Nigeria have firmly and solemnly resolved to live in unity…" cannot sustain the Nigerian Union any much longer.
For those who think that whatever defects anyone may find in the 1999 Constitution can be cured by amendments, we say to you: "you are in grave error". The National Assembly and the Governments of today are products of the fraudulent 1999 Constitution imposed more for the purposes which have unfolded to our collective chagrin. For that same reason, the apartheid Constitution which was imposed by the white minority for their own selfish benefits could not be cured by the apartheid parliament; it took a sovereign meeting to decide a fresh Constitution through a transition period. That can be re-enacted today if we humbly come down from our high horses like the De Clerk Government and the Apartheid Parliament did in the then South Africa. There is no alternative now if we still fancy any Nigeria.
Flawed elections aside, in constitutional jurisprudence, the nature of the mandate of the legislature does not include sovereign constituent powers required to make a constitution. It will therefore amount to an unnecessary and desultory frontal confrontation with the sovereign will of the peoples of Nigeria for the National Assembly to proceed to amend the imposed 1999 Constitution under the falsehood that it was made by we the people, not bothered by the fact that the matter of the authorship of the 1999 Constitution is before the Federal High Court. In fact, the talk of amending the 1999 Constitution is provocative because it means we are being forced to shut up, keep quiet and wait for mercy drops whilst remaining bound by a falsehood that we are subscribers to the 1999 Constitution.
The National Assembly is a party in the suit, they have joined issues with the plaintiffs and have now chosen to return to their chambers, to carry on with the business of alterations of the disputed 1999 constitution as if to say : to hell with the courts and their authority.
Just as amendment is no answer to the issues raised herein, further Elections under the 1999 Constitution, would not suffice either. We have had many elections since independence; each subsequent contest had exacerbated the situation. The same goes for the so-called Electoral Reform. Good as it sounds, it does not address the very dangerous underlying fault-lines in the foundation upon which we are building.
Some naturally fear that any tampering with the 1999 Constitution would lead to anarchy. That fear is misplaced in view of the fact that there is already a model of what is prescribed to be done in the form of the Draft Peoples Constitution which emerged from the Peoples National Conference organized by Pro-National Conference Organisations (PRONACO) (2005-2006). In terms of process and content, the Draft PRONACO Constitution provides a guide on how Nigeria can be returned to a true Federal Union. We note with great pride that since the inception of Nigeria, the Draft Peoples Constitution is the only constitution known to have emerged wholly from the unfettered participation of the ethnicities in Nigeria and has been openly endorsed by a majority of the ethnicities because they participated in its making and it answers to the issues of their pains in a wobbling Nigeria which they blame on the present Constitution.
We challenge those who had not followed the emergence of that Draft Peoples Constitution to study it in order to understand the reason for the overwhelming endorsement it now enjoys. We further challenge such people to make public any better options than the one we have presented rather than opposing for the sake of opposition without proffering any alternative.
In proof of these assertions, we wish to refer all to the 24-page Special Newsletter printed by the Movement for New Nigeria (MNN). The contents of that Newsletter, we dare say, represent the result of an informal national referendum on the famous "National Question" in all its ramifications especially regarding the constitutional arrangements for the Nigerian Union. There is a countrywide consensus for the non-acceptance of the 1999 Constitution as well as an overwhelming endorsement of the Draft Peoples’ Constitution. We have no hesitation to hold that Draft up as a model for the restructuring we have all clamoured for. We also hold up the 1999 Constitution as the source of almost all the intractable problems of the failing, dysfunctional Nigerian State. The task is thus demystified. The challenge now is "How soon can we go into a sovereign meeting to give effect to our preferences?"
As we earlier demonstrated with the USA and Switzerland examples, we are not saying that there are no nations in the world today that are devoid of the essential nation-evolving elements. What we are saying is that where the commonality of those corner-stones of nation-building do not exist, the process of becoming one nation-state, invariably takes only one of two additional but exhaustive formats of either military conquest/occupation or agreement between the parties. All that is needed is to face the matter squarely, raise simple questions and formulate principles based upon their answers, the most fundamental question being: "who owns the land mass called Nigeria".
Accordingly, the way to proceed from where we are now (and our choices are not many) is to immediately abandon the pretence that all is well and go into a meeting of the owners of the land mass called Nigeria – the federating sovereign ethnic nationalities, in what has been popularly canvassed as a Sovereign National Conference – (simply meaning a conference not controlled or dictated to by a sitting government at which the ethnicities bring their sovereignties to the table as equals, bargain and agree which part(s) of it to cede to the centre, all decisions being by consensus as opposed to majority votes).
As already foretold by a recent well publicised United States Intelligence Report, those who insist otherwise are actually pushing for a sudden and most likely, violent disintegration of the artificial Nigerian Union.
Our dear countrymen and women, the foregoing is the basis of your invitation to this gathering today. The time is overdue for a New Face beyond Partisan Politics for our Dear Country. It is on that basis also that we now tender our POSITION for general consideration and above all, call upon all our countrymen and women and you all here today to stand up and begin your participation in this worthwhile pursuit, here and now, by joining us to STATE as follows:
1. THAT THE ETHNIC NATIONALITIES OF THE LAND MASS CALLED NIGERIA ARE THE SUCCESSORS TO THEIR VARIOUS FOREBEARERS’ ETHNIC PRIMORDIAL SOVEREIGNTIES FROM TIME IMMEMORIAL - THE ONLY SOURCE THAT CAN GIVE BIRTH TO THE PREAMBULAR TEXT OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA 1999: "WE THE PEOPLES OF NIGERIA …"
2. THAT THE ETHNIC NATIONALITIES OF THE LAND MASS CALLED NIGERIA NEITHER MET, NOR RESOLVED AND NEVER PARTICIPATED IN THE FORMULATION OF NOR CONSENTED TO THE 1999 CONSTITUTION AS CLAIMED IN THE SAID PREAMBULAR TEXT.
3. THAT HAVING NEITHER BEEN CONSULTED NOR PARTICIPATED IN ITS FORMULATION, THERE IS THE SERIOUS POTENTIAL THAT MEMBERS OF THE ENTRAPPED ETHNIC NATIONALITIES COULD REJECT THE 1999 CONSTITUTION AS A BASIS FOR THE SURRENDER OF THIER GOD-GIVEN ETHNIC AND PRIMORDIAL SOVEREIGNTIES.
4. THAT TO ALL INTENTS AND PURPOSES THE ETHNIC NATIONALTIES HAVE NOT MANDATED ANY LEGISLATURE TO NEGOTIATE THEIR SOVEREIGNTIES. THE MANDATE CONFERRED BY ELECTION DOES NOT INCLUDE SOVEREIGN CONSTITUENT POWERS WHICH AT ALL TIMES RESIDE IN THE SOVEREIGN PEOPLES OF NIGERIA.
5. THAT THERE IS SO MUCH DESIRE AND GOODWILL BY THE VARIOUS PEOPLES OF NIGERIA TO LIVE TOGETHER IN A COUNTRY FOUNDED ON JUSTICE, EQUITY AND FAIRPLAY. THEREFORE URGENT STEPS SHOULD BE TAKEN, ON EQUAL ETHNIC REPRESENTATION BASIS, FOR THE EVOLUTION OF A TRULY PEOPLES’ CONSTITUTION MERITING THE PREAMBULAR TEXT: "WE THE PEOPLES OF NIGERIA…".
6. THAT THE CONDUCT OF ANY FURTHER NATIONAL ELECTIONS UNDER THE 1999 CONSTITUTION IS FURTHER PROPAGATION OF ILLEGITIMACY. THEREFORE WE DEMAND THAT BEFORE ANY FURTHER NATIONAL ELECTIONS, A SOVEREIGN NATIONAL CONFERENCE MUST BE CONVENED AS THE FIRST STEP TOWARDS THE INSTITUTION OF A PROCESS THAT WOULD PUT IN PLACE A TRULY PEOPLES CONSTITUTION.
7. THAT FAILURE TO IMMEDIATELY INITIATE A PROCESS BY WHICH A FRESH CONSTITUTION IS NEGOTIATED COULD SPELL DOOM FOR NIGERIA AS ALREADY PREDICTED. THEREFORE ALL THOSE NO MATTER THEIR ETHNIC NATIONALITIES, NO MATTER THEIR POLITICAL COLOURATION, WHO CONTRIBUTED IN ONE WAY OR THE OTHER TO THE DESTRUCTION OF THIS COUNTRY SHOULD BE PREPARED TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR ACTIONS.
Let us all, whether in Government or not, young or old, from whatever ethnic nationality; in political parties or not, rise to the challenge of CHANGE; the only way this country would survive in peace and progress for our collective good.
Ethnic nationalities are hereby enjoined to begin to organize themselves towards fashioning out their Regional Constitutions preparatory to a Sovereign Meeting to work out a Federal Constitution.
LONG LIVE THE ETHNIC NATIONALITIES OF NIGERIA.
Dated this 8th day of September, 2009
"CHANGE NIGERIA" BY:
(1) Rear Admiral G.N. Kanu (NN Rtd)
(2) Lt. Gen. Alani Akinrinade (Rtd)
(3) Mr. Solomon .A. Asemota (SAN)
(4) Alhaji Yerima Shettima
(5) Hon. Olawale Oshun
(6) Mr. Fred Agbeyegbe
(7) Prof. Ben. Obumselu