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A Referendum Should Replace Elections In 2023

With the 1999 Constitution, and all things being equal, regardless of who becomes president in 2023, Nigeria will remain a killing field, a stunted country, a country of cowards and crooks, parasites and paupers, and an ungovernable country with endangered people.

Justice, peace, equity and rule of law are the central institution of democratic governments. This is so because the authority of the government is derived solely from the consent of the people. The practical way of legitimizing that consent into governmental authority is the holding of free and fair elections.

All democracies hold elections. But not all elections are democratic. Most elections held in Nigeria are not different from dictatorships and single-party governments that stage elections to give their rule the aura of legitimacy. The constitution is a supreme law that is binding even on the government. A constitution organises and constrains power. A constitution defines a state and the rights of its citizens. In a true democracy, the constitution ensures that the people ultimately control the government. The 1999 Constitution is none of the above.

The 2023 elections will be held based on the forged, fraudulent, and frivolous 1999 Constitution. Due to its illegality, Nigerians have clearly and loudly said no elections should be held. They reasoned that with the current state of the state characterized by inequality, nepotism, lopsided federal government, violence, killings, unrest, corruption, poverty, and other associated evils, a referendum is what we need in 2023 and not elections.

What’s wrong with holding a referendum to determine and decide why and who should stay together? What’s wrong with coming together to discuss the terms on how to live together? What’s wrong with voting in a referendum on whether Yorubas want Yoruba Nation or Igbo people should get the Biafra Republic? What’s wrong with different ethnic groups determining their political status, and freely pursue their economic, social, and cultural development? What’s wrong to have the right to determine our destiny?

The referendum will solve the age-long rivalry and acrimonious rancour among Nigeria’s different nationalities by having the option of going their separate ways – for good! I believe northerners will be the greatest beneficiary of a referendum. For example, a referendum that leads to separation will make it possible for Fulani herdsmen to rear their cows unmolested and unrestricted from Kano to Kaduna. The northerners will be able to make the north an Islamic Emirate. They will be governed by Sharia law. They won’t have to contend with Yorubas clamouring for progress, civilization. Yorubas won’t be able to dilute or pollute northerners’ brand of Islam. They will be free from the liquor stores and beer parlours operated by the Yorubas. Of course, they won’t have to fight over western civilization. They will have no trouble accommodating Boko Haram terrorists and other northern extremist groups like Miyetti Allah. And much more!

With the 1999 Constitution, and all things being equal, regardless of who becomes president in 2023, Nigeria will remain a killing field, a stunted country, a country of cowards and crooks, parasites and paupers, and an ungovernable country with endangered people.

Adekunle AYOOLA

Political Scientist

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