LOVE GOD AND LOOK UP TO YOUR NEIGHBOR AS ANOTHER SELF
FOR PEACE AND PROSPERITY OF NIGERIA
It is correct to say that the future belongs to the youths, yet the elders have the responsibility to narrate history so that they do not repeat the mistakes of the past. It took time before the NCEF came to appreciate that Nigeria’s problem was ideological. It would appear that while Christians in Southern Nigeria took freedom and Democracy for granted, Christians in the North have difficulty in retaining their freedom.
This presentation begins with the various reasons why Amalgamation took place in January 1, 1914 and since then (104 years after), Nigeria has “under-resourced, sapped by corruption and distrusted by the population.” Kleptocracy and government dishonesty have corrosive effect on popular confidence it ought to get. Nigeria’s security apparatus (some call it fifth columnist), seemed determined to turn Nigeria from a Democracy to an Islamic Sharia caliphate. The unfortunate aspect of this strategy is that no matter what the South or democrats do to improve the country for the benefit of all, Sharia proponents have no words of encouragement, appreciation or gratitude but resort to conventional and stealth jihad.
There is no doubt that even if there is secession today, Nigeria and what is left will still be part of West Africa, with the same climate, vegetation and neighbors, therefore, it is necessary that Nigerians examine why amalgamation and when we got it wrong. Insecurity across the country, we submit, is as a result of the impunity and disregard for human rights and the rule of law that have eroded state legitimacy.
Reasons for Amalgamation
With respect to reasons for amalgamation, it is very clear that resources from the South were necessary for the sustenance of the two Nigeria North & South. The South also had the advantage of having been in contact with Europeans fifty years before amalgamation.
These advantages, the South shared with the North, in Education, Health not withstanding restrictions placed by the British man on the spot Lord Lugard. Till this day the North has continued to benefit from the South in matters concerning Ports, Oil and Gas. Notwithstanding this dependency, a quit notice was issued by the Arewa Youths Conservative Forum to Ndi’gbo to leave Northern Nigeria by October 1, 2017. Not one of their youths was tried for conduct likely to cause a breach of peace.
Dual Citizenship in Nigeria
It would appear that amalgamation did not unite the country. In fact, the British by her conduct before, during and after independence did not attempt to unite the country. Rather, the North was united under the Fulani which later developed into superiority mentality by both the British and the Emirs.
Lord Lugard’s Biases for Status
Lugard lived and worked during colonialism that only produce a superior voice “the white man”. It also produced racist and Lugard belonged to both. Blacks were segregated from whites who lived in the GRA and Chiefs, emirs were admitted into their special circle. From the history and facts of colonialism, Lugard prepared Nigeria not for Democracy which he appeared to loath but for an Islamic Sultanate. Herein lies the bedrock of Nigeria’s problem.
Emergency Act No. 1 of 1961
It would appear that the foundation of Islamic Sultanate was laid by the emergency act No 1 of 1961, the first law passed by the Federal Parliament while in celebration of freedom. It was a very strange way to celebrate freedom.
It has become clear that the Federal Government was planning to create a situation where they would be able to declare that a state of emergency existed in Western Nigeria whereby they would then proceed to dissolve its Government and Houses of Assembly and Chiefs and then govern the Region directly through Federal-appointed functionaries. We regard this Act as Poison Chalice, especially after the contrived Western Regional Crises of 1962. The Emergency Administration of Western Nigeria from May 29, 1962 to December 31, 1963, from facts available to the National Christian Elders Forum, show that not a few are still of the view that that was the day when the wrong turning was taken in Nigeria's political history leading later to the controversial Western Nigeria elections of 1965; the people's bloody revolt against the rigged results; the first ever attempted military coup- d’état in the country on January 15, 1966; the first Military Regime from January 17, 1966, the counter coup d’état of July 29, 1966; the Nigerian Civil War from 1967 to 1970, the prolonged succession of military regimes and the consequential strangulation of the democratic culture and its practitioners; indeed all the current topical issues that are encapsulated in the expression of the National question.
It is clear from the above narrative that there are some Nigerians who do not want Democracy but Sharia and, at the slightest opportunity, try to subvert the Legislature which is the main instrument of Democracy and Democratic practices. It is therefore in the interest of Nigeria that Pastors and Imams jointly cleanse the nation of the curse brought upon it by greed. By enshrining Emergency Act as the first Act passed by Independent Nigeria, the NCEF is convinced that it is the root of the conflict between Democracy and Sharia in Nigeria. It is not the Military coup of January of 1966 but this Act of 1961 that laid the foundation for Emergency Rule. NCEF is convinced that had the Emergency Rule of 1962 not taken place, the coup of July 1966 would have been avoided and Nigeria would have been at par with Malaysia, Singapore, India, China, etc.
Muslims in Nigeria and democracy
It has become very clear that some Muslims in Nigeria especially the Emirs are opposed to Democracy. This fact can be deduced from Prof Omo Omoruyi narrative and the annulment of June 12 presidential election which Abiola won. Sharia was first to compete with Democracy and thereafter supersede Democracy.
Unity in the Executive
It has become very clear, with the benefit of hindsight that the reason why the military opted for a Presidential System of Government rather than the Parliamentary System agreed to by our founding fathers was to unite power and wealth in the hands of one tribe and one religion, that has culminated in the prominence of the Fulani and Muslims today. It is important to note that the 1979 Constitution was what the military wanted, but not what is good for Nigeria. Presidential System has since proved to be an invitation to group suicide. The 1979 and 1999 Constitutions thereafter, were designed to entrench power in one tribe and one religion as opposed to Parliamentary System that protects diversities.
It has also now become very clear that the Presidential System was intended to harmonize power and wealth earned by the whole country in the hands of one tribe and one religion under the guise of the North. Democracy is weakened in a Presidential system as practiced presently in Nigeria, in contrast to the Parliamentary System that provides for a Prime Minister - one amongst equals. Presidential System has failed Nigeria and it is time we returned to the negotiated Parliamentary System that has held India together and allowed her to develop from 3rd to 1st world. Uniting power in the hands of one man, one ethnic nationality and one religion has failed Nigeria and has taken her back to the 18th Century.
Coup of 1975
General Gowon was overthrown by subordinate officers after a victorious civil war on the guise that the General failed to hand over power to ‘bloody civilians”. This is “cyber Cambridge analytical” lie and deceit. He was overthrown because there was no way Gowon would have produced a “Sharia compliant” Constitution as the 1979 and then 1999 Constitution. The reasons for long military rule included:
- Preparing for the restoration of civilian democracy;
- The court system preserved a quasi-independence and human rights, to some extent were protected;
- Critics sometimes disappear or die in automobile accident typical of military regime and dictatorship, ;
- The military controlled the press, nevertheless, for Nigerians “on the street” freedom of speech endured;
- The military controlled the oil revenue and corruption escalated especially in the Babangida and Abacha eras;
- Military co-opted, neutralized or eliminated potential centres of civilian opposition;
- Military bloated the Civil Service and the universities with its own appointees, starved both of funding and overtly coerced, weakened critical organizations such as the Academic Staff Unions, the Bar Association. the Civil Service; and
- Political parties of the Second Republic were banned and then re-constituted in different forms by the military. These parties had no particular ethnic or regional identity and no real policies beyond getting their candidates elected when civilian government was restored.
This period provided the time and space for Sharia architecture, what needs to be examined.
Architect of Sharia in Nigeria
Sheikh Abubakar Gumi was the major promoter of Sharia in the history of Nigeria. He also promoted techniques employed by the Ikhwan to achieve the goals of Sharia which included: expanding the Muslim presence by birth rate, immigration, and refusal to be assimilated; occupying and expanding domination of physical spaces; ensuring the “Muslim Community” knows and follows Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt’s doctrine; controlling the language we use in describing the enemy; ensuring that non-Muslims do not study (Sharia) doctrine; co-opting key leadership; forcing compliance with Sharia at local levels; fighting all counterterrorism efforts; subverting other religious organizations; employing litigations - the offensive use of lawsuits and threats of lawsuits; claiming victimization/demanding accommodations; condemning “slander” against Islam; subverting the Nigeria education system, in particular, infiltrating and dominating students’ union activities; demanding the right to practice Sharia in segregated Muslim areas especially in the North; demanding recognition of Sharia in non-Muslim spheres; confronting and denouncing Western society, laws, and traditions; and demanding that Sharia replace Western law. Many of the foregoing techniques entail, in one way or another, influencing and neutralizing the Nigerian government at all levels. The success of the above strategies in Nigeria led to the impunity the President enjoys today in appointment, in the armed forces and intelligence and security agencies.
There was no doubt that General Gowon would have prepared a democratic structure before he handed over. His overthrow paved the way for various forms of jihad which included the conventional (evident) that began with Maitatsine in Kano, Jimeta and Bulumkutu then Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen. What is important to note, is that after Maitatsine in Jimeta in 1976, no commission of enquiry has thereafter been instituted not even for the recent Melete massacre of November 2018. In a democracy, a commission of inquiry ought to and should have been instituted to prevent future occurrence and if when another occurs, the solution is available to the Government.
Military President Babangida
He was the only Nigerian leader who was not an accidental Head of State. Babangida came prepared and is perhaps the architect of Sharia as an alternative source of legislature. The conflict of rule of law and Sharia was exhibited in the case of Major Bamidele who was convicted and executed for knowledge of a coup without participation.
Promotion of Sharia by some past Military Rulers
In this paragraph, we singled out Buhari, Babangida and Abacha as major proponents of Sharia and its conflict with Democracy and the Constitution and emphasized this with the execution of Major Bamidele to show the consequence of dual ideologies of Democracy and Sharia in one country – Sharia laws became prominent in the jurisprudence of Nigeria through military decrees and later found its way into the grundnorm of Nigeria – the Constitution. Thus the 1999 Constitution can be legitimately described as spoils of stealth jihad.
Abusive Revenue Allocation and Representation, Northern and Southern Nigeria: Rewarding non-contributors
We concluded this chapter with the statement that now, we can see that the North is seriously draining and stifling the development of the South and this is why one Nigeria, as it exists, is the biggest example of impunity ever. We CANNOT be silent about all these because he that is silent in the days of the adversity of the oppressed has taken the side of the oppressor. This must change and whoever we nominate as preferred presidential candidate, must re-structure Nigeria for Justice and peace to reign.
Participation in Social Life of Nigeria by Nigerians especially Christians
Human society can be neither well-ordered nor prosperous unless it has some people invested with legitimate authority to preserve its institutions and devote themselves, as far as it necessary, to work and care for the good of all. Its role is to ensure as far as possible the common good of the society. The duty of obedience requires all to give due honor to authority, and to treat those who are charged to exercise it with respect, and, insofar as it is deserved, with gratitude and good-will. If authority belongs to the order established by God, ‘the choice of the political regime and the appointment of rulers are left to the free decision of the citizens.
Call to Action: Need to become involved in Action
In the social sphere, the Church has always wished to assume a double function: first to enlighten minds in order to assist them to discover the truth and to find the right path to follow amid the different teachings that call for their attention; and secondly to take part in action and to spread, with a real care for service and effectiveness, the energies of the Gospel. Laymen should take up as their own proper task the renewal of the temporal order. If the role of the hierarchy is to teach and to interpret authentically the norms of morality to be followed in this matter, it belongs to the laity, without waiting passively for orders and directives, to take the initiative freely and to infuse a Christian spirit into the mentality, customs, laws, and structures of the community in which they live.
Christian must make a wise and vigilant choice and avoid involving themselves in collaboration without conditions contrary to the principles of a true humanism, even in the name of a genuinely felt solidarity. If in fact he wishes to play a specific part of a Christian in accordance with his faith –a part that unbelievers themselves expect of him –he must take care in the midst of his active commitment to clarify his motives and to rise above the objectives aimed at, by taking a more all-embracing view which will avoid the danger of selfish particularism and oppressive totalitarianism.
Meeting with New Presidential Candidates for 2019 Election
We met with a number of presidential candidates viz: Mr. John Dara of ASD; Apostle Sunday Eguzolugo – JMPP; Mr. Olujimi Tewe – ANN, (Alt. Mr. Fela Durotoye); Pastor Emmanuel Etim – CNP; Oise Ihonde – ACPN, (Alt. Dr. Oby Ezekwesili); Dr. Obadiah Mailafia – ADC; Mr. James Onuoha – APGA; (Alt. Maj. Gen. John Gbor); Dr. Olusegun Awe-Obe – PT, (Alt. Mr. Gbenga Olawepo); Rev. David Ize-Iyamu – BNPP; Mr. Omoyele Sowore – AAC; Mr. Tosin Akande – YES Party, (Alt. Mr. Alistair Soyode), Mr. Chike Ukaegu – AAP; Prof. Kingsley Moghalu –YPP.
The immediate challenges that we need to confront and resolve are as follows:
1. How to get New Comers to become the Third Force
2. How to get partisan leaders (new Presidential Candidates) to accept a common candidate
3. How to sell this candidate to Nigerians and the world
At the end of the deliberation between the presidential candidate and NCEF some major resolutions were unanimously passed. They include:
- Consensus building is desirable to harmonize the New Presidential Candidates but given the time constraint, it may not be feasible.
- The Presidential Candidates suggested that endorsement of a candidate from a reputable body may be a workable option.
- The Presidential Candidates unanimously proposed that the National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) should assess the Presidential Candidates and endorse one of them so that votes and resources can be harmonized to contest against the two main political parties.
- The Presidential candidates stressed that the Christian Elders should ensure that emphasis in the endorsement is on “righteous” candidate.
- The meeting also resolved that the Christian Elders should ensure a broad based process and ensure there is good coordination of the endorsement.
Return to Parliamentary System
We had indicated earlier that Nigeria moved from Parliamentary to Presidential system in order to unite power in the hands of one tribe and one religion. It is on this basis that we regard all the presidential candidates irrespective of ethnicity and religion as all are qualified in their individual rights to be president of Nigeria. However returning to Parliamentary System will provide sufficient leadership from which one can be chosen to be “first” amongst equals. In the circumstance, the duty of the NCEF is to identify only one presidential candidate and all of them working together can re-structure the country to what it was at independence and later under the Republican Constitution of 1963.
The strategy is to use a presidential election to re-structure with a Constituent Assembly to draft a new constitution to be thereafter approved by the people of Nigeria in a referendum. This is a task for them all as a group because only a constitutional revolution can save this country.
Kingsley Moghalu and his running mate Mrs. Umma Getso of the Young Progressives Party (YPP) are chosen by NCEF as first amongst equals
- We found that Prof. Moghalu was the best prepared for his election of President of Nigeria as contained in his book Build, Innovate and Grow;
- His qualifications, experience and track record are first class; and
- His acceptability is indisputable and, above all, he is a committed and loyal Nigerian.
In Moghalu’s book Build, Innovate and Grow, his vision for Nigeria in its foreword, the Emir of Kano Muhammadu Sanusi II wrote: “If any country needs a bold vision of how to turn its under-achieved potential into reality, it is Nigeria. Few are more equipped and prepared to offer such a road map as Kingsley Moghalu. It is gratifying therefore, that after his critically acclaimed book Emerging Africa, which was a tour de force on continent-wide economic transformation in Africa, Kingsley has turned the full focus of his vision more precisely on our country Nigeria.” [pg. ix] He continued “Here I must pay tribute to Kingsley’s contributions to our collective achievements in stabilizing and reforming the Nigerian banking sector after the global financial crisis, as well as his ability to effectively communicate those reforms to the Nigerian public. --- This is a book whose time has come - a BIG vision for our country indeed. I hope that it will inform and inspire public debate and policy action to improve the lot of our citizens today, and shape the future of our youth and children. It is a vision worthy of our engagement to make it a reality.” [pgs. ix – xi]
Kingsley himself in the Preface wrote: I wrote this book in a season of anomie in Nigeria. Our country is clearly adrift. Our nationhood is questioned even as it is not yet formed. We are more divided than at any time before or after our civil war. Poverty and unemployment are rife. Across the land, the very security of life and limb is daily assaulted by mass killings. Where, we ask, is the state? New forms of terror have risen even as the battle to degrade Boko Haram rages in the Northeast. Fear and tension stalk the land.” He continued: “wrote BIG because I am passionate about Nigeria and about how we can, together, attain our potential as a wealthy and powerful country that will take its rightful place under the sun.” and concluded “With Build, Innovate and Grow I rededicate myself to the service of our fatherland. To paraphrase the immortal words of Nelson Mandela, this struggle to reinvent Nigeria for the better has now become my life. We all, working together, can get it done. Let's get to work.” Abuja, February 2018. This as the saying goes, “is from the horse’s mouth.” We could have rested our case on the above statement but that will not do justice to the man, his party and other presidential candidates we hope he should lead as first amongst equals.
In this write up, Golden Rule of the Holy Book love God and look up to your Neighbor as another self for Peace and Prosperity of Nigeria, we have shown that Nigeria’s main problem is the conflict of the ideologies of Democracy and Sharia and it is our hope that Kingsley will as first amongst equals be able to With Build, Innovate and Grow Nigeria, which as he said, “appears rudderless with no particular direction --- no purposeful destiny --- without lodestar --- a country or a nation without a clear world view that simply cannot become a prosperous and powerful one.” It is not a one man task; it is a task for all men and women of good will. The NCEF is convinced that Kingsley and his team with the help of all Nigerians of good will including other new presidential candidates and Christians, Muslims, Animists and those with traditional religion, will have all the support and resources to become the next President of Nigeria and after him a Prime Minister and Ceremonial President as it was in the beginning in 1960.
Jihad is Real
Former President Goodluck Jonathan in his book titled My Transition Hours , asked himself some pertinent questions “can an average politician be patriotic? The conduct of very senior politicians during that saga was a cause for concern”. This was the period in 1912 when he Jonathan tried to remove subsidy on petroleum product. He went on to say that this was the first time in the history of the Legislature in Nigeria that the House of Representatives sat on a Sunday. It was clear from President Jonathan’s narrative and the understanding of NCEF on Sharia that patriotism is secondary to jihad. NCEF therefore calls on former Heads of State and Presidents, “with the advice and assistance of Christian friends of jihadists” to intervene to stop future jihads. And the sooner this is done the better because there are thousands of Christian collaborators in the unholy wars.
Spies in our Midst
There is need to draw the attention of our future leaders to be careful of spies in our midst. These are people, men and women out of ignorance and in most cases, greed are prepared to betray their faith and country. Those who have been invited by us (NCEF) and well-meaning Nigerians to fill the role which most politicians of the past have failed to do that the greatest mission in our view of mankind on earth is the love of God and neighbor. Our Intelligence community has let down the country when it tried to replace Democracy with Sharia, as a result of this experimentation Nigeria has lost ground and today Nigeria seem to be like a sinking ship. The Intelligence Community can stop the killings and insecurity should they decide to do so. Nigeria, in the view of NCEF, is God’s gift to the black race as compensation for the evil of slavery of the 17th century with democracy as the protector of this gift for God.
With the amount of money allocated as security vote or is it insecurity vote, Nigeria has become less secure. There is need for us to change tactic. Christianity has been infiltrated to the extent that Elders are being attacked by those who should listen to them as a result the Church is divided and false prophets who now rule the land. Democracy will help to restore unity. Some Christians have become mouthpiece and foot soldiers of the Islamists as collaborators and instruments of stealth jihad.
Amalgamation of Northern and Southern Protectorates in 1914 should not be translated to “war without end” especially when the war is religious, and those against whom the Jihad is waged do not know of Stealth or Convention Jihad. The Jihadist regards it as slanderous for a non-Muslim to read the Quran and, worse still, for the non-Muslim to quote verses of the Quran. We, of the NCEF, have decided to speak out because at the meeting with the Presidential candidates, one of them as stated earlier told us, that the future belongs to the youth and therefore we, Elders should leave them to plan for their future. We agree fully with him, but have, therefore, in black and white, put down some of the things we know including how and why the “poisoned chalice” was served immediately after independence. We recommend that new breed presidential candidates should set up committees to examine in detail the content of this memorandum, Golden Rule of the Holy Book “Love God and Look Up to Your Neighbor as Another Self”. We have no doubt that Islam, the religion of peace, has similar provisions. We added that the nation requires cleansing. We are convinced that God has plans for you, when you decided to be a presidential candidate which includes engagement with the public to compel the return to Constitutional Parliamentary Democracy. Most of you new breed presidential candidates would have contested for lesser offices in the National, State and Local Governments but for the Stealth Jihad against Independent candidacy that was removed from the 1979 constitution. We see your elevation to this contest for the high office of president as the desire of God to fulfill a very important objective – Restructure Nigeria to strengthen democracy for the wellbeing of Nigeria and the Black race. We are aware that Professor Moghalu is asking for votes from all Nigerians, Christians and Muslims alike. We have chosen him because the two Muslim candidates of APC and PDP are handicapped in matters concerning jihad which they are obliged to pursue as Muslims. We have given our preferred candidate latitude to be flexible to accommodate views of other Nigerian Muslims or Animists in addition to the view herein contained based on Democracy which is the by-product of Christianity, which has helped the world to develop and progress to what we know today as Western civilization of looking up to your neighbor as another self.
Solomon Asemota, SAN
For and on behalf of NCEF
Abuja, December 17, 2018