Sovereign National Conference: For the Avoidance of Doubt

by Emmanuel Omoh Esiemokhai

It has been widely reported in the media that Nobel Laureate and social activist, Professor Wole Soyinka and Yale educated economist, Olu Falae have declared their intention to convene a Sovereign National Conference in the immediate future. They will just do it.

When a nation is under political stress and spirit possession, it is not unusual for its concerned and knowledgeable citizens to resort to their mental inheritance in order to fashion out workable panacea to restore the state to its displaced equilibrium.

Since this call has been made in utmost good faith, our compatriots should objectively and constructively contribute to the Conference.

What is a Sovereign National Conference? It is a patriotic forum, which affords all citizens, who are the carriers of sovereignty to deliberate on problems, resolve issues and arrive at a compromise on the guiding norms and principles of statecraft.

I have observed over the years that good intentions are often misunderstood as a result of ignorance, fear of losing out in a debate on national survival, in which group interests are put above the interest of the electorate in a democracy.

This is my reason for attempting to explain what a National Sovereign Conference is all about. It is attempt to dialogue with political parties and their leaders. It is not about a revolutionary change.
It is about far-reaching discussions on how the constitution should enthrone social justice and equity, the rule of law, establishes stratagems to make it difficult for impunity and lawlessness to hinder the nation’s forward march.

Anyone, who is opposed to these goals, cannot be a good citizen of the Confederal Republic, to which Nigeria appears to be headed as a result of the on-going internecine musings and the pervading political melee in Nigeria.

John Locke regarded sovereignty as residing in the people. Therefore any decision taken by government on behalf of the people must be acceptable to the electorate.

A political mind must have been conditioned to the over-riding power of the people, if it is not to slip into despotism, which in turn inflame passions that result in anarchy and mindless violence.

A National sovereign conference must endorse the people’s right to self-determination, freedom of movement, enjoyment of life by having access to the natural resources of the state, the right to freely choose the right people to govern them in free and transparent elections that eliminate the conferment of ruler ship by the courts, which makes a mockery of the doctrine of separation of powers in a democracy.

A Sovereign National Conference should audit the performance of all state institutions and pass judgment on their performance.

A situation where incompetent public officers stay-put just because they have been lucky to occupy high office, is a subject for deliberation at a sovereign National Conference.

Such a critical review will act as a deterrent and will goad public officers to perform or leave public office in the public interest. The Republic has no duty to pay any officer, who is found to be deficient and not diligent.

In an age in which the process of democratization is blowing across the globe, information technology and mass political culture have obliterated the gaudy notion of “sovereign” as ascribed to political leaders.

The people now evaluate the exhibition of the leader’s human intelligence or the lack of it to have confidence in his ability to govern.

Excessive reliance on speech-writers, undue influence, undue and excessive force, no longer succeed for the retention of political power or authority.

The forth-coming Sovereign National Conference must first map out how far its decisions will go, so that it does not strike fear in the persons “To Whom It May Concern”. What I have written here is a mere drop in the ocean of the jurisprudence of the matter and the jurisprudence in the matter of the consequences of a Sovereign National Conference.

We must discuss our economy, our constitution, the debilitating effect of corruption, put up strategies to block corrupt practices and create a social justice and not a legal justice system that punishes the poor, who are driven into crime by an inoperative societal organization that promotes the welfare of those, who have or have had access to National wealth.

Every word spoken at the Sovereign National Conference should be documented because they will help to frame the synthesis of our national development.

I will attend the Sovereign National Conference, with bells on.

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