If not for the NINAS Movement and their proclamation of Constitutional Force Majeure on 16th December 2020 that started the process to decommission the illegitimate 1999 Constitution, ordinary Nigerians would never have started to find out that that document, a forgery, is the source of their miseries. All this while they had been deceived by those who should have cared enough about their suffering (increasing as time goes by), to have told them the source of it.
When things are desperately bad in a country, people look towards the Church plus to the Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and Civil Society Organisation (CSOs) for assistance and relief. The Church has chosen to side with the oppressor. NGOs and CSOs who are of interest here, have also chosen to side with the oppressor. Lawyers head several of the main anti-corruption NGOs/CSOs so they had been aware right from the start that the illegitimate 1999 Constitution is a forgery, and that neither Democracy nor “Rule Of Law” could ever be possible under such a document. As for the main NGOs/CSOs involved with Entrepreneurship, or Youth Empowerment, or National Development, they too even if not headed by lawyers, would have seen for themselves that their interventions (if any) could not produce lasting results in the Nigerian environment, plus they too would have been aware of the NINAS Movement.
The 1999 Constitution’s 68-item Exclusive List of key developmental areas handed over to the Central Government, effectively hijacks the self-determination rights of ethnic nations, turning them into beggars (or slaves), waiting upon Central Government to give them the tools for protection, development and progress.
Furthermore, Chapter 2 of the 1999 Constitution states that: “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government…”, but it also makes all those welfare provisions non-justiciable, i.e. non-enforceable via Section 6. 6C. That means citizens cannot get relief from courts when their security, human rights, and developmental needs are denied.
Thus, apart from the 1999 Constitution being a known forgery, its provisions ensure that “anti-corruption” NGOs/CSO plus other NGOs, are leading citizens in a merry-go-round of activities without impactful results.
In Nigeria, the terms NGO and CSO are much the same, and can often be used interchangeably. They are supposed to be independent and not there to promote either the agenda of government, or the agenda of big business, but are meant to exist to promote and fight for the good of the people. They are supposed to promote good governance and transparency in both government and business practice, and make leaders accountable. They are supposed to be a voice for the voiceless, and make known the concerns and challenges that citizens, especially the poor, face. They are supposed to be a control against the excesses of government and big business. They are supposed to have a sense of humanity.
What we find however, is that the NGOs/CSOs are working the “Nigerian System” (ie promoting and upholding it), so appear to exist to make a name for the CEO, and to make money for management. The Nigerian System, re-established by the sham 1999 Constitution, was created by Frederick Lugard and described as “barbarous” by colonial judge Stocker. Barbarous means cruel, brutal and merciless. Those would be quite appropriate words to describe the NGOs/CSOs of Nigeria because rather than tell the public they claim to serve, the truth that the poverty, miseries and killings they go through each day, have the imposed 1999 Constitution as the source, they hide it. Instead, they help the oppressor by at every opportunity when they discuss an issue, shamelessly using the words: “It is constitutional!”, thereby pretending that the 1999 Constitution is a proper one, and in denial of a key principle of Democracy, which is that governance must be with “the consent of the governed”. Clearly, the 1999 Constitution that is a deceitfully renamed Military Decree 24, that was never put out to the people for Referendum, has not the consent of the governed.
To make matters worse, NGOs/CSOs in defiance of the ordinary people’s NINAS Movement for self-determination that declared a Constitutional Force Majeure to decommission that sham 1999 Constitution, are yet pushing and encouraging Nigerians to general elections in 2023 to renew the life of that Constitution, which would mean yet another four years of killings, miseries, and the barbarous Nigerian System for the suffering masses. These NGOs/CSOs would have known that the kind of emergency that Nigeria is in is best fixed via the non-violent NINAS Movement strategy that follows United Nations and International Law processes, which includes a Transitional Government where indigenous ethnic nations would have their Regional Referendums to address the Restructuring Debate, ie, decide what degree of self-determination they want: say, 50%?, 75%?, or 100%, etc?
There is a genocide going on mainly in the Middle Belt by Fulani militias for land grab. This genocide is no longer hidden, and even though mainstream media are not reporting it much, information about these horrific massacres continues to come out. That illegitimate 1999 Constitution enables the genocide by preventing indigenous communities from equipping themselves against armed invaders. NGO/CSO chiefs seem not to understand the implications of their positions, and the duty of care they owe to Nigerians. Perhaps they should do some reading about the Nuremberg Trials and what happened to those who knew about the genocide against the Jews, yet did not try to stop it. They should also note that this is the digital age so their actions to push Nigerians to Elections 2023 that renew the life of the sham 1999 Constitution are known.
It is becoming evident that too many bogus NGOs/CSOs exist only to obtain donor funds. NGOs/CSOs can show what type they are by how they respond to the call to get involved in bringing about Democracy and justice using non-violent means, by taking down that illegitimate 1999 Constitution, and not carry on pushing to renew its life via Elections 2023.
Ndidi Uwechue is a British citizen with Igbo heritage from the Lower Niger Bloc. She is a retired Metropolitan (London) Police Officer, she is a signatory to the Constitutional Force Majeure, and she writes from Abuja.