By Alabi Williams
• ‘This Federation Is Oppressive’
• ‘Nigeria Will Break Up Unless We Talk’
• ‘We Must Break Over-concentration Of Power, Resources At The Centre’
ACROSS the country, a harvest of discontent by citizens seem to have crystallized into a multi-dimensional challenge for the Jonathan administration, with the various parts demanding one fundamental thing or the other from the federation. Just as government is battling to fend off recurrent vicious attacks from members of the terrorist Boko Haram sect, flags of self-determination are springing up in challenge of the supreme powers of the Federal Republic over its sovereign territory.
Citizens of Bakassi, which was ceded to Cameroun by the Federal Government in 2009, after the ruling of the International Court of Justice, have raised a flag of self-determination, alleging that government did not do well to have ceded their territory to Cameroon. They are asking for a review of the ICJ ruling, or, they would resort to self-help.
Last week, citizens of Ogoniland did the same thing, alleging government’s neglect after the devastating effect of oil exploration and production in their territory. They are threatening self-help if government does not address the issues raised in the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report on environment remediation in Ogoniland of august 2011
Displaced citizens of Bakassi lambasted the Federal Government for reneging on all the promises it made to the people in terms of providing for their welfare and assuaging their losses in the farmland and water resources that were given to Cameroon. Now, the people say there is another chance to redress the issues because an Article 60 of the Statutes of the ICJ provides that when fresh facts are discovered that are decisive in nature, that were not available at the time judgment was given, it could form a basis for the review.
About two weeks ago, Bayelsa State, the President’s home state caused uproar in the polity when it promulgated a bill that approved its own flag and anthem.
Though it’s not the first state to do so, coming after similar moves by Cross River, Osun, Ekiti, Lagos and others, the action of the Bayelsa State government was widely perceived as dangerous to the unity of the country, at a time when the federation is troubled by political and religious unrests.
These challenges are coming at a time a cross-section of citizens are calling on government to initiate processes for a review of the structure and political administration of the country.
Olu Falae, former Finance Minister and presidential candidate of the Alliance for Democracy thinks the time is ripe for the convoking of a conference to discuss the various challenges the country is grappling with.
He said: “The moment we have national conference, the Boko Haram menace will stop. I can tell you that. We are not breaking up the country. What we are breaking up is the over-concentration of power and resources at the centre.
Once there is inefficiency at the centre the whole system is inefficient. We need de-centralisation in the country. If one or two states are not moving forward in the country and others are moving, there will be development in the country, but when the whole system is not moving, then how would you move forward?”
Frederick Fasehun, leader of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) warns that the country will break if leaders refuse to call the people for a talk.
Dr Ekpo Ekpo Basey, chairman of Bakassi Local Government said; said the Federal Government needed to have a basis for the review. Now, the basis for the review has come up. That is based on the provision of Article 60 of the statutes of the ICJ which provides that when fresh facts are discovered that are decisive in nature, that was not available at the time the judgment was given, it can constitutive a basis for review.”
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