Before Nigeria’s independence in 1960; her economy growth, was at a “peak” and thereafter entered a recession at the eve of self-rule. A sustainable democracy will not result in our country until our leaders work to establish the rule of law, uphold the fundamental rights of the citizens and allow democratic institutions to grow and flourish. Yet our leadership, just like the elected and military leaders of the past, have continually undermined the rule of law, violated at will the rights of the people and continue to sidestep or destroy at every opportunity the institutions that are supposed to act as the pillars of a genuine democracy – a functioning legislature, an independent judiciary, an effective bureaucracy, civil society organizations that operate as non-partisan pressure groups and media that works to put additional checks and balances on government, not work as the mouth pieces of one or the other party or of an unelected, military-controlled regime.
The ruling cliques were running a ghost government and have for that moment. At the inch of the peoples’ robber reflection, the military-rule broke-in, mesmerized the elites and common people alike by the Dance of Death ––reforms –– to cleanse politics, political parties, electoral system, governance, the polity, in a word. No military rule like the IBB’s and Buhari’s who are yet thirst for power seems to be much bothered about the constitutional and legal basics or niceties. A charade of governance was experienced in the name of an enlightened application of the constitution. The abuse and disuse of the constitution was, however, germane to the post-’60 polity of Nigeria. In our country, the fallout, political and economic, of post colonial government’s ill-conceived agenda, which many believed was also designed to legitimize a greater long-term role for the military in national politics, was dire and frightening.
To quote from an article I wrote 2 years ago: on top of all, these Khaki-men returned the Constitution of Nigeria to sanctify the martial law authority as more equal than the Constitutional Assembly and Parliament as a source of constitutional law. The very beginning of the Constitution, the Preamble, starts with a martial law proclamation. The basics of the polity, as enshrined in the Constitution, became fundamentally changed through martial law proclamations.
Be that as it may, the absence of any political or policy debate among the civil-servants is indeed frustrating. The civil servants did seem too eager to go through the motion and not articulate their views as to what policy the nation should pursue to address local, national, regional and international issues. Frustratingly still, there was not even a murmur in the audience for direct contribution to the national standing and executive commitment. Their look-warm may indicate their 100 per cent faith in the civil rule; however, it also highlights the absence of any aspiration or sense of urgency in them to democratize the political affairs.
If more public representatives can be role models for honest living – and honest living almost invariably goes with simple living – and the government takes its commitment seriously and proves itself to be truly unsparing in dealing with corruption without reference to party affiliation, a dent in the problem can certainly be made, although eradicating corruption will be a long way off.
The entire package of reforms to be taken up by the Jonathan’s government remains — institutional reforms in the Independent Nigeria Electoral Commission, Anti-Graft Commissions;-ICPC as well as EFCC, Public Service Commission, recruiting agencies for overseas employment, the Nigeria Ports Authority and separation of the judiciary from the executive and development in various service sectors like establishing the Citizen Charter, One Stop Service for police Clarence certificate and Passport problems.
Her small and medium entrepreneurs face too many hurdles, including a cold shoulder they get from the banks, while they pursue their ventures. Small and medium enterprises constitute one of the major driving forces of economic growth in the developing countries. The development potentials of these industries in Nigeria are boundless. Characteristically, the SMEs are poised to create millions of low-cost and productive job opportunities, add to national output and exports, promote entrepreneurship and innovation, and spread industrial growth over wider geographic regions and among vast number of potential business owners. These intrinsic merits of the SMEs make them handy instruments for achieving employment intensive industrial growth, ‘socially inclusive’ national economic growth and sustained poverty alleviation.
The hurdles must be removed to create an enabling environment for the small entrepreneurs to operate. It is dismay that still many commercial banks inside Nigeria were unwilling to deal with the small and medium entrepreneurs, driven by common misunderstanding that they might fail to repay the loans. It appears that the security $ exchange commission has expressed concern that the local bourse was being manipulated by a rogue .Beyond dealing with the typical political issues; Nigeria’s economic interests like promotion of investments and export opportunities requires attention.
President Goodluck Jonathan will truly establish a people’s government through holding a free, fair and acceptable election after accomplishing various institutional reforms in Nigeria. The difficulties emanating from the major reforms established by the Obasanjo regime is likened to teething troubles which would eventually be assuaged with greater good for the people. The temporary setback in government may cause problem for some vested quarters, but the people of this country will gradually get its benefit for a longer term.
The Jonathan government had created an avenue for democracy, development and tranquility in Nigeria in the last few months of inception, to strengthen some governmental and constitutional institutions and also modernized government bodies for working neutrally. The civil society, mass media representatives and the administration should work towards affirming the confidence and trust of the people in the government engaged in sensitizing people’s against the vices of electoral violence, corruption and crime. The present regime headed by Dr. Jonathan can be put together as a “reformist and crisis management government”, the government of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan on priority basis had taken some reform initiatives for strengthening the foundation of democratic system and establishing good governance in Nigeria.
There are institutional and economic reforms, service-sector development, food safety and supply situation and freedom of information and mass media on the way.
Dr. Jonathan’s is now viewed as a government for a short time but is working to establish a permanent system in the country; the difference between the previous governments and the present one, which herded up country’s top politicians into prison under a massive purge, can be easily underlined.
The need to involve all the people under the government policies and activities is a good recommendation to access the government’s goals for development of Nigeria as a country. All achievements and services of the Jonathan-led government are for Nigeria’s people, they should support the regime goals, achievements and programs.