Urhobo Historical Society

Movement for a New Nigeria (MNN)
___________________________________

True Federation Charter

For

The Federal Republic of Nigeria

 

Contents Page

Preamble *

Chapter 1 Justification for True Federalism and Restructuring *

1.1 National Unity *

1.2 Popular and Legitimate Governance *

1.3 Equitable Representation *

1.4 Equitable Resource Distribution *

1.5 Political Stability *

1.6 Corruption Minimization *

1.7 People's Wishes *

1.8 Cultural Enrichment *

1.9 Economic Prosperity for All *

1.10 Patriotism *

1.11 Justice and Fairness *

1.12 Erosion of Values *

1.13 Decentralization of Resource Control *

1.14 Incentive for Creativity *

1.15 Discourage Intellectual Laziness *

1.16 Bloated Structure *

Chapter 2 The New Structure *

2.1 Four-tier System *

2.1.1 Federal *

2.1.2 Regions, Federating Units, and/or Ethnic Nationalities *

2.1.3 Province *

2.1.4 Division/City/Town council *

2.2 Three-tier System *

2.2.1 Federal *

Chapter 3 Federal Powers in the New Structure *

Chapter 4 Powers of Federating Units in the New Structure *

Chapter 5 Powers of Provinces/LGAs/Cities/Towns/ such other Administrative Units *

Chapter 6 Revenue Derivation/Generation/Allocation and Resource Control in the New Structure *

Chapter 7 Representation in the Federal House of Assembly in the New Structure *

Chapter 8 Representation in the Senate in the New Structure *

Chapter 9 Staffing of Federal Institutions in the New Structure *

Chapter 10 Transitional Issues in the New Structure *

10.1 Sharing of Current Federal Assets *

10.2 Current Federal Staffing in Ministries and Parastatals *

10.3 Other Transitional Issues *

Chapter 11 Armed Forces, Federal Police, and Security Services in the New Structure *

Chapter 12 How and Through What Means is Restructuring to be Achieved? *

Chapter 13 What Form of Judiciary would be ideal in the New Structure? *

Chapter 14 Other *

NOTE:

1) The terms Regions and Federating Units as used in this document mean the same thing. The two are used interchangeably.

2) National People's Conference and Sovereign National Conference as used in this document mean the same thin. The two are used interchangeably.

Preamble

We, the members of Movement for a New Nigeria (MNN), hereby propose a working document for restructuring the Federal Republic of Nigeria into a true federation. The purpose of this Charter is to provide a framework for deliberation on the issue by the National and State Assemblies, the Executive and Judiciary branches of government, the Press, ethnic groups and the general Nigerian public. This Charter is informed by the current social, economic, political, and ethnic problems plaguing our country. Many have called for a national dialogue to discuss the restructuring of the country. The Legislative and the Executive branches of government have a duty to heed to the people's request and review alternative structures that may offer better prospects for the country. With this in mind, we, members of MNN, comprising of a diverse group of Nigerians from all works of life and resident in all the continents of the world, offer the Charter proposed herein, as a basis for a focused discussion on Nigeria's future and restructuring.

Chapter 1 Justification for True Federalism and Restructuring

 

1.1 National Unity

National unity is achievable through trust and mutual respect. A true federation creates such an environment. The current structure breeds distrust, ethnicity or ethnocentrism, tribalism, discrimination and hatred, and does not assure a common purpose and goal for all.

1.2 Popular and Legitimate Governance

The current structure was imposed by the Armed Forces. It was not negotiated by the various Nigeria nationalities. The force of arms, without the consent of the people, subverted the original federation negotiated and agreed upon at independence. All other common law federations in the world have been negotiated by their peoples and the federating units were either "colonial entities" or "ethnic nationalities". The constituent units in Nigeria such as "colonial entities" or "ethnic nationalities" MUST negotiate a true federation.

1.3 Equitable Representation

Equitable representation of all ethnic nationalities in the Federal House of Assembly, Senate, and Government will be achieved. The current structure fails to allow equitable representation for many ethnic nationalities, while allowing over-representation for a few others.

1.4 Equitable Resource Distribution

Equitable distribution and management of resources will be achieved. The current structure creates disproportionate allocation of resources and dependence on the central government for such allocations; thus creating a welfare system.

1.5 Political Stability

Restructuring will eliminate political instability and a culture of military coup d' etat.

1.6 Corruption Minimization

Restructuring will considerably reduce corruption as the control of resources substantially shifts to the Federating Units who create the resources. A major reason for the scramble for power at the center is removed in the proposed structure, thus making it less attractive for those with selfish and less than noble intents. Complete control of resources and revenue at the Federal level also encourages corruption and lack of accountability. It also contributes to ethnic politics and regional sub-optimization at the expense of the entire country.

1.7 People's Wishes

Nigerians from Port Harcourt to Kaura Namoda and from Lagos to Kirenowa or Nguru want self-determination. They have expressed their wishes openly and publicly and the introduction of Sharia criminal law by some states has demonstrated the fact that different religious and ethnic groups may have different world views and perspectives that may be regionally acceptable but centrally unacceptable.

1.8 Cultural Enrichment

Restructuring will enrich the cultural heritage of the country by enhancing and developing the culture and identity of each ethnic nationality, rather than assimilate and destroy them as the current structure does.

1.9 Economic Prosperity for All

Restructuring will ensure equal participation in economic life of our people. It will encourage healthy economic competition among Federating Units or Regions and thus usher in an era of economic prosperity for all.

1.10 Patriotism

Restructuring will give Nigerians a reason to see themselves as stakeholders in the Nigeria project. This will arouse a feeling of ownership and a sense of patriotism which is a necessity for national development and growth. Citizens will be willing to safeguard the government and democracy with passion.

1.11 Justice and Fairness

Restructuring will bring relief to agitators, the oppressed, the alienated, and the marginalized. It will give a sense of justice to all.

1.12 Erosion of Values

Erosion in core values, misplacement of priorities, and economic and developmental stagnation and other maladies afflicting Nigeria are traceable to faulty structure. Restructuring is therefore necessary to address these issues.

1.13 Decentralization of Resource Control

The current arrangement where power and resource control are almost exclusively concentrated at the center is defective and does not engender stability or economic progress. This structure has been tried for more than 30 years and has not worked. So, why not effect a change and seek out more progressive structures that are indigenous to our culture and value systems?

1.14 Incentive for Creativity

Currently, there is no incentive for different states and ethnic nationalities to find creative resource generation modalities since they mainly depend on the Federal Government for subventions. When a region knows it must survive on its own, it will find creative and innovative ways to establish and maintain economic and political viability.

1.15 Discourage Intellectual Laziness

The current structure fosters a trend of intellectual laziness because it fails to explore new possibilities in other sectors of economic activity, while encouraging complete dependency on a largely single foreign exchange revenue source.

1.16 Bloated Structure

The Federal structure as currently composed is bloated and can not be run efficiently and effectively. There is need to devolve some power and control to the Regions or Federating units.

Chapter 2 The New Structure

The new structure could be founded either on a four-tier or three-tier system. Nigeria has had or has local experience with both systems, and the relevant infrastructure is already in place. Additional overall costs of transition would be minimal than would be the case if an entirely new and alien system were adopted.

2.1 Four-tier System

2.1.1 Federal

The Federal Republic of Nigeria consisting all the federating units or regions - should be made up of the Executive, Legislature, and Judiciary as presently constituted under the Presidential system, unless the Westminster Parliamentary system is preferred, in which case the equivalent structures shall be put in place. However, the far-reaching powers of the Executive branch should be appropriately reduced to reflect a federal, rather than a unitary structure.

2.1.2 Regions, Federating Units, and/or Ethnic Nationalities

This would be the second level of government. The Federating Units or Regions should consist of the major ethnic nationalities or at least the current six geopolitical zones, provided that regional boundaries are appropriately adjusted such that the entire population and territory of any one ethnic nationality should fall within one Region. The rationale for this is the need to ensure political stability and peace between all Regions, and the desirability that the nationalities question be resolved once and for all times. Each Region may be headed by an elected Governor if the Presidential system is adopted or by a Premier if the Westminster system is preferred. Structure may be similar to what currently obtains at the state level.

2.1.3 Province

This would be the third level of government. The current local government area structure or a modified version of it should be constituted. The Province may be governed by an elected Board of Commissioners who may appoint or elect one of the Commissioners as the Chief Executive Officer of the Province. Or in the alternative, the Province may be governed by an elected Chief Executive Officer responsible and answerable to an elected Board of Commissioners. Provinces would be made up of groups of Councils.

2.1.4 Division/City/Town council

This would be the fourth level of government. This is new but had been practiced in the past. This will help bring the government closer to everyone. City/Town Councils will govern metropolitan areas. Divisional Councils will cater for country areas. A geographic area should be designated as a city or town depending on the population and economic resource factor in the area. The main advantage is to bring the government to the grass-roots, and give everyone a sense of ownership of the Nigeria project.

2.2 Three-tier System

2.2.1 Federal

This is the same as in the Four-tier system.

2.2.2 Regions, Federating Units, and/or Ethnic Nationalities

This is the same as in the four-tier system.

2.2.3 Local Government Councils

This would be the third level of government. The structure should be similar to what currently exists but should incorporate any modifications as may be agreed by the ethnic nationalities.

Note: Details of the above should be negotiated and decided at the National People's Conference but the following or similar arrangements could constitute a guide that could form the basis of the new structure:

Ethnic nationalities that are sustainable demographically (population wise) and economically (resources wise) should constitute federating units in their own right.

Examples of Federating Units or Regions would be Hausa-Fulaniland, Yoruba land, Igboland, Kanuri, Ibibio, Ijaw, Tiv, Edo/Binis, Urhobos, Idomas, Nupes, Igalas and Efik/Annangs and any others that may be demographically and economically sustainable as stand alone Federating Units.

Medium and smaller ethnic nationalities which are likely to be unsustainable demographically or in terms or resources can, depending on their population become, Autonomous Provinces, Autonomous LGAs and Autonomous Communities within one common Federating Unit. These ethnic nationalities have had associations with their neighbors from time immemorial. These entities could negotiate with their neighbors and come together to form Regions which would become sustainable federating units. These may include all the minority ethnic nationalities currently in three of the 6 geopolitical zones in the country, if their peoples so wish.

At point of negotiation and formation of the new federation, ethnic nationalities should be free to negotiate for Regions or join any other Federating Unit as they deem fit. Thereafter, mechanisms should be put in place for peacefully opting in and out of federating units.

In relation to (d) above, any Regional/Federating Unit arrangements between ethnic nationalities must be founded on a fair and equitable association, which must be reflected in an agreed and binding constitution, including the terms for joining and opting out of such Federating Units or Regions that consist more than one ethnic nationality.

Such constitutionally guaranteed freedom of association ensures that every member ethnic nationality of such Federating Units or Regions must aspire to uphold the fair and equitable terms of their association, if the joint enterprise must endure. In effect, no ethnic nationality shall ever again be held to any inequitable and unfair association.

Federating Units or Regions should be free to create and fund their own LGAs/ Provinces and Councils as they deem fit, provided that guidelines and standards to be agreed by the Federating Units and given effect in the relevant federal enactment are complied with.

Where any number of nationalities prefer, by their own volition expressed in a referendum, to form a Region or Federating Unit such as those depicted in the six (6) Region Structure, they should be free to do so, and should be treated as such by the other parties to the federation.

The boundaries of the Federating Units/Regions should be such as to ensure that the peoples and territories of any one ethnic nationality fall within one Federating Unit/Region.

Chapter 3 Federal Powers in the New Structure

Federal Government should retain these powers, where the National Assembly can make laws. These are:

Defense; External Affairs; Internal Affairs; Income Tax; Foreign Trade; Federal police only for federal crimes; Internal affairs (waters, airspace and prisons ); Borrowing money on the public credit of the federation; Postal, telegraphic, telecommunication, and other like services; Astronomical and meteorological observations; Quarantine; Fisheries in Nigerian waters beyond territorial limits; Census and Statistics; Currency, coinage and legal tender; Banking other than Federating Unit banking, also banking extending beyond the boundaries of the region or Federating Unit concerned; the incorporation of banks and the issue of paper money; Insurance other than Federating Unit Insurance, also Insurance beyond the boundaries of the federating unit concerned; Weights and Measures; Bills of Exchange and Promissory Notes; Bankruptcy and Insolvency; Copyrights, patents of inventions and designs, and trade marks; Naturalization and Aliens; Invalid and old-age pensions; Social Security; The service and execution throughout Nigeria of the civil and criminal process and the judgment of the courts of the Federating Units; the recognition throughout Nigeria of the laws, the public Acts and records, and the judicial proceedings of the Federating Units; Immigration and Emigration; The acquisition of property on just terms from any Federating Unit or person for any purpose in respect of which the National Assembly has power to make laws; Conciliation and Arbitration for the prevention and settlement of industrial disputes extending beyond the limits of any one Federating Unit; Matters referred to the National Assembly by the House of Representatives of one Federating Unit or more etc.

The Federating Units or Regions may acquire these and other powers listed in the Exclusive List of the 1999 Constitution, as the ethnic nationalities in conference may agree, provided that the extent of Resource Control by the Federating Units is proportional to the share of power accruing to them and vice versa.

Note:

A standard federal tax structure for federal income and corporate tax should be established and the federal government should be responsible for enforcing federal laws on tax collection.

The Federal Government in the new structure will be small and may not fund or participate in regional programs. Its role should be to provide well-defined and unique services such as offering housing programs, student assistance programs, highway development and maintenance, mass transit system that will benefit all.

Federal tax should be used for those projects that have a national reach without prejudice to a particular Federating Unit. Such projects may include but not limited to federal highways, mass transit system, national security, research and development in emerging technology, social services for the elderly, children, and the disabled as well as establishment and maintenance of medical and social security trust funds. The Federal government and Federating Units should be as independent as possible in revenue generation matters within the limits set in a new constitution.

 

Chapter 4 Powers of Federating Units in the New Structure

The House of Representatives of each Federating Unit should be able to make laws covering the good government of the federating unit and create and fund its own provinces/LGAs/internal structures; Education (excluding Universities which will be shared responsibility); Health (largely but shared); police; commerce; culture; roads; transport; Industries; Registration of companies, associations, and corporations; State Courts and Laws; Marriage; Divorce and matrimonial causes, and in relation thereto, parental rights, and the custody and guardianship of infants; fisheries within territorial waters; mining and mineral resources; power, energy; forestry, timber; agriculture; environment and conservation; parks and wild life; levies and fines; licensing; petroleum and natural gas, banking within the federating unit, insurance within the federating unit; aviation, water resources and water ways; railways; energy generation and distribution etc.

The Region or Federating Unit shall make laws in all areas where there is no exclusive federal power, or where there is exclusive Federal power but the federal law is not expected to cover the field. However, in all such cases where the federal law does not cover the field, the federal law shall prevail over any law of a Federating Unit, which is in conflict with it.

The ethnic nationalities in the conference may agree to acquire more powers as they consider necessary from the Exclusive List of the 1999 Constitution, provided that the overall share of power between the Federation and Federating Units/Regions is proportionate to the extent of resource control by the Federating Units and vice versa.

Note:

Each Region/Federating Unit, provinces/councils shall have the powers to make local laws to collect excise, levies, and fees from businesses, real estate, mineral prospecting, inheritance property etc.

Chapter 5 Powers of Provinces/LGAs/Cities/Towns/ such other Administrative Units

The powers to be allocated to these should be similar to the powers of the current local government areas (LGAs). Further powers may be allocated as necessary by way of enactment by each Federating Unit/Region as may be agreed upon at the National People's Conference.

Chapter 6 Revenue Derivation/Generation/Allocation and Resource Control in the New Structure

6.1 True Federation is founded on every Federating Unit or Region having ownership and control of resources within its territory, but each such Federating Unit shall pay tax to the Federal Government on such resources generated from within its territory, varying from 10-40%, depending on the share of responsibilities between the two levels of government as may be agreed by the nationalities in conference and enshrined in the new constitution.

6.2 The proportion of revenue accruing to the Federating Units/Regions and the Federal Government shall vary from no more than 40% going to the Federation and no less than 60% accruing to the Federating Unit generating that revenue, depending on the allocation of responsibilities to the parties, but the federal government shall exercise control over the resources only to the extent that it is empowered by the constitution to collect taxes and royalties from the Federating Units. The Federation may allocate resources from any centrally generated revenue to each Federating Units on the basis of criteria that may be determined from time to time by the National Assembly.

6.2b The Regions or Federating Units should decide how best to make efficient use of their resources and seek for technological support from private corporations or investors when necessary. The federal government may have a revenue sharing program with regions and would be responsible for using standard tax structure to generate funds from companies and investors operating within the country.

[Comment: In most similar federations, the Federal Government has tax powers and does collect taxes (Personal Income Tax, Corporate or Business taxes, including VAT, Customs Duties etc.) There is usually an arrangement whereby the Federal Government returns a certain agreed percentage of this huge revenue to the Federating Units. It also helps to balance out some huge income differences between the Federating Units.]

6.3 By consensus agreement with Regions or Federating Units, The Federal Government may share the tax revenue it generates with the Regions or Federating Units at an agreed percentage in a proportion to be determined by the parties through a negotiated arrangement.

6.4 A process that allows the local units to control much of the locally sourced
revenue would encourage the federating units to assume a proactive role in
revenue generation. This would also lessen dependency on the Federal Government. In addition the limitation of "free" income flow to the Federal Government would greatly reduced the ability to misappropriate funds. At the local level, it would be easier to "police" locally generated revenue and hold "local operators" accountable for financial impropriety.

Chapter 7 Representation in the Federal House of Assembly in the New Structure

7.1 The Federal House of Assembly representation should, as usual, be based on population, delineated in equal portions for election purposes. The House of Assembly shall represent the interests of the people and the Federation.

7.2 The number of representatives coming from each Federating Unit should depend on their population, thereby giving an advantage in numbers to Federating Units with larger populations. This is similar to current arrangements and what obtains in federations and common law democracies the world over, where the House of Assembly and similar Parliaments are regarded as the people's House.

Chapter 8 Representation in the Senate in the New Structure

8.1 Each Federating Unit/Region should be represented in the Senate by an equal number of Senators as may be agreed upon, irrespective of population. The Senators shall represent the interests of the Federating Units/Regions.

8.2 No ethnic group or Federating Unit should be able to command numerical advantage in the "new Senate", unlike in the "existing Senate" where some ethnic groups command such numerical advantage in the House of Assembly as well as in the Senate.

8.3 Because of 8.2 above, the "new Senate" would be able to play the traditional role of Senates in exerting a moderating and balancing influence over distortions in governance which might and is often occasioned by the numerical advantage of some ethnic groups or Federating Units in the House of Assembly as in 7.2 above.

8.4 The new Senate becomes the conscience of the nation thus balancing the interests of the Federating Units or Regions, both big or small, by eliminating any possibility of any one or more Federating Units, no matter how large in population", imposing their will on the rest of the Federation.

Chapter 9 Staffing of Federal Institutions in the New Structure

Selection and commission in the Armed Forces, and appointments into Security Services and Federal Institutions should be based on "minimum quota within merit". That is, all candidates for appointment should first meet an agreed federal minimum standard for the particular levels of appointment, then minimum quota shall be applied to ensure fair and equitable representation. Where a Federating Unit or Region is unable to meet its full quota because of merit requirements, but satisfies the very low "minimum quota" that has been set to ensure fairness and equity, those unfilled positions from its full quota will be filled with those who meet the standard.

Chapter 10 Transitional Issues in the New Structure

The following transitional issues, in addition to any others that may arise, should be considered:

10.1 Sharing of Current Federal Assets

10.1.1 Federal Government shall retain assets in all areas where it has power or jurisdiction.

10.1.2 In all areas where the Federal Government had power, which have become devolved to a Federating Unit or Region due to restructuring and true federation, ownership of assets shall remain vested in the Federal Government, until the federating units either in a conference/convention or through the new national assembly passes such laws as will determine how the Federal Government would be divested of such assets and liabilities and how the proceeds, if any shall be applied.

10.2 Current Federal Staffing in Ministries and Parastatals

The Federating Units or Regions shall agree that all excess Federal staff be paid out from Federal funds and that each Federating Unit or Region shall immediately absorb staff who are natives of their areas into the corresponding establishments or duties within their respective federating units.

10.3 Other Transitional Issues

Beginning from getting the Federating Units or Regions to form and establish their own modus operandi, the proposed structure can take effect from the next election starting with the election of Governors for the Federating Units. After 2 years, the Federal Ministries, the Armed Forces and the Houses of Representatives at the Federal level should transition to the new structure. This entire transition should take no more than four years to implement.

Chapter 11 Armed Forces, Federal Police, and Security Services in the New Structure

11.1 (a) The Armed Forces and all federal security services should be
reorganized to have Federating Unit Commands that report to a central command. The commanding officer in a Regional command must not be a native of the region under command. The President of the Federation shall be the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.

(b) Specialized formations of the Armed Forces should be located across
different Federating Units. Examples of the specialized units are Armored Division, Mechanized Division, and Commando units. Military formations should be sited in the rural areas of the Federating Units in line with the culture world-wide in other to promote a committed, disciplined, and professional military sheltered from the potential distractions from the civil society.

11.2 Selections and commissions into the Armed Forces, and appointments into the Security Services and Federal Institutions shall be based on "minimum quota within merit". That is, all candidates for appointment would be required to first meet a federal minimum standard for the particular levels of the positions, then minimum quota shall be applied to ensure fair and equitable representation. Where a federating unit is unable to meet its "minimum quota within merits" those who meet the standard shall fill its unfilled position.

11.3 Special programs should be put in place to speedily build up the quota of Federating Units/Regions, who due to past policies are under-represented in the forces. The Armed Forces has to be Unitary. Federating Unit Commands should be responsible to one Central Command. We need a professional Armed Forces and only a unitary force can guarantee that.

11.4 Selection needs to be based on merit to ensure professionalism, but there should be a "minimum quota within that merit" if the Federation is to be balanced, fair and equitable. All Federating Units/Regions should be appropriately represented in the Armed Forces, if it is to become transformed into a peoples Armed Forces, that can be trusted and respected. In the interim, we must reform the Forces and pursue accelerated programs to build up the quota of all the many ethnic nationalities that are under-represented in the force.

11.5 In accordance with the provisions in 11.1 through 11.4 of this Charter, military infrastructure and presence, as much as the dictates of national security allows, should be spread equitably in all the Federating Units or Regions.

Chapter 12 How and Through What Means is Restructuring to be Achieved?

True federation and restructuring may be achieved by any of the methods listed below. Some of the avenues require support and co-operation of the Legislature and the Executive at both Federal and State levels and these are the most desirable options. Other possible options are based on precedents in other democracies where citizens and regions within the Federating Units independently undertook and implemented the processes leading to federation. The methods ultimately adopted would depend on the prevailing political circumstances.

12.1 One or more National People's Conferences or Sovereign National Conferences should be convened by an Act of the National Assembly. Representatives should be drawn from all ethnic nationalities. The first conference should discuss restructuring in general and set up working committees to cover all the aspects proposed in this paper. The second conference should ratify the decision of the committees.

12.2 Nationalities Peoples Convention organized by the nationalities or private citizens themselves. Referenda in all or most States of the Federation declaring their self-determination under one Federating Unit or the other, followed by a law passed in each House of Representative of the States within the territory of that Federating Unit, declaring such a State as part of that Federating Unit chosen by their people in the plebiscite.

Note:

Every ethnic Group is a Nationality and every such group or tribe MUST be represented in convention or conference.

12.3 Economic, Cultural, Political and Social Union of several States that wish to form one Federating Unit/Region, established by a simple law passed by the House of Representative of each of the interested States, creating a "College of Governors", "Councils of Commissioners" and "Houses of Assembly Consultative Forum" for the corresponding organs of the States wishing to form such a union. Decisions will be made commonly in consultation at the Federating Unit level, but each State organ will go away and implement the decisions in its own territory and each House will pass the same law as agreed. This approach can be adopted even within the current 1999 Constitution without breaching any of its provisions.

12.4 A law passed by the National Assembly creating the Regions or Federating Units, following either a conference/convention or referendum by each nationality confirming its federating unit of choice.

12.5 A constitutional amendment in the National Assembly, changing the structure of the federation in accordance with the wishes of the nationalities as expressed in the Report of the Yussuf Maman lead Presidential Technical Committee for the Review of the 1999 Constitution.

12.6 The Constitution emerging from any conference, convention or from any of the above processes from which true federation may be achieved, shall be subjected to a referendum passed by a simple majority of the currently registered eligible registered voters in each of the proposed Federating Units of the Federation.

12.7a. Where the Constitution fails to be passed in a referendum in any of the Federating Units, it shall continue to be re-presented in a referendum or more referenda until passed by the people of that Federating Unit.

12.7b The assumption in 12.7a above is that the nationalities or Federating Units have agreed on the terms of restructuring and true Federation; or where that is not the case, that they must continue to confer until they unanimously agree on such terms, before putting the issue to referenda simultaneously in all the Federating Units.

ALTERNATIVELY, where all the Federating Units or Regions conclusively fail to agree on the terms of restructuring and true Federation, and agreement is no longer possible and:

12.8 Where 2/3 of the number of Federating Units or Regions vote in favor of the terms of restructuring and True Federation, in referenda, then the new structure takes effect amongst such Federating Units where the referendum is passed. They would continue to confer and negotiate with the other Federating Units where referendum failed, until such a time they pass the referendum and rejoin the Federation.

12.8b The necessary implication of 12.8a above is that the country will break up peacefully, even if temporarily, but Nigerians have to always bear in mind that such a scenario is also a realistic possibility if the nationalities fail to make compromises and agree on terms of federation that is fair, equitable, beneficial and in the interest of all.

12.9 The decisions reached by any conference or convention of the ethnic nationalities or by any of the processes in 12.1 through 12.5 above shall not be amended by the National Assembly or the Federal Government, except as shall be stated in a resolution in that document, which shall be enacted either as the Constitution or part thereof as indicated.

Chapter 13 What Form of Judiciary would be ideal in the New Structure?

13.1 The Judiciary should remain with the Supreme Court as the apex Constitutional Court.

13.2 Regions or Federating Units shall have their laws but there should be common Federal Sovereignty in the criminal jurisdiction. That means that sharia can stay for Regions who want it. Also customary law can stay for Regions who want it. These two judicial systems must not be federalized.

13.3 The only major change to the judiciary would be the creation of a New Federal Magistracy of Common, Sharia and Customary Laws to oversee normal common law and sharia and customary laws trials. The Regional and FCT Sharia Court of Appeal and Regional and FCT Customary Court of Appeal should become merged into one Federal Court of Appeal for Common, Sharia and Customary Laws. The Regions would still maintain only their common law court systems but must give up jurisdictions on customary law and sharia law to the new Federal Magistrates Court system.
The aim is to ensure that only those who wish to be tried under those forms of law (different from common law) will get such trials. Also because those courts are manned by Federal Officers, there is no fear of imposition or
unfairness.

13.4 The Federal High Court Systems should remain. All appeals terminate at the Supreme Court, after passing through the one Federal Court of Appeal for Common, Sharia and Customary Laws.

ALTERNATIVELY

13.5 Federating Units/Regions may device and maintain their own individual criminal and civil law jurisdictions to the extent that may be agreed by the ethnic nationalities in the conference and enshrined in the new Constitution, provided that the Supreme Court of Nigeria shall remain the apex Constitutional Court with original jurisdiction over the Courts of the Federating Unit/Regions.

13.6 In the case of 13.5 above, each Federating Unit would have its own Supreme Court, whose final decisions would be appeal able in the Supreme Court of the Federation and which would be bound by decisions of the Supreme Court of the Federation.

Chapter 14 Other

14.1 Every Federating Unit should have its own constitution, flag, and all insignia of state.

14.2 Various inter-governmental commissions which co-operate at ministerial and other necessary levels shall be created to co-ordinate and create minimum national standards.

14.3 All federal laws must be such as to not discriminate between Federating Units, or such as to disadvantage or discriminate against a citizen by virtue of that citizen's residence in one federating unit and not in the other.

14.4 An Equal Opportunity Federal law should be enacted that will prohibit discrimination on the basis of age, sex, tribes, tribal mark's), ethnic origin, language spoken, dialect, religion, and national origin, political or group affiliation and nationality.

14.5 The Bill of Right sections of the 1999 Constitution should be retained and expanded to include more areas of individual rights as the nationalities in conference shall determine.

14.6 Commonality bonds must be maintained between the Federating Units or Regions to ensure unity
of purpose.

14.7 Nigerian citizenship should be restructured to give citizens more stake and
legal protection in places where they reside and pay taxes.

14.8 Nigerians in the new millennium must not be limited by their ancestral
origins. They must be free to geographically relocate themselves within the
framework of the country and be able to acquire the rights of residency with
time, unencumbered by their ancestral origins.

14.9 Constitutionally approved holidays, such as Nigeria Independence Day
should be universal and mandatory across the Federating Units or Regions. Other holidays should be left for the Federating Units or Regions and in some cases provinces to effect through their local statutes, in line with the wishes of their people.

14.10 The Federal Republic of Nigeria shall continue to be a free enterprise nation.

By

Movement for New Nigeria (MNN)

P. O. Box 1171
Fairfield, CT 06432
USA

Signed for and on behalf of MNN:

Francis Nnamdi Elekwachi (Australia) email: asaweze@primus.com.au

Goff Ekata (U.S.A) email: ekatag@mindspring.com

Ernest Madu (U.S.A) email: emadu@aol.com

                Yomi Salu (Jamaica) email: abayo48@yahoo.com

Chris Madu (U.S.A)

Emmanuel Uzo Obi (U.S.A)

Hassan Danladi (U.S.A)

Olu Ekundayo (Lagos) email: maxima1757@aol.com

                Sam Ahamefule (U.K.) email: sahamefule@aol.com

                Obiora Anyoku (U.S.A) email: nnanyelu@aol.com

Obi Uche (U.S.A)

Ibukunolu Alao Babajide (Tanzania)

                Chidi Bike (Lagos) email: chidike@dellnet.com

Adamu Yusuf (U.K.)

 

 March 28, 2005


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