FEATURE ARTICLE

Monday, December 10, 2018
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UK
IDEAS THAT BUILD NATION SERIES

ondemning the actions of Nigerian government has become such a regular occurrence that it is fast loosing its value.

It is as if the present Nigerian administration has thrown all caution to the wind by its continued disregard of the norms of civil societies. If not, how can one explain the continuing disregard of Court judgements, caviller attitude to the lives of soldiers in the war against terrorism, the indifference to those who pay the blood price of Fulani herdsmen terrorism and the outright misinformation from the minister of communication?

Nevertheless, I condemn the selective and sectarian way, the federal government of Nigeria is using the army, police and its powers to intimidate, harass and oppress its opponents and some ethnic and minority groups.

I also in no uncertain words deplore the decision of the army not to publish the names of soldiers cruelly murdered by Boko Haram, because of the failure of the government to provide them with the equipments and support they needed for the task.

Furthermore, I particular condemn the military occupation of Igbo land and extortion that is taking place and the use of EFCC to target opposition party members.

This discriminatory behaviour of the federal government of Nigeria is unconscionable in a democracy and therefore both unjustifiable and unacceptable.

If indeed, these people,( non APC members), who are being harassed by EFCC have committed offences and crimes, why does the government leave them until they say something the government does not like or become a political threat to the party in power?

Sadly, Nigeria has a constitution which gives too much powers to the president. This constitution enables the president to control state institutions and gives the executive enormous power of patronage and to decided, who is arrested or allowed to walk free.

These are powers no executive in a liberal democracy should have because the main role of the executive is to administer the constitution, which protects fundamental human and property right.

Tyranny begins, when a constitution grants unlimited power to the state, as the Nigerian 1999 constitution does.

Therefore, Nigeria has a democratic dictatorship. Consequently, the quality of its democracy and to what extent individual liberty and due process are respected, will invariably depend on who is President.

This is one of the reasons, why many think that without the restructure of Nigeria and writing of a new constitution, which guarantees and safeguards individual freedom, fundamental human rights, separation of powers and independence of institutions, Nigeriaís evolution into a civil democratic society under the rule of law will remain retarded.

It is on this premises that groups which are calling for the boycott of the election and those who say that Nigeria has no future without a new constitution base their position.

In my view, there is no alternative to strategic engagement with the political process no matter how corrupt, with the singular aim of reforming it to embrace, equality, the rule of law, due process and civil values.

Therefore, Nigerians have to answer two fundamental questions, if they want Nigeria to endure as one united country under the rule of law.

  • Do Nigerians want Nigeria to exist as one country and as a liberal democracy?

  • How would Nigerians like to organise the units of government?

I believe that Nigeria can exist as one country that enables the south to continue as a liberal democracy, if it is restructured. This will allow the north to continue its experiment with extreme Islam and feudalism.

On the other hand, I do not believe that the 36 states structure is a viable way to organise the units of government, if the aim is for Nigeria to evolve into a liberal democracy with civil values, which cares for her citizens.

Furthermore, in view of the way past presidents like Olusegun Obasanjo and Mohammadu Buhari have exercised power in arbitrary way and manner, there is urgent need to refocus on the fundamentals, which guarantee evolution of enduring democracy. This must include review of the powers of the president of Nigeria.

Therefore, there is added urgency to do away with the 36 state structure, which only benefits politicians and reorganise Nigeria into six regions with the states and local government areas as governing units. This can still be included in the manifestos of political parties.

The reorganisation of Nigeria into 6 regions will drastically reduce the cost of government and release resources for the social investments the country is crying out for.

It will also end the uses of the army and police to pursue sectarian, political and personal objectives by those in power and transform the Nigerian military into the profession force it, once was.

This is one way to make Nigeria viable. In fact, the federal government of Nigeria, should now be compelled to accept that Nigerians want change and want this change now. We have to bring an end this tyranny of political demagogues.

Nigerians can no longer delay the difficult conversation we need to have as a country. It cannot be avoided forever. No country can survive, when leaders exercise unaccountable powers and toe the path of autocracy and greed. Those who ride the tiger, end in the tigerís stomach.

Please join the call for all politics parties in Nigeria to publish details of how they will restructure Nigeria and stop their presidential candidates, if they gain power from exercising power like Buhari(APC)and Obasanjo (PDP), when he was in power.


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