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Nigeria Was Mistakenly Amalgamated — Anambra Lawyer, Agbasiere, Declares on 40th Birthday, Says He’s Come of Age to Question the Govt

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By Izunna Okafor, Awka

An Anambra-based lawyer and human rights activist, Barr. Anthony Kelechi Agbasiere, has dissociated himself from the agreement on the preamble and introductory part of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution.

Recall that the preamble of the 1999 Constitution reads thus:

“We the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

“Having firmly and solemnly resolved to live in unity and harmony as one indivisible and indissoluble sovereign nation under God, dedicated to the promotion of inter-African solidarity, world peace, international co-operation and understanding

“And to provide for a Constitution for the purpose of promoting the good government and welfare of all persons in our country, on the principles of freedom, equality and justice, and for the purpose of consolidating the unity of our people

“Do hereby make, enact and give to ourselves the following Constitution:-”

However, speaking at his 40th birthday ceremony which held over the weekend in Awka, the Anambra State capital, Barr. Agbasiere (popularly known as Celebrity Barrister), announced the dissociation of himself from the said agreement in the preamble of the Constitution, adding he was never part of it.

According to him, he was very young when the said Constitution was created, but has now come of age to question the government and to say what he agrees to or not; hence his declaration and dissociation of himself from the said agreement in the preamble.

The legal luminary also stressed that “the country christened Nigeria was mistakenly amalgamated” in 1914, maintaining that the country is full of inequalities, while its Constitution is riddled with flaws.

Beginning with the pre-1914 amalgamation era, he went memory lane on the history of the country, state creation (most of which he said were done by military dictators from the northern region), and constitutional development, pointing out what he believes are anomalies, mistakes, flaws and unrealistic assertions he observed in them, and most of which were carried over to the present-day Nigeria, as is seen in its structures and operation.

Comparably analysing the provisions of some sections of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution and the present structural reality in the country, the celebrity lawyer declared, without mincing words, that the Southeastern geopolitical zone is being grossly marginalized. He further questioned the place of justice in Nigeria.

He further recommended referendum or the implementation of the 2014 CONFAB resolutions of the former President Goodluck Jonathan’s Administration, as part of the steps towards ending what he described as the unfair and unjust treatments being meted out to the people of the Southeastern geopolitical zone of the country, which is the only region with the lowest number of states and federal representatives.

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“Sometime in 1967, Lt. Col. Yakubu Gowon created 12 states from the existing four regions. But, instead of creating 3 states from each of the 4 regions, he created 6 states from the North where he came from, and, of course, gave himself one. This was where the injustice in Nigeria started. Other military dictators who came after him also toed the same line, and today, we have 36 States and the FCT,” he said.

He, however added that, with the provision of the 1999 Constitution which says that each state shall provide 3 senators, plus the FCT (which give a total of 109), the implication is that the Northern alone that has 19 states has a total of 57 senators, while the remaining come from the the remaining regions.

This imbalance, he said, also reflects in the number of House of Representatives members from the various zones, with the Southeast having the lowest (with its five states), to the point that even the lawmakers from the Northern region alone can form a quorum and take a decision at each Chamber of the National Assembly, even without the presence, votes or opinions of the people from the Southeast.

“Where is the justice in Nigeria?” he asked

Continuing, he said, “Yes, if I’m not mistaking, one of the things that the CONFAB resolved is that there should be additional state in the southeast. It is so unjust that out of the entire 36 states or the 6 geopolitical zones, it’s only southeast that has 5, while others have more. What type of nonsense is that? It is not fair now. It is subjugation.

“So, southeast should be given sense of belonging. That’s my position on that.”

On the feasibility of referendum in addressing the perceived injustice, he said “The country is already the way it is, you understand? Referendum needs consensus. And then, for you to get that consensus, you need that of the north, you need the west, the south, and all the rest of them.

“So if you don’t get all these things, it cannot come, it cannot work. You understand? That’s the problem. So, my own is, let us follow the dictates of the constitution, even though flawed. The 1999 constitution is flawed. I have said it time and again, military dictators cannot create states for us.

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“Many of the 36 states in the country were created by military dictators from the North, just to favour the North.”

Continuing, he said, “The 1999 Constitution is a product of the military, and the military is a product of coup. So, Illegality cannot beget legality. But, like I said earlier, an illegitimate child can be legitimized.

“And one of the ways you can legitimize that is by people to come together and say, Yes, we got this thing wrong, but now, let us rectify it. Let us impose some legality on it. …Mine is: If you see something wrong, you say something right. I have seen that this is wrong, and I have said that. So, let our representatives and people in the constituted authority move back and do something about that.”

While thanking God for gift of life, Barr. Agbasiere, who is also a Knight of Saint John International, philanthropist and Founder of the NGO, The Siere Foundation, also appreciated everyone who has impacted his life in one way or the other, while also restating his commitment to continue giving back to humanity and making the society a better place.

In a tribute, the MD/CEO, Pool King Global Investment Ltd., Hon. Gabriel Chukwunwendu described the celebrant as a humanist and one of the outstanding, impactful and brilliant lawyers Anambra State has ever produced, given his commitment to justice, giving voice to the oppressed and giving back to society.

Hon. Chukwunwendu, who is also the Anambra Youth Commander, further described Barr. Agbasiere as an instrument God has used to resurrect many hopes, bless many families and empower many youths, especially through his philanthropic gestures and the various talent hunts, youth-oriented and empowerment-cum humanitarian programmes he has sponsored. He further wished him more blessings, wisdom, good health, and greatness on his new age, while urging him to continue being the voice to the voiceless and light through which others find their ways.

Witnessed by the mother and wife of the celebrant, Lady Mary Agbasiere and Pharm. Makuo Agbasiere respectively, the well-attended event was also graced by dignitaries and top government functionaries, as well as celebrities and entertainers from different parts of the country, who, together with the conviviality, made the ceremony remarkable and memorable, among other side attractions.

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