FEATURE ARTICLE

E O EkeTuesday, June 26, 2012
eoeke@aol.com


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A PLEA TO MY COUNTRY MEN AND WOMEN
and A CASE FOR A NEW POLITICAL ORGANISATION FOR THE ACTUALIZATION OF CIVIL SOCIETY AND GOOD GOVERNMENT IN NIGERIA - (CONCLUSION)

Contd from Part (2)

n addition, we will work to end the misuse of statutory powers by the police and members of the armed forces, and restore the faith of the people in Nigeria as a united multi-ethnic country, founded on the rule of law. We will work against division, racial prejudice, and religious intolerance and educate Nigerian on the dangers of toxic ethnic nationalism which is overtaking some ethnic groups as a result of the activities of Islamic fundamentalists in the north.


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7. The new political organisation will have to work for a new democratic framework for peaceful; co-existence of all the ethnic groups in Nigeria and establish democratic process for ethnic groups which need more degree of autonomy to pursue self-determination by peaceful and democratic means. The sudden sacking of the national security Adviser, a post that seem to exist in a peculiar form in Nigeria, is yet another feature of self-serving and sectarian nature of our emerging democracy which should be discouraged. It shows the continued attempt by some ethnic group to put their sectarian interest above the overriding interest of the whole country. The idea that a particular position must be occupied by someone from a particular ethnic group otherwise they make the country ungovernable is to be deplored to say the least. We cannot continue to have a system of government where serious decisions are made for the wrong reasons and motive. Nigerians need clears answers on why the national security adviser b should be removed because those who opposed his appointment are determine to use violence to achieve their objective. We cannot claim to a democracy when a part of the country uses terrorist to put pressure on the government to have its way.

It is time to tell the north that the post of national security Adviser, defence minister and the presidency, are not their birth rights and that it is the persistence of such attitude of unreasonable sense of entitlement that is hardening opinion of those who believe that Nigeria is unviable. We have to bring to an end sectarian politics of intimidation, violence, and selfishness. It works in the short term but always fails in the long run. Why should certain post be held by people of Hausa- Fulani cast, otherwise there would be mayhem and terrorism? It is now clear why leaders of the north do not want United States to label Boko Haram a terrorist group, why no Boko Haram suspects has been tried and why some northern senior police officers aid and abate their escape from police cells and prisons.

Nigerians of all ethnic groups should accept that Nigeria belongs to us all and that it is unjust and unacceptable for one ethnic group to arrogate to itself certain privileges and positions which it believes should not be extended to other groups. What we need to agree is the right and proper way of making appointments so that whoever is appointed is qualified and does not have loyalty to his ethnic group and religion in a way and manner that is detrimental to the national interest of Nigeria as a country as it is at the moment. The current attitude and posture of the north is contrary to the principle off secular democracy and equality. It has seriously damaged our union and will irreparably undermine our existence as a united country if it is not immediately brought to an end. No one ethnic group has monopoly of wisdom, violence and leadership. We must consider seriously the devolution of power to create a strong participatory democracy at the grass root so that people can make the decisions in the matters that concern their day to day life like education and health. The current emasculation of local government by state governments will have to be brought to an end. It is one of the inexcusable aberrations of our democracies and a feature of how much corruption has eaten into the fabrics of our society. The federal government has to set up a national public judicial inquiry into the origin, funding and supporters of Boko haram.to enable Nigerians get to the root of this matter. 8. In addition we will have to work hard to end corruption in the Customs and exercise, Inland Revenue, our arm forces and make international trade and what takes place in our ports more transparent. We will make it necessary and mandatory for drivers in Nigeria will have to pass a real driving test before they can drive on Nigerian Roads and subsequently anybody that commits serious traffic offence or involved in accident would be required to pass a driving test before he or she can drive again. Accountability, responsibility, transparency and fairness will be the watch words. The organisation will work hard to bring to an end the idea that there is a position that can make an individual not subject to the rule of law. People from the north have been in charge of the Nigerian army for many years.

In the years they have been in charge, the Nigerian arm forces have become one of the most unaccountable army in the world. There has been no real attempt to audit the defence budget and unexecuted military contracts continue to make millionaires out of many retired generals. Our armed forces have become an economic black hole where millions of dollars disappear without trace only to mutate in the bank accounts of ex-military men. In spite of millions which have been earmarked for military modernisation year after year, our military remains in the 18th century, an army that is law unto itself which uses intimidation and abuse of power to have its way and unmindful of individual liberties. I believe that no nation, no matter the amount of oil it produces can afford the profligacy, unaccountability, corruption and lawlessness with which Nigeria continues to run its affairs and survive.

These are some of the reasons the few primary aims and the ideals which compel me to continue to advocate and seek the formation of a new organization that would begin to apply, rule of law, due process, and civilized methods to addressing the very huge problems which our country must surmount to survive . These are also why I call on and motivate those in existing corrupt organisations to have a change of heart to enable likeminded Nigerians to work for the change the country needs. Without prejudice or apology, the aim is to turn Nigeria into a true secular democracy where equality, rule of law, liberty and due and democratic and processes reign supreme.

Prospective time table for action.

1. Formation, writing of constitution and Registration of the organisation to enable it to set up a web site and open a bank account and become operational. These are at advanced stages. The proposed new organisation will be like no other political organization in the history of Nigeria. There would be no single person who would boast that he owns the organization. It would be owed by the members who registers and commit to a regular monthly contribution to be agreed and fundraising. The very ambitious target would be to register up to one million Nigerians of all ethnic origins and religious beliefs as members. This is because it is the minimum number that can afford the financial commitment needed to achieve the objectives in light of the strength of the opposition. Current PDP senators are said to contribute 45 million Naira, which represents 5% of their annual remuneration to PDP. The party charges millions of Naira to candidates which is contrary to the principles of true democracy. We have to bring an end to this cash and carry democracy which perpetuates our corruption ridden politics culture. We have talked about it enough. This is one way of addressing it and those who have a better idea should contribute it. Once we have sufficient number of Nigerians who would be happy to support the organisation with regular amount every month, the organisation will relocate to Nigeria and start building political institutions on the ground.

2. It is hoped that by December 2013 we would have opened our first office in Nigeria and employed the first set of political community workers (PCWs). The organization would thrash out its ideology and strategy on peaceful protest and action against corruption, criminal remunerations of the legislators and cost of government, bad government, toxic ethnic nationalism, religious intolerance, education of the people, and fundamentals of democracy, rule of law and human rights and implementation of poverty alleviation programs. It will also fine tune its policies, strategies and solutions to the problems of Nigerian constitution and nature of our federation. Nigeria deserves a constitution written by elected representatives of the people and endorsed by the people in a referendum. This is the only way to enable Nigerians take ownership of their democracy.

3. By December 2014, the organization would have opened office in at least three regional offices in Enugu, Lagos and Kaduna and by the end of the 2015 there would be office of the organization in at least a third of the states with at least two full time political community workers. The organisation would invest in skills acquisition, continuing education and enterprises centre for youth aged between 18 and 25 years, where the youth who would have gravitated towards crimes would get 1 year training in different trades, business skill management and support to start their own business, transport industry, extra mural education to obtain qualifications or pursue a trade, vocation, sports of their choice, music or entertainment career. It would also publish its strategy to address mass unemployment, poverty, Job creation, inequality of opportunities using social enterprises and investment strategy, and development of alternative to oil as the main source of Nigeria’s earnings.

4. By 2015 the organization would have registered or established as a political party in Nigeria ready to take part in political process and fielding candidates for every seat in the country. This can be achieved; if there are as little as one hundred thousand Nigerians who would be ready make a small regular donation every month to the organisation or a philanthropic Nigeria who is minded to invest in a better future for Nigeria. Once the politicians who believe that they have the money to buy power see that the people are determined to make their number and vote count, they will realize that the era of money politics has come to an end and would want to be part of the politics of values, ideas, rule of law, solutions and development. Corrupt politicians do not change; they are compelled by the law and the determination of people not to reward criminality.

5. We cannot change Nigeria if we are unwilling to pay the price of change and development. We will achieve nothing if we fail to commit our time and resources to bringing about the change we desire. Every people pay the price of their freedom and development and it should not always be with blood. There is nothing like free freedom. Every freedom was paid for by somebody. Freedom is even sweeter if one has opportunity to pay for it and live to enjoy it. This is the opportunity this idea offers Nigerians. We must pay the price for our freedom with our time and resources or with our blood or those of our children. The choice is ours. Those who believe that once they get their ethnic nation that everything will be different are suffering from magical thinking. Each nation creates its corrupt elites and marginalised minority. It is only the entrenchment of the rule of law, respect for individual, equality, tolerance and due process that guarantees peaceful coexistence of human beings. Those who believe so much in ethnicity and religion forget that Cain killed Abel; Pharisees killed and persecuted Jewish Christians, Catholics and Protestants kill each other and Sunnis and Shiites Muslims kill each other.

6. Every individual must be ready to pay the price of freedom. This proposed Association of Nigerian for change is an idea that would cost the average Nigerian less than 500 naira a month to become a reality. Nigerians give much more to churches and Mosques which build schools and hospitals where only the rich can afford and support the criminal life styles of many self-styled religious leaders. It cost Mandela 27 years of his life to secure freedom for his people. Nigerians have a chance to get their freedom at a cost of 500 to 1000 Naira a month. Never has freedom been offered to a people at such a low price. Will Nigerians grasp this opportunity or would we once again give in to complacency, distrust, cynicism, and indifference in the face of the threat to our existence as the most populated country in Africa. Will we give in to religious idealism, which offers only hope and prayer in the face of problems that will yield to application of God given knowledge and wisdom? Will we succumb to the pessimism that nothing ever works in Nigeria, that this is another 419 that we will not succeed because our opponents have so much money, or that Nigeria is a lost cause as one Nigeria wrote to me recently believes.

If we refuse to play our part in the fight for our freedom, that of our children and people, we will have no reason to complain that corrupt people are destroying our country. I believe as someone once said that, ‘Those who refuse to fight at a time they can defeat a growing threat, will have to fight the Evil when they do not have a chance of defeating it because they do not want to be slaves’. ‘Evil flourishes because good men do nothing’. It is now time for action. Let us join together and build a Nigeria in the image of justice, probity, freedom security and equality. We can achieve more united than as individual. Unity is strength. There are more that unite us as a people than divide us. All men are brothers divided by religion, language and skin colour, things that are not relevant in the face of the real issues of life. A single broom stick sweeps very little, but a broom can sweep away any dirt. Feel free to make suggestions and contribution on how to make the dream come true. This is an evolving idea. Will the true Nigerians who love Nigeria and would not seek power for personal benefit enlist and explore this opportunity to do something different for the good of all. There is now no excuse for doing nothing. Long live Nigeria, God bless Nigeria. Let the change begin.

E O Eke is qualified in medicine. At various times he has been a General medical practitioner, Medical missionary, Medical Director and senior medical officer of health in Nigeria. He specializes in child, Adolescent and adult psychiatry and lives in England with his family. His interest is in health, religion philosophy and politics. He cares for body and mind.

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