Afenifere and Governor Kwankwaso’s Sacred 1999 Constitution
Pan-Yoruba Socio-Political Organisation Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) came down yesterday with an intense position on Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of Kano State, regarding his call for the 1999 Constitution to be preserved as a sacred document. It could be recalled that Governor Kwankwaso had called for the preservation of the 1999 Constitution insisting that “any Constitution other than the 1999 Constitution should be rejected because anything less than that is an instrument by those who think it will help them.”
Also, the group categorized Governor Kwankwaso in the class of self-serving politicians labelling his position as “self-seeking” especially for a “politician who intends to become the President of Nigeria.” The ARG said that Governor Kwankwaso having affirmed the sanctity of the 1999 Constitution had also called for its amendment when it had affected him like in the two instances of Institutionalization of State Police, on which they said the Governor doubly-spoke (for and against) as well as the impeachment laws about which he called for an amendment.
My opinions on this are enumerated below in numbers;
1. Governor RMK as a bonafide citizen of Nigeria has a right to lawful expression of his views under the country’s Constitution.
2. The statement of Governor RMK (above as quoted by ARG) calling for the rejection of anything less than the 1999 Constitution is in line with his belief in the preservation of the existing Constitution.
3. However, belief in the preservation of the 1999 Constitution does not imply upholding all the laws within the document, rather it implies retaining the country’s constitution and effecting any amendments to the existing constitution while not abrogating the 1999 Constitution and replacing it with another; as such it is still referred to as “1999 Constitution as Amended”.
4. The insistence of Governor RMK borders around the danger of abrogating the 1999 Constitution completely and replacing it with another document for instance to be referred to as the “2014 Constitution”.
5. Abrogation of the 1999 Constitution, (rather than effecting the critical amendments to it by following the laid down processes as proposed by agents of subservience and against whom Governor RMK has remained resolute in his calls) would mean the deletion of every act that has preceded the “New” Constitution. For instance, it would mean that Governor Kwankwaso would be entitled to a fresh term of office under the “New” Constitution (even after completing 8 years of Governorship) because it would have deleted the precedence in an “Old” Constitution. Same would go to all Constitutional processes, which would literally take up new lives upon declaration of a “New” Constitution.
6. Governor Kwankwaso favours necessary amendments that are critical to equity, fairness and justice as underlined by his ceaseless calls for a more robust revenue sharing framework, review of the onshore/offshore dichotomy abrogation, entrenchment of a professional security service devoid of trivial biases and numerous other holistic agendas that are critical to the nation’s progress. However, all these could be accommodated in a Constitutional Amendment process rather than an abrogation of the 1999 Constitution and its replacement with a 2014 Constitution.
7. On the allegation of selective calls for amendments to accommodate (i) State Police and (ii) Review of Impeachment Laws;
(i) Governor RMK took a stand on retaining the Federal Policing structure in his unwavering belief in the professionalism and impartiality of the Federal Force in protecting and preserving the country’s security system, however the involvement of the security agencies in disruption of activities that were seen to be hurtful to the ruling party and current government’s retention of power (as seen in Rivers State, Ekiti State, Osun State, Kano State, Nassarawa State, Anambra State and others) through arbitrary arrests, unlawful detention, withdrawal of security aides and numerous other acts of impunity whose only justification has always been “orders from above” have led to question the “nationality” of such Federal Police. As such every politician worth his salt would then require for such laws to be reviewed since the powers accorded the umpires have been maximally abused.
(ii) Governor RMK only spoke on review of impeachment laws when it became apparent to the whole world that impeachments were only targeted at muting perceived opponents after deployment of huge volumes of resources to the State Houses of Assembly; if that isn’t the case why has the Taraba State House of Assembly not declared an absentee Governor incapacitated (after almost 2 years’ treatment without resumption) and declared the Acting Governor as Substantive? Rather focus has been on states led by the opposition that are perceived enemies of the FG.
8. The ARG in its statement pointed to Governor RMK as one of those vying for the country’s highest office even though he is yet to make a public declaration of such interest. Of course this is a testament to the fact that ARG sees in him an alternative that is worthy enough to come forward in seeking to lead his fatherland.
Having outlined these issues as my personal views as a committed believer in Kwankwasiyya as a philosophy and vehicle for institutionalization of change, one also needs to ask the ARG some few questions regarding their commitment to the sanctity of Nigeria and its laws;
a. a. Is the ARG aware that the North Eastern part of Nigeria is under constant attack and that the major towns in Borno State have fallen to the command of insurgents with the exception of the state capital and few others, yet the country’s president tours different countries for meetings leaving us to our fate? Hasn’t the 1999 Constitution hung the responsibility of protection of lives, property and the country’s sovereignty around his neck? Has the ARG flayed him for that purpose?
b. b. Is the ARG aware that numerous citizens of Nigeria are in custody of the insurgents in the North East and parts of Cameroon yet no meaningful rescue attempt has been effected save for a few escapes, even with a full-fledged State of Emergency in place? Has the ARG flayed anyone for that?
c. c. Is the ARG aware that Kano is Nigeria’s most improved state in all ramifications, symbolically leaping over Ogun State in the 2014 WAEC performances and enabling over 620,000 small businesses mostly owned by women to fruition in the last 3 years? Have they commended Governor RMK for such futuristic posturing?
d. d. Is the ARG aware that the hundreds of thousands of jobs created in Kano as well as the geometric rise in school enrolment and enhancement of massive social inclusivity is the most potent tool towards tackling insurgency? Have they commended Governor RMK for that?
I understand that the ARG misunderstood Governor Kwankwaso’s call for the preservation of the 1999 Constitution to mean zero amendments rather than non-abrogation. However, Nigeria as a country must copy and cascade the social, physical and intellectual infrastructure and inclusivity efforts and achievements of the Kwankwasiyya administration in Kano in a span of 3 years under the able leadership of the country’s most purposeful progressive politician in contemporary history. I wish to call on the ARG to study and understand the Kwankwasiyya leadership philosophy, anchored upon courage, commitment, capacity, belief and performance; the most obvious “thrown-aways” being waste, docility and self-service.
Umar Y. Mukhtar (UMY)
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