FREEDOM, DEVELOPMENT OR PRESIDENCY- WHICH WAY FORWARD FOR THE IGBO NATION?
Lecture delivered to the Aladinmma Town Hall Meeting on 30 April 2022 by Barrister Emeka Emekesiri
(1) I express my appreciation to the leaders of Aladinmma Town Hall Meeting for extending their invitation to me to deliver this lecture. My name is Emeka John Chigozie Emekesiri. I am a native of Okwara-Unegbu Village, Amucha, Njaba Local Government Area, in the Orlu Senatorial District, Imo State. By professional training and qualifications, I am a Barrister & Solicitor, Estate Surveyor & Valuer, Management Consultant, a Theologian and Minister of God and an Apostle of Jesus Christ. By traditional and customary leadership status in Igboland, I am the Nzeobi II of Okwara-Unegbu in Amucha, Njaba Local Government Area, Imo State.
(2) In the quest for the emancipation of the Igbo Nation, I created and founded five institutions to engage with the Nigerian Government for the freedom of the Igbo Nation by the rule of law, politics and diplomacy. Those five institutions are as follows:
(a) Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)
(b) Supreme Council of Elders of Indigenous People of Biafra (SCE-IPOB)
(c) Bilie Human Rights Initiative (BHRI)
(d) Movement of Biafrans in Nigeria (MOBIN)
(e) Customary Government of Indigenous People of Biafra (CG-IPOB)
(3) These institutions started very well and worked by the rule of law and political diplomacy and engaged with the Federal Government of Nigeria in a peaceful and diplomatic way until an evil wind blew and scattered us and seemed to have changed the course and direction of the struggle. However, the struggle continues as we have learnt our lessons the hard way and adopted different strategies.
2. What the Igbo People Want and How to Achieve it
(1) I have been requested to speak on the topic: “Freedom, Development or Presidency- Which Way Forward?” It appears to me that the framers of the question think that the three options (Freedom, Development and Presidency) are mutually exclusive. In other words, they think that we can take one option and forget the others. They are wrong for thinking this way, with due respect. My position is that the Igbo people should actually have the three (Freedom, Development and Presidency) and I will tell you how and why.
(2) In a nutshell, the Igbo people want all the three. They are clamoring for freedom. They are clamoring for development. They are clamoring for an Igbo man to become the President of Nigeria. But the question is whether the Presidency of Nigeria by an Igbo man alone will solve the problem of the Igbo nation. No, I do not think so.
(3) I want to make a prediction regarding the Presidency of Nigeria in 2023. It is very likely that the owners of Nigeria and the international community will concede the presidency to the Igbo Nation in 2023 but will give the position to an Igbo man who they can manipulate and blackmail into submission so that the problem of the Igbo Nation continues! I used the phrase “concede the presidency to the Igbo Nation” because the Igbo people will not be able to win the Presidency under the current Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 unless the other Regions concede it to them. The Constitution and Laws of Nigeria are skewed particularly against the Igbo people to stop them from rising up as a Regional Power.
(4) As I said in the introductory part of this lecture, we have changed our strategies to achieve the type of freedom and development that the Igbo people are yearning for which they really need. We are not confused despite the confusions that have been introduced into the struggle by career freedom fighters who depend on the struggle for their stomach. For this reason, we have activated the second phase of the struggle for the emancipation of the Igbo Nation which we describe as the Autonomous Regional Government of the South East of Nigeria by Devolution of Power also known as the Restructuring of Nigeria into six self-governing autonomous Regions. We are not talking about Biafra now but the Igbo Nation.
(5) On the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999:
(a) Some freedom fighters are of the opinion that the Nigerian Constitution is fraudulent and should be pulled down first before any progress can be made in the emancipation of the Igbo Nation and other ethnic nationalities trapped in Nigeria. Their argument is hinged on the Preamble to the Nigerian Constitution which says that “We the people of Nigeria” made the Constitution which we never made. This is a big lie because we did not make the Nigerian Constitution. It was made by the military and imposed upon us.
(b) In other words, the military people who made the Nigerian Constitution did not obtain the consent of the Nigerian people before promulgating a Decree called the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999. Therefore, for making the Constitution without the consent of the people for whom it was made, the Nigerian Constitution lacks legitimacy. This is a good legal argument, although they have not argued the exceptions to the rule of law in making a contract. The Constitution is a social contract and therefore subject to the rules of the law of contract.
(c) They argued that the Constitution is fraudulent, void and invalid for lacking legitimacy and therefore the Nigerian Elections in 2023 should not hold unless the Constitution is first pulled down and replaced by the people’s Constitution. They argued that no amendment by the legislature can save the fraudulent Constitution because it is incurably bad. The legislature itself was the product of the fraudulent Constitution.
(d) I agree with the submission that if an act is void, it is bad and incurably bad and cannot be saved by an amendment. This is the decision of the Court in the case of Macfoy v UAC (1969) 3 All ER 1169 where Lord Denning pronounced the position of the law that “If an act is void, then it is in law a nullity. It is not only bad, but incurably bad. There is no need for an order of the court to set it aside. It is automatically null and void without more ado, though it is sometimes convenient to have the court declare it to be so. And every proceeding which is founded on it is also bad and incurably bad. You cannot put something on nothing and expect it to stay there. It will collapse.”
(e) If we apply this principle of law in the case of Macfoy v UAC to the Nigerian Constitution without balancing it with the exceptions to the rule of law of contract in contract-making, it means that the Nigerian Constitution is void and a nullity and incurably bad. It means that everything built or established under the Nigerian Constitution must collapse because you cannot put something on nothing and expect it to stand.
(f) Therefore, it means that all the institutions established by the Nigerian Constitution must collapse: the judiciary, the army, the police, the states and local governments, the universities and the certificates awarded by the universities, etc. In effect, there will be anarchy because there is no law holding Nigeria as one country anymore. In such a situation, nobody should talk about Igbo Presidency in the 2023 Election because there is no more Nigeria to conduct an election.
The Rule of Law that validates the Nigerian Constitution
(g) I want to make a very strong legal argument here regarding the Nigerian Constitution as to whether it is fraudulent and invalid or not. My legal argument may offend some people but I must tell you the truth as a lawyer.
(h) The Nigerian Constitution was made without the consent of the people of Nigeria for whom it was made. Therefore, it lacked legitimacy at the time it was made. However, the people of Nigeria accepted it and elected their representatives who went to the National Assembly and RATIFIED the evil Constitution in 1979. It is the same Constitution that has been amended from time to time until now called the 1999 Constitution.
(i) Ratification is the acceptance and adoption by a person of an act done on his behalf by another person who was not his agent and did not have his consent or authorization at the time to do what he did. Ratification gives effect to what a purported agent has done without prior authority of the person for whom it was done. It is retroactive in effect and furnishes the authority that was lacking at the time the contract was made.
(j) Ratification can be express or implied by conduct. If a person creates a contract on your behalf without your consent, and upon knowing what he has done, you accepted some benefits from the contract, you cannot turn around to reject the contract for being made without your consent. You have ratified the contract by enjoying some benefits derived from the contract.
(k) The principle of law of contract by ratification states that “Ratihabitio mandato aequiparatur” (Ratification is equivalent to express command). Once you ratify an act done by somebody on your behalf without your consent, whether you ratify it expressly or by conduct, you have given a retroactive authorization to the person who acted without your consent. This is the law of contract applicable to social contracts which every lawyer knows or ought to know.
(l) Another principle of law is that every law enacted by the parliament remains valid until repealed or set aside by a court of competent jurisdiction; and every order or judgment of the court remains valid until set aside by a higher court. At the moment, no Court of Law has declared the Nigerian Constitution null and void. The Constitution therefore remains valid as the Nigerian law until repealed or set aside.
(m) Yet another principle of public law is encapsulated in the maxim, “salus populi est suprema lex” (the safety of the public is the supreme law). By this principle, all the Judges in the world are required to abstain from pronouncing any judgments that can cause chaos, anarchy and breach of public peace. If any Judge pronounces a judgment declaring the Nigerian Constitution void and a nullity, it means that the judiciary where the Judge is sitting becomes void and every decision of the Court made in the past becomes a nullity. Every institution will collapse. There will no longer be the army, the police, the universities, the states and local governments, etc, because they were all created by the Constitution. There will be anarchy and no Judge will pronounce a judgment that can cause anarchy and breach of public peace.
(n) The Nigerian Constitution is the grundnorm upon which all other laws in Nigeria are founded. Some of the benefits derived by the people from the Nigerian Constitution are the creation of States and Local Governments, the creation of the judiciary, the creation of the police, the army, the universities, the licensing of the banks and other financial institutions, etc. Today, if we recommend that the Degree Certificates of all the graduates from the Universities in Nigeria (whether State or Federal) should be declared invalid, null and void, ab initio, you can imagine the consequences. If we recommend that the Local Governments should be dissolved because they were created under the fraudulent Constitution, many people will never agree that their own Local Governments should be dissolved.
(o) Every Local Government in Nigeria receives not less than N50 million every month from the Federation Account. I am not talking about the States but the Local Governments. What have they done with this money every month? You can see that although the Nigerian Constitution is bad and should be pulled down immediately and replaced with the people’ Constitution, the problem of the Igbo Nation goes beyond the Constitution.
6. The Way Forward:
(1) Putting our House in Order: I have seen that almost every Igbo person who considers himself or herself to be a freedom fighter thinks that he knows it better than the other persons. For this reason, there is rebellion and insubordination in the Igbo National Leadership. It appears impossible to get the Igbo people to agree with one another on the way forward. This is a very difficult problem touching upon the psyche of the Igbo Nation.
(2) When we started the struggle for self-determination by the movement of Indigenous People of Biafra under the leadership of the Supreme Council of Elders headed by His Royal Majesty, His Lordship, the Honourable Justice Eze Ozobu; Dr Dozie Ikedife, Brig Gen Joe Achuzia, and the other Elders, there was a young man who came from MASSOB and joined us. We put him in our Media Department because we believed he was talented in media work. We did not know that he had an ulterior motive. He became recalcitrant and rebellious. He announced on the air that he had dissolved the Council of Elders and declared himself the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra! In his broadcast against any person having a different opinion about the way forward in our liberation struggle, he condemned our legal methodology of self-determination. Let me reproduce the broadcast here:
“Every calamity that has ever befallen the Biafran people in the expired Lugard contraption Flora Shaw named Nigger-area (Nigeria) were perpetrated by those Igbos born outside Biafraland of dubious and questionable parentage. The list is endless right from Dr. Azikiwe to the fool called Ukpabi Asika who I am certain is in hell. Henceforth and in keeping with our oath, all saboteurs will be caught and executed. There will be no mercy, no pardon, no forgiveness. All traitors must die and so too their families. This nonsensical disease of Igbo saboteurs springing up all over the place in the name of having a different opinion on Biafra liberation will no longer be tolerated especially those who claim they are Biafrans but are supporting APC or APC candidates”. (Speaker’s name withheld).
“The best antidote to lies and deceit is TRUTH. The best antidote to treachery and sabotage is death. To all the amateur lawyers experimenting with Biafra independence in Nigeria law court and their shameless deceit your end is near. THIS IS THE PM EDITION OF RADIO BIAFRA LIVE BROADCAST OF 14 JUNE 2014 FROM ENUGU THE CAPITAL CITY OF BIAFRALAND. In this episode: Three questions Bilie APC/BHRI will never answer and which they must be pressured to provide answers are: (1) Why is Bilie APC/BHRI continuing to deceive Biafrans with a court case when there is no recorded case in history where a country got independence through legal method? Ask them to name one country that got freedoms through the courts………Say no to further deceit in the name of Biafra, join the revolution today. Without violence there will be no Biafra. No country won her freedom through legal method. This legal method rubbish is a fraud. No compromise, no retreat, no surrender. Biafra or death!” (Speaker’s name withheld)
(3) From the above statements, it is clear that there is a big problem now because some people do not believe in the use of law, politics and diplomacy for the emancipation of the Igbo nation. The speaker preached that “without violence there will be no Biafra. No country won her freedom through legal method. This legal method rubbish is a fraud”. The legal methodology consists of the use of judicial, political and diplomatic strategies.
(4) At the moment, we have seen the people called Unknown Gun Men who kill anybody in the South East participating in the Nigerian politics. They do not allow any person in the South East to obtain the Voter’s Card (PVC). They are agitating for the freedom of Biafra and say there should be no election in Biafraland.
(5) The irony is that their “Biafraland” is only the five States of the South East Region where they enforce their Monday Sit-At-Home Order. All other States in the South-South Region and other parts of Nigeria where the Igbo people dwell are moving on with their daily lives including Asaba in Delta State. They have threatened to kill any person who comes out for the election in the South East. How then shall those asking for the Igbo Presidency succeed in their quest? These people do not accept other people’s opinion on the way forward for the emancipation of the Igbo Nation. It is either their own way or no other way! This is a big problem.
(6) Message to Unknown Gun Men in Igboland: Putting our House in Order:
(a) The Unknown Gun Men have struck fear into the hearts of the people of the South East. Many Igbo people and businesses have relocated to the South-South, South West and the North to escape from the killings going on in the South East. It is an abomination in Igbo Customs and Traditions for you to kill your own brother who is suffering and fighting the same battle with you instead of killing the common enemy. In a situation of lawlessness as we have in Igboland today, nobody is safe because your enemies can come as “Unknown Gun Men” and kill you in the name of agitating for Biafra.
(b) I therefore appeal to the Unknown Gun Men to stop the killings and allow peace to return to Igboland. There can be no development in Igboland without peace and security. If there is no election in Igboland, the President of Nigeria can activate his emergency powers under Section 305 of the Constitution and impose some retired Army Generals to govern the South East as Military Administrators. Of course, we know that the current President of Nigeria hates us and will not choose the Retired Generals from the South East but will impose upon us some names like Retired Maj General Abdullahi; Retired Lt Col. Muhammadu; Retired Brig Gen Shehu, etc. Then, the South East will be under the Fulani Military Rule. Is this what we want?
(c) I can appreciate the fears of the Unknown Gun Men regarding the power of the law. This is why they hide their faces and describe themselves as Unknown Gun Men. They fear that the law will go after them and catch them if they become known. I would like them to know that they have the right to be represented by any lawyer of their choice who will protect their confidentiality and present their grievances to the appropriate authority. In my capacity as Barrister & Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, and the Solicitor of England & Wales, I promise to secure pardon and amnesty for them if they would accept my plea and stop the killings and allow peace to return to Igboland. They can be redeployed into other aspects of the struggle for our common good and be properly regulated under the law and remunerated.
(d) We must put our house in order and return to the original Igbo foundation and philosophy of life established by our ancestors. We must return to our ancestral foundation of godliness, morality, honesty, integrity, fear of God and respect for elders and constituted authorities in the land. Without orderliness, fear of God and respect for constituted authorities in Igboland, we cannot succeed in our quest for freedom, development, presidency and the general Igbo emancipation.
(7) Critique of the Various Methods:
We have observed three methods being canvassed by freedom fighters which we have summarized as follows:
(a) Group 1: This group said that the only way forward is to first of all pull down the Nigerian Constitution before anything can be done.
The question for this group is: “How will they pull down the Nigerian Constitution”?
(b) Group 2: This group said that violence is the only language that Nigeria understands and therefore without violence there can be no freedom.
The question for this group is: “How do they intend to prosecute a war with Nigeria and her international allies such as Great Britain, Russia, China, etc, which have invested heavily in Nigeria and signed defence treaties with Nigeria”?
(c) Group 3: This group believes that by the use of the legal methodology consisting of judicial, political and diplomatic strategies, they can achieve self-determination.
The question for this group is: “How will they achieve freedom through the use of law, politics and diplomacy in a corrupt country like Nigeria where the votes are rigged and the High Court Judges are easily bribed”?
(8) I am not able to speak for the 1st and 2nd groups because I do not believe in their method. They will speak for themselves. I will rather speak for the 3rd group where I belong:
The question is “how do we intend to achieve freedom, development and the presidency through the legal methodology consisting of the use of law, politics and diplomacy in a corrupt country like Nigeria where the votes are rigged and the High Court Judges are easily bribed”?
(9) In the introductory part of this lecture, I said that we had activated the second phase of the struggle for the emancipation of the Igbo Nation. We describe it as Devolution of Power by Restructuring Nigeria into 6 autonomous Regions in accordance with the existing 6 geopolitical Regions.
(10) Before we embarked upon this journey for Devolution of Power by way of Restructuring of Nigeria, we met and discussed with the Governments of various powerful countries in the International Community which have invested heavily in Nigeria because we know that any decision that affects Nigeria must be discussed with those who have interests in Nigeria. This is based on the spiritual principle stated by the Lord Jesus Christ that where a man’s treasures are, that is where his heart will be. One of such countries we discussed with is the Great Britain. We presented our Memorandum to the British Government and adopted the British Model of Many-Nations-in-One-Nation where they have Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland: 4 autonomous nations in one Great Britain. We shall also divide Nigeria into 6 nations in one country. This is why we have the 6 geopolitical Regions today. The Regions shall become autonomous. This is the Igbo Master Plan drawn in 1994 and approved by General Abacha at the 1995 Constitutional Conference.
(11) The British Government accepted our proposal and helped us to lobby the Nigerian Government to include Devolution of Power and Restructuring of the country on the list of items for the amendment of the Nigerian Constitution. We presented our Memorandum to the Nigerian Senate during the Senate Public Hearing on 26th and 27th May 2021. We appeared before the Nigerian Senate as Biafran Agitators and they received us. The Senate Committee did not arrest us for describing ourselves as Biafrans in Nigeria. All the ethnic nationalities in Nigeria have agreed with us that Devolution of Power to the 6 Regions is the best solution to the Nigerian problem at the moment. This is where we are going and we shall get there. The process has just begun.
(12) Politics and Self-Determination: Some people have said that if we participate in the Nigerian politics and achieve the Presidency of Nigeria, we shall forget our struggle for self-determination. This is a wrong thinking. I have already said that the problem of the Igbo Nation is neither the Presidency nor the Constitution of Nigeria.
(13) We have an example from the Great Britain where Mr Gordon Brown from Scotland was the Prime Minister of the Great Britain from 2007 to 2010 but the Scottish people still continued to agitate for their total independence despite being a Regional Government. Therefore, the Presidency of Nigeria by an Igbo man will not stop us from agitating for total freedom of the Igbo Nation by the rule of law and political diplomacy.
In concluding this lecture, I would like to say that the struggle for the emancipation of the Igbo Nation is a teamwork. Everybody must be involved: our politicians, community leaders, lawyers, civil servants, teachers, all professionals, businessmen, men, women, the youth and children. At the moment, we are talking about the emancipation of the Igbo Nation and not Biafra. We must put our house in order first. This is why we are agitating for Regional Government by Devolution of Power to the 6 geopolitical regions in Nigeria to become 6 countries in one Great Nigeria just like we have 4 countries in one Great Britain. This is the current stage of our freedom movement. The pertinent questions now are these:
(a) Will the South East Region be able to govern itself now that insecurity and anarchy have enveloped the Region?
(b) Will the South East be able to participate in the election to achieve the Presidency of Nigeria in 2023 now that the Unknown Gun Men are killing anyone who participates in the Nigerian politics?
My answers to the two questions are in the negative. Therefore, the Igbo Nation needs the co-operation of everybody including the Unknown Gun Men to achieve freedom, development and presidency. This is a team work. Emeka Emekesiri and his group cannot achieve it alone.
Thank you for listening to me.
EMEKA EMEKESIRI, ESQ.
(IPOB FOUNDER AND VISION BEARER)
Nzeobi II of Okwara-Unegbu, Amucha Ohonya, Imo State