By Section 1 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended last in 2011; this Constitution is supreme and its provisions shall have binding force on all authorities and persons throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria. By its subsection 2, the Federal Republic of Nigeria shall not be governed, nor shall person or group of persons take control of the government of Nigeria or any part thereof, except in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution. By its subsection 3, if any other law is inconsistent with the provisions of this Constitution, the Constitution shall prevail, and that other law shall to the extent of the inconsistency be void.
By Section 4(1) of the Constitution, the legislative powers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be vested in a National Assembly for the Federation which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives. By its subsection 2, the National Assembly shall have power to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the Federation or any part thereof with respect to any matter included in the Exclusive Legislative List set out in the Part 1 of the Second Schedule to this Constitution.
By Section 13 of the Constitution under the Fundamental Objectives & Directive Principles of State Policy, it shall be the duty of all organs of government (including the National Assembly), and all authorities and persons, exercising legislative, executive or judicial powers, to conform to, observe and apply the provisions of this chapter of the Constitution (peace, order and good government). By Section 14 (2) (a) of the Constitution, it is hereby, accordingly, declared that sovereignty belongs to the people of Nigeria from whom government through this Constitution derives all its powers and authority. By its subsection 2 (b), the security and welfare of the people of Nigeria shall be the primary purpose of government; and 2 (c), the participation by the people in their government shall be ensured, in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.
The summary of important constitutional citations above is that there are three existing sovereignties in the country-the people, the constitution and the sovereign territory called “Nigeria”; of these, the people is the primus inter pares or first among equals. The above citations also show that government exists for the fundamental purpose of ensuring the welfare of the people as well as peace and order of the territory called “Nigeria”. This means that without a people, there can never be the constitution and territorial sovereignty; just as without quest to quench stomach hunger, there could never be agriculture, which gave birth to towns and communities leading to the formation of countries and societies such as that called “Nigeria”.
In the case of Nigeria, though the people are the first among equals in the realm of the three sovereignties, but the Constitution is made the prime minister and chief executive officer and can only be removed by election or by a vote of no confidence (constitutional referendum or conference or major amendment).
The Constitution of Nigeria is, therefore, jealous and demands total obedience and adherence to all its provisions. By virtue of Supplementary Section 15 (b) of Part 1 of the Third Schedule to the Constitution, which empowers the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to register political parties in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and an Act of the National Assembly (i.e. INEC Establishment Act of 2004 & Electoral Act of 2010); the All Progressives Congress (APC) was recognized and registered as a political party by INEC after ensuring that its bylaw is totally submissive to the Constitution of Nigeria and its subsidiary legislations (Acts of the National Assembly). In other words, the Party was administratively created by INEC.
It, therefore, saddens our heart that the Party has arrogated itself the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, by foisting its clannish will on Nigerians and its hallowed Constitution. By having the effrontery to write an open letter to the leadership of the National Assembly, dictating to it how to run its national legislative affairs; the Party has constituted itself into a national nuisance warranting immediate scrapping and de-registration. Though the decision of the leaderships of Senate and House of Reps to ignore the Party’s recent parochial letter is commendably thought out; but the calamitous conducts of the Party must be urgently checkmated; otherwise, the country will go up in flames. The recent rowdy and near violent proceedings of the two-chamber National Assembly leading to a long legislative adjournment to July 21 by the House of Reps must also be totally blamed on the Party (APC).
It is shocking that a Party that emerged nationally through a mixture of change alarmism and Jega electronic voting card magic appears to be further bent on plunging the country into a national crisis, by biting more than it can chew. Its few policies so far have started raising a national dust. From uncoordinated and flimsy bombardments of vulnerable communities in some States of the South-south, claiming a declaration of war against real or imaginary oil militants which can explode into renewed hostilities; to false claims that its new President met an empty treasury, the Party must be called to order nationally, regionally and internationally.
The national leadership of APC must be reminded again that its conducts are threatening and undermining the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the security and welfare of Nigerians. It should further be reminded that a clannish and infantile Party bylaw and its rules of conduct can never challenge or lord itself over the Constitution. The importance and supremacy of a political party starts and ends with primary and main elections and ceases the moment its elected members are administered with constitutional oaths of office and allegiance as well as their constitutional vow to be bound by the constitutional code of conduct.
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chairman
International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
Uzochukwu, Oguejiofor-Nwonu, Esq., Head, Campaign & Publicity