Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Flying Ijaw National Flag Is Not Secession! NBA President Got It Wrong. By Kayode Ogundamisi

Yoruba National Flag

OUTGOING president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), J. B. Daudu, on Tuesday, said flag and anthem by Bayelsa State are unconstitutional and illegal; as such provisions did not exist in the Nigerian constitution.

I am afraid to say that Mr Daudu is speaking from deep IGNORANCE. I am not a fan of Bayelsa state government, but the state government and other state governments who fly indigenous flags, anthem and symbols are only enforcing the principle of federalism as entrenched in the Nigerian constitution.

Such action does not in any way indicate a "secessionist" agenda. Even in advanced democracies such as the United States and the United Kingdom component units have flags, symbols and anthems. It is unfortunate that those who should know are misleading the public.

I am not disputing the fact that some of the state governors might have other agenda's in enforcing the principle of true federalism, It is my humble opinion that some of the governors are simply introducing flags with fanfare to divert attention from chronic corruption and inability to deliver on campaign promises, ‘patriotism’ can sometimes be diversionary, but so long as actions are based on legitimate requirements of the Nigerian constitution, they have not done anything wrong. What would be wrong is if Nigerians from other region, state, tribe are victimised or treated as second class citizens within Nigeria.

In as much as we rightly should protect the unity of Nigeria we should not impede on the rights of federating Units to enforce their rights to self-determination within the confines of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

It is as a result if the confusion and bastardisation of what a federation is, that opinion moulders such as the NBA president should encourage and campaign for the convocation of a Sovereign National Conference. I know the campaign for SNC is being hijacked by 5th columnist, self-styled militants and war mongers to give undiscerning minds the impression that SNC is an agenda to divide Nigeria along tribal, religious and ethnic lines. That is not what SNC is all about. SNC is a last chance to look into the foundation of Nigeria and negotiate the relationship between the federating units and social contract between the state and the citizens.

SNC is not the solution to the myriad of problems confronting Nigeria but it will be a bold and genuine attempt by Nigerians to revisit post-colonial arrangements, mistrust and inequality.

I recommend my article Thoughts on Nigerian Federalism to the NBA President.

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