The drafters of the constitution of the Federal Republic 1999 did a certain thing, which for themselves and their constituents, they have the right to do, and which it appeared right sould be done: but, in addition to this right, which they possessed by delegation, they set up another right by assumption, that of binding and controlling posterity to the end of time by declaring Nigeria to be Indivissible and Indissoluble Sovereign Nation under God.
The first is admitted, but with respect to the second, I reply-
To me, there never did, there never will, and there never can, exist any description of men, or any generation of men, in any country possesed of foresight, the power of binding and controlling posterity to the end of time or commanding forever how the world shall be goverened, or who shall governed it. The preamble of the American constitution is apt in this regard. We the People in the American’s constitution, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provided for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty for themslves and to their posterity rather than controlling and binding posterity of America.
Every age and generation must be free to act for itself as the ages and generations which preceeed it.
The vanity and presumption of declaring Nigeria as indivisible and indissoluble is the most ridiculous and insolent of all tyranies. Is like among the incivilities and mistakes by which drafters often make, the preamble of the Nigerian’s constitution is an extra-ordinary instance. Both in law making and in public opinion, is a mistake that cannot be pardoned on the score manners, nor justified on that of policy.
Man has no property in man; neither has any generation a property in the generations which are to follow. The drafters of the 1999 Nigerian constitution, or of any other period, had no more right to dispose of the people of the present day, or to bind or control them in any shape whatsoever, than the people of present day have to dispose of, bind or control those who are to live a hundred or a thousand years hence. Every generation is, and must be, competent to all the purposes which its occassions requires. The drafters of the 1999 Nigerian constitution preamble should have done the way those of the American constitution did by securing the BLESSINGS OF LIBERTY for themselves and to their Posterity.
The freedom whether to continue or not in the entity called Nigeria should have been left untempered with. When man ceases to be, his power and his wants cease with him; and having no longer participation in the concerns of this world, he has no longer authority in directing who shall be his governors, or how is government shall be organised or administered.
I am not contending for nor against any form of government, nor for or against any form of party, here or else where.
That which a whole nation chooses to do, it has a right to do. However, the drafters of the Preamble of the 1999 Nigerians constitution says, No. Where then, dose the right exist? I am contending for the rights of Nigerians and against their being willed away, and controlled and contracted for, by the manuscript assumed authority of WE THE PEOPLE over the rights and freedom of any ethic group who desires not to continue with the sovereign nation under God. There was a time when Kings disposed of their crowns by will upon their deah bed, and consigned the people, like beasts of the field, to whatever successors they appointed. This is now so exploded as scarcely to be remebered, and so monstrous as hardly to be believed; but the preamble upon which Nigeria build her political church are of the same nature
The laws of everey country must be analogous to some common principle. On what ground of right, then, could the drafters of the 1999 Nigerian constitution bind all posterity forever? Those who have quitted the world, and those who are not yet arrived at it, are as remote to each other as the ultmost stretch of mortal imagination can conceived. What possible obligation, then, can exist between them; what rule or principle can be laid down that of the two entities, the one out of existence and the other not in, and who never can meet in this world, the one should control the other to the end of time. But who authorised, or who could authorise, the drafters of the 1999 Nigerian constitution to make Nigeria “INDIVISSIBLE AND INDISSOLUBLE” or to take away the freedom of posterity (who where not in existence to give or to with-hold their consent), and limit and confine their right of acting in certain cases forever?
A greater absurdity cannot present itself to the understanding of man than what the drafters of the 1999 Nigerian constitution offers to its readers, the preamble tells them and the world to come that a certain body of men(in the name of ‘WE THE PEOPLE’) who existed 56 years ago, made a law, and that there does not exist in the nation, nor ever will, nor ever can, a power to alter Nigeria. Under how many subtleties or absurdities has the divine right to govern been imposed on the credulity of mankind! The drafters of the 1999 Nigerian constitution has discovered a new one. They have produces what it has done as of divine authority, for that power must be certainly more than human which no human power to the end of time can alter.
But the drafters have done some service, not to their cause, but to their country, by bringing the preamble into public view. They serve to demostrate how necessary it is at all times to watch against the attempted encroachment of power and to prevent it running to excess. It shows that the rights of Nigerians were but imperfectly understood at Nigerian Independence, 1st OCTOBER 1960. For certain it is that the right which the drafters set up by assumption(for by delegation it had it not, and could not have it, because non could give it) over the persons and freedom of posterity forever was indeed tyrannical, unfounded kind in a sane society.
I asked once again, from what, or from where, does the drafters prove the right of any human power to bind posterity forever? They have produced the preamble, but they must produce also their proofs that such a right existed, and show how it existed. If it ever existed It must now exist, for whatever appertains to the nature of man cannot be annihilated by man. It is the nature of man to die, and he will continue to die as long as he continues to be born. But the drafters of the constitution have set up a sort of political Adam in Nigeria, in whom all Nigerians are bound forever. They must, therefore, prove that their Adam possessed such a power, or such a right.
It requires but a small glance of thoughts to perceive that although laws made in one generation often continue in force through succeeding generations, yet that they continue to derive their force from the consent of the living. A law not repealed continues in force, not because it cannot be repeal, but because it is not repeal, and the non repealing passes for consent. But the drafers’ of the preamble has not even this qualification in their favour. The preamble clothed Nigeria with immortality by attempting to become immortal. The nature of them precludes consent.
They destroy the right which they might have, by grounding it on a right which they cannot have. Immortal power is not a human right and therefore can not be a right available to the drafters of the constitution. The drafters might as well have drafted to authorise themsleves to live forever as to make their authority live for ever as well like they did for Nigeria. All therefore, that can be said of the preamble of 1999 Nigerian constitution is that they are a formality of words, of as much import as if those who drafted them had addressed a congratulation to themselves, and in the oriental style of antiquity had said: Oh! Nigeria, Live Forever! in our today’s equivalent of ‘LONG LIVE NIGERIA.’
The circumsances of the world are continually changing as can be seen in the former USSR, Sudan, Scotland, UK voting out of EU etc and the opinion of men change also. Empires rises and wane so as kingdoms. That which might be thought right and found convenient in one age may be thought wrong and found inconvenient in another age. In such cases, who is to decide, the indivissibility of NIGERIA, the preamble or the reality on ground? And on this note I rest the matter and wish that the rights of man may become as universal as your benevolence can wish, and that you may enjoy the happiness of seeing this present generation regenerate the old, is the prayer of
Your much oblidged, and obedient humble servant