Nigeria; 2011 Elections, The Leadership Challenge

I start with a convincing theoretical, legal postulation that Nigeria is not a Federal Republic, but a Confederate Republic of Federated Nation States. Secondly, that every composite unit of the Confederate Republic is manifestly qualified to be a state in International Law. Thirdly, that the present composition of the Nigerian State, has fettered the development of the country as non-performing states benefit and reap, where they never sowed and are unwilling to sow.

While we accept the present situation as an expedient arrangement and as a historical imposition of 1914 (The Lugard Curse), we should look at our unchartered course and investigate the philosophical, legal, economic and social underpinnings of our underdevelopment, in the last fifty years.

There has been a culture of governance by escapism. In 1980, the then Federal Government promised housing, education, health for all, by the year 2000. Then there was a shift to 2010 and further move to 2020.

This government announced a seven- point agenda and shamelessly could not accomplish even one. Only a nation of idiots will accept to be led by a khakistocracy and are not moved by deceits and disappointments to ask strict questions about what is going on.

Perhaps, in anticipation of being appointed ministers, directors-general and other obscure government posts, many knowledgeable Nigerian intellectuals, who should lead opinion to awaken the people, watch with unconcern, as the nation gets fractionally close to shipwreck and retrogression.

They see activists as people, who are wasting their opportunities to be appointed ministers by writing articles and giving public lectures in order to sensitize the people.
This type of thinking is rampant amongst academics, who circulate among bankers, top government officials, senators and whoever can confer unearned honours and advantages, no matter how tainted such benefactors are National Assembly members, who cream off the nation’s wealth through approving for themselves jumbo salaries and emoluments, will be remembered as Nigerians, with misplaced consciences, who do not qualify as decent legislators. What are their efforts in re-shaping Nigeria? They just saddled this country with an inchoate constitution, without sovereign authority.

They are no better than the kidnapper or the armed robber, in terms of the constitution of the fabric of their core values. If anger pushes Nigerians to revolt against this mindless violence on the people’s psyche, the members of the National Assembly will surely be made accountable.

As the Nigerian Bar Association raises the issue in the Courts of the land, the Constitution is being violated by the “Law Givers”, who give to themselves inexcusable funds in a nation, where the basic salary is N18, 000 per month.

They have regularly tampered with annual budgets placed before them from the executive branch, in total violation of the stipulations of the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission.

It is hereby recommended that any illegal monies paid to any legislators, in violation of the law be treated as misappropriated funds, which must be refundable as debt owed to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, in perpetuity.

Formidable Leadership Challenges

There are formidable leadership challenges facing Nigeria, in desperate need of a turn-around. We feel “an immediate sense of urgency and performance orientation”, which demand a new thinking.

This administration needs “to deliver short-term results, leaving longer term success of the nation to subsequent leaders”. Anyone, who has been involved in company, turn-around processes, should understand where I am coming from.

The most uncertain and anxious moments in the lives of people in modern democracies are during events leading to a change of leadership either through elections or other means of leadership change.

History has shown that after Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin took over power, the events they caused to happen, turned the world around for the worst. Italy captured Abyssinia, Germany occupied Austria and Stalin occupied Eastern European states.

At BOSAS INTERNATIONAL LAW BUREAU, Abuja, Nigeria, which is serving as the front-runner to the Faculty of Law of the proposed AFEMAI UNIVERSITY, Fugar, Edo State, Nigeria, members of the Curatorium, in its glittering Chambers, discussed Nigerian and Foreign Affairs.

Last week, we examined the Political, Legal, Economic and Cultural under-pinnings of Nigeria’s under-development. We focused on the leadership challenge as the 2011 elections approach.

We started by reviewing Nigerian historical developments from 1895, when the Foreign Jurisdiction Act was passed in the British Parliament and which was made to have effect in all British Colonies, to aid colonial administration.

There have been political chance happenings and military coup de’etats by military iconoclasts in Nigeria as well as election rigging parties and other reactionary political governance from 1999 to 2010.

In my contributions at the BUREAU, I dealt with the retrogressive effect of some British Laws on Nigerian political, economic and cultural developments in the last one hundred years.

These views are contained in my book entitled, “The Colonial Legal Heritage in Nigeria” 1986, Fagbamigbe Publishers, Akure / Ibadan. Since 1895, a Nigerian jurisprudence has not emerged.

However, there have been, patchworks of Nigerian Constitutionalism which have been jettisoned, when a new leader came on board. Most Nigerian constitutions are discarded before they are tested. British legal ideas, rules, regulations, processes dominate the deliberations in our Courts of Law.

The question that is often asked is whether Nigeria is a Metaphoric Nation? We have observed that a nation that does not accommodate its thinkers, but causes them to emigrate will continue to grope in the dark with experimentation, trials by error, guesswork, rule of lawlessness and a corrupted public order.

A nation that kills its universities by refusing to fund and promote excellence will shamelessly live from the intellectual products of other more imaginative nations. It is a shame that no Nigerian university featured among the 4000 listed world-wide recently.

A nation that encourages mediocrity will continue to lament missed opportunities. A state in which compromised individuals hold sway in government will fail.

Political Leadership In Nigeria

The scorecard of Nigerian leaders has been dismal, when one considers the material and human resources that have been at their disposal since 1960 and what has been achieved. The Chinese became independent in 1949 and Nigeria got her independence in 1960.
Today, the Chinese are indisputably the leading world economy in spite of their problems with adverse climatic conditions.

We have been led by leaders, who crashed into governance without adequate and relevant educational qualifications and experience in statecraft. Some Northern leaders seem to have been unprepared for Nigerian governance.

In Nigeria, some leaders were discredited, others committed. Others were bloodied, disgraced, humiliated and like Bola Ige, Funso Williams, Murtala Mohammed, were killed, in circumstances of utmost brutality.
So, why do some people throw caution to the wind in the gamble of politics? While other nations honour their past leaders, in Nigeria they are forgotten after the last obituary had been published.

They are little quoted or revered. So, man, why are you strutting the nation in vain glorious efforts? The challenge of leadership today is the initialization of well planned societal progra

mmes to uplift Nigerians.

In the past, most Nigerian leaders were used by their friends, associates and tribesmen to accumulate excessive wealth. Mammonic spirits do hold down the incandescent light of honour from flooding the soul of the nation. In spite of our poor records of national development, one does not see any credible leader, armed with the relevant educational knowledge in statecraft that will rescue our nation from the throes of divisiveness, tribe preferences and narrow-mindedness.

Yet, every scoundrel and rascal aspires to be Governor, Local Government Chairman and President. We are glad that the EFCC and INEC are now manned by people with sound judgment. The fate of those deluded politicians who did not walk uprightly is in jeopardy. They carry an inner torment.

The challenge of leadership in Nigeria must address the issue of the Naira’s standing in the global system. A nation with a weak currency suffers from diminished sovereignty and independence. Also, problems concerning national security, food security, electricity, water supply must be solved immediately. A lot of government pronouncements on these matters are always the subject of dialogue at conferences and symposia, but one hardly sees results.

We are still lighting candles, putting on our own generators and drinking from rivers. There is insecurity, in spite of a professionally trained army and police force. So what is the joy about 2011? In 2007, promises were made with little to jubilate about, years later.

Malversation is rife. Accountability is yet to catch on. We have to lay down principles and obligations for political leadership, if we are to make progress. Under-performance has always been the problem in Nigerian governance. There are always promises of transformation which seldom go beyond bellicose proclamations.

Between 2004-2007, the ruling party performed more as a bonded political association of like–minded politicians. All that will change, as a new dispensation is throwing up awareness among the marginalised.

There is incredible awareness among the minority nations, who do not want to be cheated any more. The militant wing of the Delta minorities have been tested in revolutionary resistance and have become a force to reckon with.

The quarrels among leading party members have resulted in many quitting their parties. This is partly because of opportunism and the love for posts. The emergence of new parties will lead to a dilution of party loyalties.
As far as ideologies are concerned, no party is offering concrete philosophical and societal developmental calculus. The Sovereign of the people, their democratic rights, accountability to the people and the rule of law are disregarded and nothing seems to have changed.

The ruling party should mend its fences and work for a “truly democratic society, distinguished by the rule of law, human rights, due process, national unity, equity, national values and purpose”. As of now, no social system is in place to excite enthusiasm and hope.

The PDP had its heads up, rose against itself and became divided. Some politicians in Nigeria manifest “androgen insensitivity syndrome”. They jump from one party to another, which suggests that profit and self-exaltation is paramount in their ambition to govern.

We are still having nightmares about the possibility of inconclusive elections, rigged
elections and other inherent stratagems that stultify the democratic process.

Political parties in organized societies are the arrowheads of societal progress. Members of political associations ought to be highly motivated, altruistic, committed, knowledgeable men and women, who have meticulously prepared themselves for leadership.

They are usually armed with ideals, perspectives, plans, strategies, discipline and integrity. All these attributes help politicians organize and implement party manifestos, guidelines and prepare programmes based on party ideology. If this happens, they should earn the confidence of voters.

In Nigeria, some believe in vote rigging, corruption, electoral malpractices, intrigue, subterfuge, mindless violence and the pursuit of reactionary-minded tendencies that are anti-democratic. The late Chief Adedibu was a clear example.

All political parties should desist from pursuing fiscal policies that serve foreign investors at the expense of local stakeholders. Government sells oil to foreign interests.

Many politicians in Nigeria need to be schooled in political thought from Machiavelli to Marx acquaint themselves with the theory and praxis. of modern politics.

Nigerian political parties do not last. They either merge with bigger parties or die slowly, with no hope of resurrection. This leads to stunted political development. In some cases, cross carpeting and other undemocratic practices are prevalent. These create instability in the polity.

One observes that some Nigerian politicians are driven by avarice, misappropriation of national wealth, bare-faced stealing of funds, misuse of power, tribalism, irredentism and all these affect the quality of governance in the country. When will Nigeria put its strong feet forward?

Politicians must be free to speak out even when they operate within a consolidated power space where no contrary opinion is tolerated or even invited.

There seems to still exist a semi-feudal and aristocratic dispensation, which cares less about those who are not privileged by birth or education.

The Northern region of Nigeria is poverty stricken, especially in the villages and small towns it is difficult to explain the billions of Naira Local Governments receive every month.

A study by BOSAS INTERNATIONAL LAW BUREAU, Abuja about the state of hunger and desperation in Northern Nigeria, cannot be made public. Some villages are so ravaged by harsh conditions that entire villages move to greener pastures. Yet, the Babanriga- wearing elite pretend that all is well.

It is very difficult to conduct credible elections in such remote villages. They see their political leaders once in a blue moon and so, consider it their right to accept whatever the politicians offer for votes. Kow-towing to decadent, societal ethos have become anachronistic and unhelpful, since these hinder our march forward Nigeria’s Political Economy.

As of now, the Nigerian political economy defies scientific analysis. Foreign economic analysts have inundated us with hackneyed macro and micro economic jargons and these are peddled by the so-called Board room “ gurus”, all in the service of foreign interests.

A sizable amount of Nigerian money is in foreign bank accounts, where the locals borrow from such accounts and get richer, Nigerian fiscal policies oscillate between dogma and voluntarism.

Nigeria should encourage freedom of expression and free association and not promote bonded political associations, which act as occult brotherhoods.

A permanent solution to the Niger Delta problems must be found. Poverty among Northern citizens should engage the attention of our political parties. The Delta situation will not yield to amnesty alone but a developmental strategy that must be total and effective.

Written by
Emmanuel Omoh Esiemokhai
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