Prominent Igbo lawyer and former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Dr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), on Tuesday condemned the call for the country’s restructuring, describing it as a political calculation by the elite to grab power in 2019.
Rather, he justified the demand for self-determination by the Nnamdi Kanu-led IPOB, which is seeking a referendum to achieve same.
Agbakoba, who rejected the declaration by acting President Yemi Osinbajo that Nigeria’s sovereignty was not negotiable, said IPOB’s quest for self-determination was lawful and found justification in Article 1 (2) of the United Nations Charter and Article 20 (1) of the African Charter of Human and Peoples Rights, to which Nigeria was a signatory.
He said the Federal Government must immediately initiate a process to put the continued existence of Nigeria as a sovereign entity to a debate, stressing that restructuring was not the road map to federalism.
Agbakoba said, “I see every politician now says restructure but I disagree. I also think the acting President was wrong to say that Nigeria is insoluble. There is nothing sacrosanct about Nigeria.
It can blow up anytime. It’s an artificial creation, which was made in 1914 and when it was amalgamated we were not there. It was amalgamated in the interest of the colonialists.”
Agbakoba said it was unfortunate that since 1914 when amalgamation was thrust on the people, there had not been any home-grown process to resolve the will of the people to co-exist.
Agbakoba, who had once sued the FG for neglecting the South-East, argued that the FG goofed by charging the IPOB leader with treasonable felony for seeking self-determination.
When asked whether he aligned with IPOB’s call for a referendum towards self-determination, Agbakoba, who said he had nothing against Kanu, responded, “Absolutely! What is sacrosanct about Nigeria?
Nothing. What is sacrosanct about Nigeria is our agreement to be part of Nigeria. I’m not suggesting that Nigeria should not exist but to say that Nigeria’s sovereignty is not negotiable, nobody should talk about it.”