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E O EkeFriday, October 14, 2016
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THE LANGUAGE OF THE NIGERIAN DEBATE

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ow and then, I read a piece on Nigeria, which leaves me appalled by the language, rhetorics and logic.

The recent comment by Tanko Yakassai on the restructure of Nigeria exposes the divergence of views between the north and south and the poverty of thought, lack of ideas and insight on the part of those, who must change to give Nigeria a better future.

Mr Yakassai had nothing, but insults for those he believes are behind the push to restructure Nigeria. His only concern was that restructure would threaten the advantage the north has as result of the use of population and land mass in national decision making. He was silent on the justness of these parameters and how ineffective they have been. In so doing, he exposed the vacuity of the position of the north.

There was no attempt on the part of Mr Yakassai to make a coherent argument on why Nigeria should continue to operate a system that has produced criminals at every levels, insecurity everywhere, economic hardship for the majority and made corruption endemic.

Unfortunately, he responded in the way corrupt elites from the north have often done, with insults and threats. He berated Yorubas, who he accused of seeking restructure of Nigeria for ethnic reasons. For a person of his stature, who should know and do better, his comment is worrying, alarming and disappointing.

In doing so, he told the Igbos, Ijaws, Ibibios etc., that what they think is not important and that they deserve to marginalised and dominated by the north. It is a not too clever attempt to divide the south.

The response so far from those who are in positions to make the argument for the restructure of Nigeria has been, to say the least, abysmal. They have resorted to ethnic diatribe because their ethnic group has been insulted.

Calling the north backward and primitive is not an argument for restructured. It only inflames passion and increases chances of irrational response. Demonstrating what is wrong with the position of the north would seem better.

Nigeria needs to be restructured because it has not worked for the common people in the North, East, West and South.

Restructuring is the right and better thing for Nigeria at this period in her history, if it wants to exist as a country.

It is neither an ethnic not religious thing. We need a system, where the lives of Nigerians matter, which will make our leaders accountable to the law and electorate. We need a country, where people can trust the courts to administer justice.

We want a new Nigeria, where the cost of government will not be 80% of recurrent expenditure and legislators and executives earn fair, reasonable and realistic salaries that reflects our economic realities.

We want a system that criminalise military and police brutality and, enables the citizens to enforce their fundamental human rights.

We want an end to a system that brutalised our soldiers in the name of training and turns them into psychopaths, who have no value for human lives and feel nothing for those who suffer from their actions.

We need to restructure Nigeria into a country, where no one who commits a crime has immunity from prosecution at any time. The current cash and carry system is simple unjust, immoral and unsustained.

We want to replace the Nigerian executhieves with an accountable executives, legislooters with responsible legislators and judisharing with honourable judiciary, as a friend recently put in in a forum.

We want a country that focuses on knowledge, enlightenment, justice as fairness, equality, liberty, security and empowerment and, not one that focuses on primitive, poisonous and divisive religious orthodoxies, where what women choose to wear and rights of perverts to abuse young girls in the name of child marriages.

Nigerians want a government that priorities justice as fairness with a humane criminal justice system that is redemptive, and not one that is based on ancient, ignorant, inhuman and vindictive attitude to crimes, criminals and their victims.

We want a new Nigeria, where health and quality education are considered rights and accessible to all, irrespective of ethnicity or religion

The current corrupt system is simple unjust, immoral, unsustained and has no redeeming values. Anybody who justifies it, is either immoral, depraved or both.

I believe we need to change the language, focus and content of the debate. The debate is about a new and better Nigeria and anybody against it, is on the wrong side of history.

Majority of Nigerians want a better country that will be good for the majority of Nigerians. A country that works for the silent and impoverished majority and not the vocal and privilege few.

In achieving this, we have to guide against the impulse to resort to primitive instincts, groupthink and ethnic stereotypes, which are prepotent in times like this and focus on applying the more matured and fair rules and attitude, which are the only way to find reasonable solutions to the problem we face.

Nigeria needs to be restructured to make it a fair society and give all Nigerians a sustainable future based on civil values and the rule of law.

To Buhari, feudal north, and the rest of the corrupt Nigerian political elites I say this:

The elites often get into power, not by the strength of their character nor by the depth of their convictions, but because they have the means to do so.

Therefore, the judiciary must be independent, resolute and unshakable in the interpretation of the law, dispensation of justice and enforcement and protection of individuals fundamental human rights.

This is the least we can demand from a society like Nigeria. To go against this, is to invite the wrath of the people and make violent revolution inevitable.

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