Let’s get straight to the point on the legality, morality and logicality of the call for secession by Nnamdi Kanu. Their is no secession clause in the Nigerian Constitution. The men(the military men) who sat down to pen what we call our constitution didn’t provide a place for such. In clear terms what this means is that, as it stands now, referendum is unconstitutional in Nigeria. It is illegal and cannot happen.
Before anything like referendum is made possible, the Nigerian senate and the presidency has to work together for the amendment of the constitution. For those who don’t know, a referendum in this case, is a vote for or against the formation of a new nation. It is through referendum that a new country is born from an older one. To bring it home, before Biafra secedes from Nigeria and becomes an independent country, this ought to happen.
The Nigerian constitution also recognises the freedom and right to express yourself. It recognises a person’s right to freely express him or herself, in favour of a particular argument or to antagonise it. Chapter 4 of the 1999 constitution clearly detailed the rights of the citizen and liberty of the human being. It also recognizes that the rights of a citizen is only tampered with when he or she infringes on the right of another citizen.
You can have strange ideas but as long as it has no negative effect on other persons, you are not guilty of inciting violence or any problem. Weird thoughts are allowed as long as they are not weird enough to illicit behaviours capable of causing mayhem and skirmishes on the street. This is where some of the arguments against and for Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People Of Biafra, IPOB, is coming from.
The constitution did not create a place for people like Nnamdi Kanu to request for secession. Though the Nigerian Constitution allows Kanu to express his ideas, it doesn’t permit the expression of ideas that contradicts the cord that binds the country. It is not recognized and thus we won’t be wrong to suggest that in Nigeria, any call for a referendum is illegal. Constitutionally and legally we are correct.
This is why some of our past Presidents, Heads of States and current leaders love to use the self-refuting line ‘the unity of Nigeria is nonnegotiable”. The men who wrote the constitution made any act of secession a grave sin. But the truth is, the constitution was made for man and not man for the constitution. The constitution exists because the Nigeria people want to lead their lives, whether directly or indirectly, by its dictates.
Yes, Kanu is wrong on the constitutional level. He is wrong to decide or try to break the cord that binds the country together. He is wrong when weighed on the scale of our constitution. But is Kanu MORALLY wrong to want to have his own country? Is it wrong for a citizen who thinks, even if erroneously, he is being marginalized or shortchanged, to call or ask for referendum or secession?
Is it right or wrong to use insults to get whatever you want from a person? Is it right or wrong to ask that a people(with a population, more than some nations in Europe) demand if they want to stay in a country or they don’t want to? Is preservation of unity or oneness achieved by respecting what is constitutionally right, what is morally right, both or none? Because the constitution was derived from the moral prism of its progenitors, morality supersedes legality. Simple.
So, let’s discuss what is morally wrong and right with Nnamdi Kanu asking for Biafra. Is Kanu MORALLY wrong to want to have his own country? The answer is NO. I already wrote that the constitution was made for man and not man for the constitution. The Nigerian constitution was written, even if it is not entirely true, by the people of Nigeria. Every human being is an independent moral entity. Every human being has the right to decide how to live.
He has the right to decide whom to live with. He has the right to express himself. In that case, asking that you want to live separately from the people of Nigeria or that you want your own country is not morally wrong. It could be constitutionally wrong but morality trumps legality. Nnamdi Kanu is not wrong for asking for a referendum. No human being anywhere would be wrong to ask to leave apart from anybody.
Is it right or wrong to use insults to get whatever you want from a person? I think that’s simple. Once we begin to raise our voices and improve on the bleak quality of our gutter language, it is easy to see that we are morally wrong. When Kanu uses those demeaning words to attack the perceived enemies of Biafra, he is acting immorally. It takes a certain loss of humanity on a person for another human being to use insults on them or vice versa.
It is either that the attacker is not intellectually and temperamentally savvy enough to handle his victim or that he no longer sees his victim in a human form that affords the brain to understand their argument. It is from these thoughts that the word “Zoo”, he uses to describe Nigeria, comes from. It is from these points that we insult people we feel are beneath our level of understanding. Constitutionally, there is nothing wrong with insults but morally, it is wrong. And morality eclipse legality.
Is the preservation of a country’s unity a moral issue or a constitutional issue? If you want peace and a reasonable level of sanity, what is required for the unity of a country to exist is by doing what is morally right and not what is only right constitutionally. If our constitution fails to recognise what is morally right as legally right, then we are leaving room for trouble and a great step to nipping it in the bud would be to include it as soon as possible.
Nigeria’s unity is not nonnegotiable. Nigeria’s unity and oneness should not be a do-or-die affair. Irrespective of who wrote such law, the present people that make up any entity must be allowed to decide if they want to live together or split. Our fathers decisions or oaths shouldn’t be binding on us. We should be at liberty to choose if we want to continue with them or discard them. This is moral, commonsensical and will prevent bad blood and any possible trouble. The preservation of a country’s unity is a moral issue.
And what is logically right or wrong with Nnamdi Kanu asking for Biafra? The reason we are talking about Nnamdi Kanu today is because his methods, whether we admit it or not, is working. We have had so many secessionist groups before him but none has generated this level of controversy in Nigeria. None had a leader who took insults to a whole new level. None had its unarmed members shot at but still go back protesting.
None has had a leadership that asked its members and loyalists to abandon their jobs for one day(as evident in the May 30 Biafran Heroes Remembrance Day) and they did. None has created this level of tension without firing a gun. We must admit that their is a logic in his madness. No matter how much we loathe him, no matter how much we hate what he is fighting for, it wouldn’t be wrong to accept that this madness is logical.
Here is what I mean. Take Nnamdi Kanu’s demeaning utterances against Nigeria and Nigerians for example. These utterances are evil and shouldn’t be encouraged but they are working. The reason why they working is because our leaders are not a set of people moved by good behaviour. Our leaders are not a set of people who listen when a person tries to get their attention through meekness and sound statements. Use the Doctor’s and ASUU strike as example.
The reason Kanu is been spoken of today is because we have a set of leaders who don’t follow or respect the logic of humility but only listens when you speak the language of chaos. This is why the few good men around are not heard. They don’t threaten anyone with hate or murder. They don’t call the people in governance “pigs” or use the word ‘zoo’ to describe Nigeria. Kanu knows this and is using it to his advantage. That is logic. Any day Gani Adams borrows Kanu’s dictionary we’d start talking about him. It is a shame that that is the people we are!
The bottom line is, what Kanu is asking for is not morally wrong but the way he is asking for it is. What he is asking for is unconstitutional but laws are made for man and not man for the law. The way he is asking for it is wrong but his method is working. His immoral method is working simply because we as a people and our leaders only respond to immoral methods. We respect chaos more than peace and positivism.
It is very difficult to achieve what he is trying to achieve in Nigeria by being reasonable. Let’s be honest, it would be hard to secede in this country through constitutional and moral means. That is unfortunate. We are a people who only listen to lawlessness. This is why the government only calls for a meeting after ASUU strike. This is why they listen to the Medical Doctors after they leave the hospital for a strike action.
This is why a person can break their bail conditions and nothing can be done about it. This is why the federal government will abuse the rule of law and people will be applauding. It is a culture. A culture of respecting only poor methods. In a democracy, any way to achieve justice shouldn’t be promoted. Only democratic means should be used in achieving justice in any democracy. Until we correct this we’d keep producing people with that mindset. Nnamdi Kanu is just acting like one us.