Nigeria Constitution is a Fraud 

There is no one day that passes without a lawmaker from the National Assembly or someone in the media referring to the Constitution. A Constitution that is egregious and inept. Do we want to claim that the Constitution is fortuitous? No, ÔÇścause people including Judges who are suppose to be learned and vast in democratic matters sat down to draft the supposedly "Constitution." This writer opines among other things that a Constitution under normal circumstances is innocuous. Unfortunately, what we have today in Nigeria is a collection of papers deliberately put together to impoverish the masses, instead of being an antidote to problems. With all sincerity, is there any problem we would encounter tomorrow as a nation, and we expect to get an answer from any page of the nation's Constitution? 

Dozens of knowledgeable people including Jimmy Cliff, a reputable singer had told us several times that money is the root of all evils. Infact, this has become common knowledge for decades. So how come those who wrote the Constitution were insouciant with money related matters embedded in this document? Of course, the percentage of monetary issues in human existence is enormous. Once you take out money related affairs from the stack of those documents called Constitution, there is really nothing left to manage. As such, anyone is right to say that the Constitution is a bunch of fraudulent papers. Therefore, it's amazing that the product (Constitution) of erudite scholars permitted looting of the treasury, and used a word called immunity to block the heinous crime against humanity. 

Many of them in Abuja are unwise and full of knavery, or you can say they're hypocrites. Some of them will tell you that they contributed immensely to set-up EFCC/ICPC, and even appointed the Chairmen of these agencies. The Congressmen and women in Nigeria don't believe that prevention is better than cure; hence, they can afford to turn their eyes away from the key areas of the Constitution. In fairness, are the Congress men not na├»ve to think that they would allow so much stealing, then start going after the rogues with the material and human resources they don't posses? We're told that most of the Governors today and VP Atiku would be questioned after May 2007 for corruption. The question yet unanswered by EFCC is what about General Babangida and his cohorts? Why have they not been questioned since the birth of EFCC? If so much energy has been exhausted to retrieve General Abacha's loots, and all the threats to prosecute VP Atiku and others, are IBB and his men above the law? Mallam Ribadu and his commission must know clearly that injustice is a crime before Almighty God and must complete his tenure in office with all honesty. This writer believes Mallam Ribadu is playing a fast one on Nigerians. With all the loots in the hands of the many ex-Generals with which they still control politics from the back door, Ribadu is yet to investigate any of them. It's certain that he is protecting them as per their esprit-de-corps. Well time will tell. 

It's the presence of the Constitution that made it possible for us to have rights. As such, we can shout about violation of human rights, no respect for court orders etc. To this end, the Constitution has been able to keep us as a people within one geographical boundary. It takes an honest mind to operate the kind of Constitution we have now. The situation is such that, the present Constitution is bad and the operators are wicked to mankind. Otherwise how much in reality can a family consume in their whole lifespan. Imagine one man stealing billions. What will he do with it, other than to punish or deprive the common man of his daily bread and leisure? During the last Christmas holidays, there was no fuel for the common man, because the Constitution allowed money meant to build modern refineries that would provide jobs and fuel for the people to be carted away by the powers to be, yet we claim to have governments. 

What strikes our mind when we hear or talk about a Constitution is that, there is a document to guide the actions, policies, and politics of a group of people. Suffice it to say that with the Constitution, the goal posts cannot be changed at the middle of especially the political game. Again, ÔÇśbecause human life is not static, a Constitution is made flexible to appease her citizenry at a point in time hence the document is broad in nature. Of course, where doubt arises the legal luminaries have the task of interpreting the intention of the makers. It becomes obvious that the role of the judiciary in a democratic process cannot be over emphasized. The legal profession is humble, and you admire them in their magnificent gowns. They're the ones in whose hands the Constitution lies, and therefore they mold the future of the masses. We hear every now and then, that Nigerian lawyers do great job at the International court and elsewhere around the globe. Certainly, they would not have gained recognition without being articulated in their legal profession. So how did they lose their sense of professionalism in drafting the horrible document we now have as Constitution? Perhaps they deliberately created the loopholes so that they can be consulted as frequently as crises arise. This is another form of kickback and "kickfront," all to undo the masses. On the other hand, the legal giants may have pointed these irregularities to the military juntas, but they (soldiers) did not bulge. If this was the case, why didn't the National Bar Association alert the nation? In the past, the judiciary in an abracadabra manner quoted section "watic" (meaning, we are together in crime) from the Constitution to scuffle the Truth Commission set-up to reconcile aggrieved sections of the country. Whereas similar Commission in South Africa of yesterday completed a nice and meaningful job, only in Nigeria will the judiciary use sections of the Constitution to "dambaroo" anything good. You will think that with the large number of learned men from the Inns court law, London, Nigeria should have a Constitution that is diaphanous. The point here is that even the United States with the best Constitution is not a perfect society in terms of honesty and corruption. However, there are documents in place to check incessant misconduct/stealing or the excesses of a dictator. It will be premature to juxtapose American Constitution with ours, but it's incredible we could not be the copy-cat in photocopying such valuable documents without the word immunity. 

It's not surprising that the Constitution is fraught with contestable irregularities ÔÇścause fraudulent military people and their allies prepared the document which they forced down our throat to swallow. Be that as it may, why has this remained so since 1999? One school of thought believes that most of the Congress people in Nigeria cannot identify the Constitution if they see it, how much more to understand the content. Thus, the makers of the Constitution pretended to have produced voluminous viable papers to address vital matters in Nigeria. We now know that they did a rubbish job by producing worthless papers to swindle and make the masses poor forever. The reality is that what we're witnessing today is a long chain of thieves, ranging from the "Khaki" guys to some civilian elites. The military rogues, after looting the treasury, connived with some of these lawyers to draft a document that came to our democratic process with hoodwink. The supposedly document was designed to protect their (military) atrocities after their exit from mainstream power. Certainly, the military handpicked the President from prison and all those they wanted to occupy various offices. They (military guys) put the oil money in their hands to run orchestrated campaign to get to positions of protecting them. Today, most of them in the National Assembly are yes men to the military juntas. 

Governance in Nigeria is all about collaboration of the henchmen in the corridors of power to inflict continuous hunger on the people. When Chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN) and other human right activist go to court to seek redress, the judiciary is there to defend the henchmen or frustrate the case. Otherwise, how dare an advocate from Aso Rock  have the effrontery to stand in court and say that the report of Pius Okigbo's panel is missing? Where on this planet earth has a document become a tiny needle to be looked for? Alternatively, Aso Rock is telling Nigerians that every member of that panel is dead, so there is no trace of the document. We're told that, under the Constitution in Nigeria a Judge cannot ask questions during trial to enable him properly reach the bottom of a matter. 

It takes an honest mind to operate the current Nigeria Constitution. Obviously, any democratic government must have a document to operate on. Under the present dispensation, the Constitution has brought untold hardship to Nigerians. Nevertheless, history has always have a way of repeating itself, so it would not surprise anyone if what took place in the book titled "Animal Farm" takes place in Nigeria anytime from now. For God's sake, how on earth can anybody say that he came to erect democratic structure in Nigeria with the type of Constitution we have today? 

It's only in Nigeria that a Constitution betrays her people. It's only in Nigeria that the judicial hierarchy will tell us very soon without their tongues being cut-off that under the Constitution, President Obasanjo has the prerogative to invest billions of dollars to import arms and military equipment to crush people from the Niger Delta for their complaints of gross reap-off of their resources. Furthermore, it's only in Nigeria that the President and Vice President can belong to different political parties. All these steam from a useless and fraudulent document referred to as a Constitution. 

Tosan Okotie

Lives in Texas, USA  

February 8, 2007