Messages to the Presidents of the World
|14th President of Nigeria|
|In office 5 May 2010 – 29 May 2015|
|Vice President||Namadi Sambo|
|Preceded by||Umaru Yar'Adua|
|Succeeded by||Muhammadu Buhari|
|12th Vice President of Nigeria|
|In office 29 May 2007 – 5 May 2010|
|Preceded by||Atiku Abubakar|
|Succeeded by||Namadi Sambo|
|Governor of Bayelsa|
|In office 9 December 2005 – 29 May 2007|
|Preceded by||Diepreye Alamieyeseigha|
|Succeeded by||Timipre Sylva|
|Born||Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan(1957-11-20) 20 November 1957 (age 59)Ogbia, Bayelsa, Nigeria|
|Political party||People's Democratic Party|
|Alma mater||University of Port Harcourt|
THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE
- Prince H.
- Thursday, 06 March 2014
THE PRESIDENT OF The Federal Republic Of Nigeria,
Dear Mr. President Sir,
REQUEST TO BE CONSIDERED AS A MEMBER OF THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE 2014
I write this letter with a deep sense of concern and conviction on the need of a national dialogue of the nature just approved by Mr. President and for me to be so nominated for that conference by Mr. President as a youth representative. My reasons are well enunciated in my book “THE PRETENDER NATION” which is an attachment to this letter. It is my strong belief that I have the capacity to drive the realization of Mr. President dreams and aspirations from that conference since I have always discovered that on several national issues I have always been on the same page with Mr. President.
Secondly I have undertaken serious research into national conferences of this nature historically and I am aware that definitely the conference will feel my impact. It is true that I am unknown, have no name nor per degree in national issues yet that also remain a plus for me since no one will be preparing for me but those whose names and per degrees are known.
I am Ederaine Prince Henry a lecturer in Delta State Polytechnic Otefe-Oghara, Delta State. I am an Economist by training and I am facing my final defense soon for my MSc programme from Ebonyi State University Abakaliki, Ebonyi State. I will be 43 years old by December 2014. I am an Okpe man from Okpe LGA of Delta State. My email is: email@example.com and my phone number is 07032313874.
I will be very honoured to be allowed to serve my father’s land at this particular sensitive conference. Please accept the assurances of my warmest gratitude.
Ederaine P. Henry
To the five Angels in my life
Edirin, Edesiri, Ede, Eguonor and …………………..
You are my strength ………….. I love you all.
First I would like to thank Onokurhefe Olili-Uhrorho who helped edit this book and whose invaluable insights played a critical role in the conceptualization of the title of this book. Without her contributions and insights this book would not have been titled “The Pretender Nation”
I will never fail to appreciate my mentor and inspirator who indirectly provided the fuel and match sticks that ignited into this book seeing the light of day, Professor Emmanuel Eyitemi Akporhonor, former Rector, Delta State Polytechnic, Otefe-Oghara and the Ogbenis Crew James Ekwevugbe, Nyore Mowarin, Bobi Onogbotsere.
I must also thank my wonderful parents, Mr. & Mrs. Michael Ederaine and my most Cherished siblings without them I would be a nobody today, I talk of George Ederaine, Mrs Queen Ogagifor, Rev.Father. John Ederaine, Grace Ederaine, Oghenetega Ederaine and Rekewe Ederaine. My inlaw Mr Charles Ogagifor, Junior, Tejiri, Eruese, Kohwerho, Akpevwe Fregene, and Oghenekobiwro. I love you all.
Finally, to those people in my life who have sharpen my focus, I am grateful.
Ederaine Prince Henry
The idea for this book emanated while I was living in Lagos in the year 2003 to 2005 after my graduation and seeking for the so called greener pasture in the so called dream-come through mega city.
Instead of my big dream of ‘hammering’ (making millions) coming through the harsh reality of life in Lagos hit hard. I had to retreat into myself and discovered in March 1st, 2004 specifically at Egan-Lagos that a National dialogue is imperative and a must if Nigeria must get it right.
It was that day that I wrote the introductory notes of this book originally titled ‘Constitution’: The Gods of Nations.’ That introductory notes then is the present chapter I of this book whose initial title is now Book 1 (one) and the real title ‘The Pretender Nation’.
Therefore, what I wrote in 2004 today remains very relevant and important to the development and progress of our nation. The reasons behind the writing of these thoughts of mine is basically that it could be a pointer, an arrow that describes the possible route to a dorado, the land of promise.
What is true in the emergence and growth of all world powers, super powers, empires is the emergence of a consensus on the symbol of the nation; the identity of the nation, the rallying point of the nation. These are nations directed towards one ideological melting point. For some previous super-powers it was a leader, for others it was a political and economic system, and yet others it was the rule of congregation-the constitution.
Once this rallying point is established, in our case the writing of a people’s constitution, then a new world power is born. Mark these words, if Nigeria goes through this road, she will emerge the next real world power after the United States of America.
Finally, I leave you with these words from the Declaration of Independence by the United States of America on July 4th, 1776 that saw to the birth of a new nation. My hope and desire is that these words will be ours to so declare in the nearest future.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights; that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; That whenever any form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness”
With this thought provoking words I welcome one and all to The Pretender Nation.
THE PRETENDER NATION
Nigeria is a pretender nation. Nigeria was conceived in pretense and given birth to in pretence. All those that have ruled this nation have always been pretenders to the throne policies, political structures everything that has Nigeria stamp on it are born out of pretense. Every single government policies, directives are initiated with pretense. If Nigeria and Nigerians are not a pretending nation are we not aware that “WE THE PEOPLE” never come together to write a so called constitution and that “… of the Federal Republic of Nigeria” there exist nothing like the federal republic of Nigeria but the Republic of Nigeria.
The undoing, the backwardness, the strife, in short the political imbalance that has confronted this nation and still continues to confront her is this pretender agendum stamped. It must be addressed, it must be stamp out.
Nigeria claim to nationhood is false, it’s a deceit and highly disputable. Nigeria is a mere pretension to nationhood and thus it is a lie. Fallacy, fallacy that is what Nigeria and Nigerians are.
A Nigerian that resides in America is a Nigerian first and foremost. When that same man gets to Lagos he is first and foremost an Ibo man, him being a Nigerian is secondary.
A Nigerian abroad will open companies, work hard and acquired wealth. He is an epitome of decency with impeccable morals, that same man in Abuja is not better than a common thief, acquiring everything in sight without even opening a single company. Of course, he lacks morals and he is a chalatan. He travels abroad and in fact his children school overseas and he knows how things operate and run there yet as a political leader back home he nurses no plan on how to improve his father’s land. Fallacy, fallacy Nigeria is a farce, it’s a dream, a very bad, horrible nightmarish dream that should be prayed against.
Nigerians have turned Nigerians into one huge gigantic zoo, where the carnivorous (human eaters) are so merciless and the dictum is “if you cannot beat them, you join them, if you cannot join them you check out and if you fight them, they eat you for lunch”, it’s that simple. In this big zoo everyone is learning to be a flesh eater and soon there will be no herbivorous species left and all the carnivorous will turn on each other. This is no doom say.
Run a decent government? Nigerians cannot run one, run an economy, even marginally in the midst of these abundant resources? Nigerians in Nigeria cannot run an economy. There was a country.
Nigeria keeps shunning policies upon policies aimed at turning things around for the country and her citizens yet both rulers and ruled will not changed, old habits, old characters, old morals or old perceptions. Result – there was country.
The pretender Nation status of Nigeria has an international dimension also. One nation, one country colonized by one master, governed from two colonial political orientation philosophy (direct and indirect rule) amalgamated as one nation. This is a classical case of which ever option you (Nigeria) take they win and you lose. It is a devil’s alternative. The carrot and stick approach. It is like an animal with two heads moving in opposite direction. In such case, there is no movement whatsoever. Also, a carrot was sold psychologically and ideologically to both section of a born to rule mentality and the theory of domination if certain parameters are not strictly followed and vice versa.
That is, an ideological and psychological virus or called it war was sold to both section of the country on the basis of interest to perpetually subject us to colonialism by other forms and means. Since every government either independent or colonial government policies have ripple effects, such colonial policies filled with ideological virus could have even re-enforced the pretender nation status of Nigeria. I made bold to assert that the seed of discord sold by the colonialist did re-enforced Nigeria as a pretender nation.
The reasons why Nigeria is a pretender Nation is actually the reasons why Africa and in fact most colonized nations of the world remain under developed. The thrust of this book will not focus on the reasons especially as indirectly derived from colonialism as that is a focus of another work but Nigeria like her colonized counterpart India or Brazil has within her the raw resources and spirit to move from such obstacles place on her path to greatness and economic development. This is the issue. The double jeopardy Nigeria suffers as a pretender Nation. A giant whose claim to giant-ship remains in potential only and perpetually so. While other nations have learnt to organize a better society for themselves Nigeria remains an adult infant still learning the process of crawling.
This book, The Pretender Nation is not just a catalogue of criticism but a text in analysis of the Nigeria twin maladies and suggested solutions directed to solving and salvaging a moribund, docile and creeping potential world power. The book is divided into two sections – Constitution: the God of Nations and Capitalism: The Emperor of Nations.
CONSTITUTION – THE CUSTOM AND TRADITION OF NATIONS
At the local or community level custom and tradition have always been recognized as the laws, rules and regulations synonymous to a homogenous group of people. It is the belief and indeed the practice that every ethnic stock or nationality has recognized laws of don’ts and do’s that guide every aspect of their lives. It is these don’ts and do’s that form a body of laws which has come to be known as customs and traditions of that people.
At the national level there exist recognizable body of laws, rules, regulations and practices spelt out, that directs the activities of both individual unit and cooperate entities, and the nation state. And that body of law is the constitution of the nation. In the narrow sense, what custom and tradition is to a community that is what a constitution is to a nation. In a similar analogy, custom and tradition are means to an end, the end being a decent, honest, law abiding and discipline society. But these are not the issues. The problem arises when one recall that there are no schools or formal settings or grouping where customs and traditions are taught in any African society. Yet, through the normal process of growing-up and social interaction an African child knows his customs and traditions by right. It is this knowledge of his customs and traditions that breeds in him ethnic love or patriotism and depending on how he directs his patriotism it either becomes destructive or creative. My clear observation is that the similarity of these two concepts has often been overlooked in favour of patriotism. Patriotism is an end in itself, it is not a means. Constitution is a means of which one of its ends includes patriotism. That is another issue which we shall soon consider.
Thus the African knows by heart the essential features of the customs and traditions guiding almost all aspect of human activity. This cannot be said of the African concerning his nation’s constitution. At the National level, the nation’s customs and traditions are not known by more than two thirds of the populace and of course half of the remaining one third are conversant with few essential aspects of the constitution, especially, those aspects that deals with fundamental human rights which of a truth is a universal custom and tradition. Thus, a breach of the customs and traditions goes largely unnoticed and in rare occasions when noticed, corrective measures meet unmitigated failures. The reasons for the failure of a corrective breach of the constitution are indeed legion but ranges from ignorance of the text of the constitution, non challent attitude to correct a breach, indiscipline, defective and an ambiguous constitution and to weak institutions and machineries set up to effect a corrective breach.
At the local level, a breach of the customs and traditions are met with prompt and effective corrective measures. The institutions and machineries tasked with the burden of adjudicating an alleged breach are efficient and effective. There are two main institutions responsible for the correction of a breach of customs and traditions – they are either the palace of the Monarch and his appointed chiefs or the Moral conscience institutions. By moral conscience institutions I mean the various manner and method in the community where an offender is treated as an outcast in the public arena. In a way, these moral conscience institutions are even more effective in the correction of a breach in some certain aspects than the decisions of the palace. But together they help to correct an attack on the customs and traditions of a people.
There was a time when the moral conscience institutions played a role in the minimization and the correction of a breach of the nation’s customs and traditions. In present day Nigeria and indeed sub – Sahara Africa moral conscience institutions are dead and it has degenerated to the stage where this same institutions are used to laud activities of breakers of the constitution.
Coupled with this are both the defective and ambiguous customs and traditions and weak formal institutions (Courts) constitutionally set up to effect a correction of a breach. These inherent defects act as an avenue for offenders to manipulate their way through without a care to their moral conscience.
We may go on and on but the critical issues are clear. There exist customs and traditions at both the community level and at the national level. Second, Africans and indeed Nigerians are more involved with their customs and traditions are the community level than at the national level.
ORIGIN OF CUSTOMS AND TRADITIONS
How did our community customs and traditions come about? From which sources did we emass these customs and traditions? I candidly believe I need not be a student of history to think it through. Traditions are not written in concrete, but at their inception it seems so. As time and events unfold, some old traditions give way to new ones, and some modifications are effected for the bottom line is that traditions are met to work for people and not the people to work for customs and traditions. Also, rulers (kings) do not decree into existence customs and traditions. If they do, they stand the risk of being rejected. Customs and traditions normally emanate from experiences, facts of history, practices overtime and from even good and evil tidings. Hence I will consider two main origins of customs and traditions while simultaneously comparing some with the process of deriving constitutions.
(a) PRACTICES AND BEHAVIOUR OF A PEOPLE OVERTIME
The body of laws known as the customs and traditions of a people do not originate through their practices and behaviour. A man in community Y may for instance believe that dog is sacred and protects him and his family from danger and if such notion gains wider acceptance from both neighbors and kinsmen a minor custom is in the making already. Even after the demise of the man, the family and the town may still continue in that practice. If the man had instructed his subjects to desist from the eating of dogs, because it had gain wide acceptance maybe due to the fact that they believe that the dog actually saves them when they are in danger, as generation passes, the sacredness of the dog become a tradition. This example is of a general nature but there exists specific cases where it is spelt out, do not do this, or do that. For instance, a married woman is not held by the wrist by another man, for she will confuse that man for her husband and follow him to his bed.
The point has been made that it is the behaviour and practices associated with a people overtime that creates the kind of customs and traditions that they possesses. This is the reason while every community’s customs and traditions are unique in itself and different from every other in many respect.
In our practice of constitution making we have not entirely considered our nations practices and our collective behaviour. This is so because the people have never been involved in the process of writing a constitution but rather them, the military. Government are organized by the people, and it includes all other agents of state which includes the military. In fact the military does not represent up to half of the security network or arrangement of the nation, yet they have continued to task themselves of the great burden of writing the nation’s customs and traditions. Such a document can only serve the best interest of the military not the interest of the people of Nigeria. To appreciate the import of this, let’s have a clear example. If the labour movement in Nigeria undertakes the writing of a constitution for the country, whatever document presented will reflect and represent the interest of labour mainly however republican it might be in nature.
The practices and behaviour of the military is projected to the fore in all the nation’s customs and traditions writing since 1979. The Nigeria people’s practices and behaviour is what is required, because absolute power belongs to the people.
(b) EXPERIENCE OF THE PEOPLE
Another important origin of our community’s customs and traditions is the various experiences of the people. Experience is one of the sources of knowledge. Events both natural and physical occurrences frame the pattern of lives of the people and it also decides the composition of their customs and traditions. Their collective experiences acts as a guide in the birth of certain customs and traditions. Customs and traditions made from the experiences of the people tend to be more popular and widely accepted because it is based on the general experience of the community.
The Nigeria constitution is based on the experiences of the military alone and not on the experience of the people of Nigeria during their turbulent conquest by the military class. The constitution is composed of an elitist, the all conquering arrogance of the ruling cliché, the military Oligarchy. Their experience as soldiers of occupation, as ultimate rulers, as the subverters of the sovereign will of the people is demonstrated all over the constitution.
In 1786, the Americans were operating a confederation. But due to their tragic experiences under inhuman and brutal British colonialist they decided to fight for their freedom and after, to secure the new found freedom and liberty. To secure their freedom and liberty they wrote a living and an immortal constitution based largely on their previous experience in nation hood. Is it not baffling to note that the Americans fought a war to get/achieve independence, but to secure for all time, this freedom and the blessings of liberty they drafted the constitution of the United States of America.
That wars were fought to get freedom, do not guarantee the presence of freedom rather something extra and vital was needed to secure, this time, not only freedom but also the blessings of liberty. The something extra was the writing of the constitution by the people of the Americans and the ratification of this same document by the people of the several states. The critical issue is that when the people of their own free will writes a constitution for their free will they will of their own freewill protect and defend the constitution or any attempt to breach any aspect therein, even with the last drop of their blood. This is how people react to past experiences in order to avoid a repeat of it. That is the story of America. What is Nigeria story? In the Christian’s Holy Bible it is written “seek ye first the kingdom of God and every other thing shall be added to you”. But in the affairs of nations I say, ‘seek ye first a democratically written constitution, and every other thing shall be yours’. Anyway, more on that later.
THE CASE OF CUSTOMS AND TRADITION IN A FEDERATION
A federation is the composition of many ethnic groups with different social – cultural background. This means that a federating unit is made up of several customs and traditions. In a functioning federation, these customs and traditions will gradually erode away, giving way to the federation customs and traditions, that is the constitution. This is possible due to the law of equality in a federation. The law of equality simply means that there is no dominance of one ethnic group over the rest. That is, all ethnic groups are equal and are treated so. Thus, no group may lord it over the others and no cultural enslavement. The tendency for a particular culture, that is, customs and traditions to be impose either indirectly or directly does not therefore arise. Now if this balance does hold, with time local customs and traditions will give way to the federal customs and traditions, because it the latter that will be giving prominence.
A better way of saying this, is that the knowledge and awareness of the federal customs and traditions will be on the increase while that of the local customs and traditions will be on the decrease. Again it could be said that more and more people will come to appreciate the federal customs and traditions than the local customs and traditions. Like I said earlier, all these are applicable under a functioning federalism.
Is this the situation in Nigeria? Of course you and I know that with the passage of time more and more Nigerians are retreating back to their ethnic garb instead of being more Nigeria in their outlook. They are more comfortable being identified by their ethnic stock than being Nigeria. The Nigeria spirit is being killed gradually giving birth to the Ibo spirit, Yoruba spirit or Hausa spirit etc. the result is that our collective rights are being trumped on, on a daily basis by the high and mighty without any correction. The rule of law which guides any committee of nations has been thrown to the dogs. What we now have is the rule of the leaders. In this situation, the leaders and their cronies pay only lip service to the constitution while in private and public they continue to abuse, to destroy this military constitution. If it is the people’s constitution the people will defend it to the latter.
THE BIRTH OF PATRIOTISM AND NATIONALISM
In Nigeria, we have a good number of dedicated and honest individuals who truly love this nation and want the best, the right thing for her. These are patriotic Nigerians. Patriotism and Nationalism are not just the urge for that which is right for ones nation only, they are intense and burning desire and love for the greatness of one’s country, a love that does not fear death on behalf of one’s nation. And truly, many Nigerians have paid the ultimate prize for the love of this nation.
How come these men still has that fire, that burning flame of Patriotism and Nationalism in them at a time, in a country where patriots and nationalists are in acute short supply? I think they are incurable optimists or rather they are intelligent students of history and social revolutions in societies. The issue I am considering here is not the presence however few they are of patriots and nationalists but the acute drought of patriots and nationalists in Nigeria.
As I have earlier pointed out, patriotism and Nationalism are an ends in themselves. They are borne out of an intense love for ones nation. The love for ones nation is in turn a function of the benefits, the opportunities, sense of belonging, freedom and rights, justice, domestic tranquility and protection from external oppression provided by the government of a nation to her citizens without any restrictions or prejudice. When these are guaranteed and provided, then we will see the birth of mass patriots and nationalists. The only way these could be guaranteed and provided is through the establishment of a superior authority to the federal government – the people’s constitution.
The people’s federal constitution is thus the means – the means whose ends are both patriotism and nationalism.
There maybe defects in my comparison of customs and traditions to a nation’s constitution. A lot of people may seriously disagree with my analogy of both phenomenon. They may argue that both terms do not possess serious similarities. The fact is that at the community level, customs and traditions are both sacred and are in most cases superior authorities even to the institution of the monarch. For most times, the monarch institution gets its birth from customs and traditions.
In like manner, the constitution is the supreme law of the nation. The constitution is superior or a superior authority to the government. Hence in this manner they are similar.
Having stated this, we now move into the crucial issue. The crucial issue is that after extraying the preceding pages it becomes glaring the Nigeria is like a man, a patient suffering from malaria. A patient suffering from Malaria will normally exhibit several symptoms like headache, high temperature, cold, vomiting, general weight loss etc. A treatment of any of these symptoms does not lead to total recovering since the malaria parasites is yet in the patient’s blood stream. It is only a treatment of the fundamental problem, in this case – the malaria – that will lead to total recovering.
The Nigeria problem is neither social, is neither political, is neither economical nor is it cultural. In fact, Nigeria’s problem is not corruption, or bad leadership. A defective structure, composition or constitution can only produce its type namely a defective leadership. As long as we as a nation continue to operate our system of government with the dictatorial constitution that now exist our leadership structure will be poor and bad, our economic programmes total failure, our fight against corruption will remain on paper only and the problem of marginalization mature to a mighty monster.
Nigeria fundamental problem is that we do not have a constitution. And we have never had a constitution. How can we have a federation without a federal constitution and the state’s constitution? Remember, it is the states that are federating thus they are entitled to their constitution which they subject to the federal constitution. Again, how do we operate a democracy without a constitution? A constitution that is given the force of law by a military decree cannot be a constitution – not to talk of a federal constitution.
What therefore is a constitution by my definition? A constitution is the supreme, the ultimate law of a nation, written by the nation’s supreme power. The supreme power of a nation is the people of that nation. In a nation people are stratified into various categories on the nature of job they are engaged in. one category alone does not represent the people of that nation. Bearing this in mind we can attempt another working definition of a constitution. A document which represent the supreme and ultimate law of a nation, and which must have been written by the various people of that nation is known as and called a constitution.
A constitution goes beyond laws and regulations. A constitution gives birth to a nation, it prescribe the nations name, the nation’s system of government, tenure of elected officers etc. A constitution precedes the birth of a nation. In fact it is the constitution that gives birth to the nation. A constitution becomes more important in a federation. A federation is the union of several nations into one nation with a central government and regional governments. A constitution defines distribution of powers and responsibilities. And the constitution cannot be changed by either of the two acting alone. The whole idea of a federation will collapse in the absence of a people’s constitution.
In this way and manner, the constitution becomes a guarding angel – the “God of nations”. Let’s explore this “God of nations” and discover how its absence and presence have changed the fortunes of nations. And of course what are the signs of its absence and presence too. Equally, we shall explore how we can bring to the Nigeria shore this “God of nations”.
(1) THE NIGERIAN QUESTION
(a) What is the Nigerian question?
The Nigeria question encompasses the paradox of Nigeria as a rich endowed nation that is poor and populated by the worst indices of economic development. The paradox box that is Nigeria goes beyond just developmental economic indices to the arena of social disequilibrium between different societies in Nigeria and between different social strata in the polity called Nigeria.
The Nigerian question involves a nation where rich is poor and poor is rich. The morally and ethically poor fellow becomes a political leader and he/she is rich while the morally and ethically upright fellow becomes physically poor in the scheme of things in the Nigeria federation and he/she is left unsong or uncelebrated as a model.
Politics in Nigeria is left for the thirdly naturally endowed fellows because of the nature of political activity where death is a constant companion. The naturally and humanly endowed leaders because of moral convictions and largely ignorance leave the scene to the “I go die” of the society. Thus they become our political leaders and it is true that a nation gets the kind of leaders that it deserves.
The Nigerian questions revolves around the issue where since independence a particular set of people, names, family and click have tenaciously recycled themselves as the leaders of Nigeria. There is no generational change in the leadership structure. It follows therefore that one set of minds have being ruling Nigeria since independence. If these sets of minds have a defective agenda that has failed to work and Nigeria becomes worst off as a result, it follows that Nigeria will continue on that same failed path of leadership. Thus all agitations and suggestions for change of leadership policy thrust that has been rejected stands a good chance of being the right recommendations that will lift Nigeria from the “hole” she currently find herself.
The Nigerian question involves weak state institutions whose powers of corrections and supervision has been stolen even before their creation or birth. These state institutions are compromised by the phenomenon known in Nigeria as “man know man”. “Man know man” has also gone a long way to bastardized our educational sector that emphasis on qualification based on the paper presented and not the expertise displayed by the person.
Arising from weak institutions of state is the facts that mediocre find themselves in commanding height of authority and corruption messes around. An uncompromising officer is set up, blackmailed or in some cases killed because he either refuses the corrupt advances of superiors or block junior officers from partaking in corrupt practices.
In the cases of superior officers life may be made ‘hell’ for him from unimaginable angle and since he is a human being and has bills to settle he may eventually be compromised or die in poverty and from lack of want. Meanwhile there are others who have seen a lot of the above examples and they do not waste time being referred to as integrity man they simply join the fry.
That is, sadly arising from weak state institutions corruption is made inevitable, impossible and difficult to resist. In Nigeria therefore, state institutions are created and operated to encourage corruption.
The implication of this observation is that Nigeria is not working because both the leaders and the led are neck deep in corruption and are not allowing the entity known and called as Nigeria to develop. All positive and development change initiative that will not benefit just a few are thrown away, killed and destroyed. There are very few Nigerians, by this ‘few’, I mean very few, like 2% of Nigerians that can actually bit their chest and swear that they have never collected bribes or have never been involve in corruption related actions. This is so because the state institution make corruption not only attractive but impossible to avoid.
Thus all Nigerians whether leaders or led especially the political office holders and the public servants are guilty of corruption – corruptingly enriching themselves and their cronies or favoritism, that is where ‘man know man’ syndrome comes in.
The Nigeria political and governmental structure works, produce, encourage and breed corruption, ineptitude, inefficiency, mediocrity, ethnicity and tribalism and distrust among its citizens.
The defective political and governmental structure gives birth to weak state institutions.
DEFECTIVE POLITICAL AND GOVERNMENTAL STRUCTURE
The political and governmental structure embodies the political system of a nation and how this political system evolves over time. It also includes the relationship of various organs that make up that political system, and further spells out their powers and how such powers are utilized for the benefit of the citizens of such a nation. How are those powers and functions of these organs of the political system derived and from where?
Nigeria political and governmental structure is a quasi prototype of the American Presidential system. It is quasi because it is not true to the type from where it is copied. It is defective not only because some aspect of the American Presidential system was left out but sufficiently, because it was adopted not by ‘WE’ Nigerians but ‘THEY’ the military dictators of the time. And of course the military institution makes up just one services of our public life. The so called constitutional conference of 1979 was midwife by the military; its deliberation was further moderated by the supreme military council.
The current democratic dispensation that started in 1999 usher in a new constitution whose process of enactment followed the same procedure of the 1979 constitution. How can we keep building on a defective foundation and expect the house not to crumble?
Since the political system was ill defined, the organs that emanated from it will also be ill defined and the best cannot be expected to emanate from them not minding the fact that these organs are of a permanent nature and must have been there before the presidential political system of government was chosen. In fact most of these organs like ministries, parastatals, agencies etc. would have underwent serious, drastic and strategic reforms if the political system was not wrongly defined. Here lies the source of the weakness of Nigeria’s state institutions.
It therefore does not matter the political party that is in power nor the integrity, honesty or personal reputation of the man who becomes the president, he can never work well because the system is corrupt it will definitely throw up a corrupt person (not necessarily that the individual is corrupt). The process, the people, the structure everything Nigeria will work together and corrupt that person or make his efforts and genuine determination to get things done come to nothing.
The second implication is that this ill defined political system, and the resultant weak institutions force people, Nigerians into corrupt activities and actions making us a nation populated by a people that was ‘forced’ into corruption. Therefore in line with the underling focus of this book, which is writing a people’s constitution, I am also advocating for the establishment of an amnesty programme for corrupt politician and public servant.
AMNESTY PROGRAMME FOR CORRUPT POLITICIANS AND PUBLIC SERVANTS
An amnesty programme for corrupt political office holders both past and present and for public servants both past and present should be initiated arising from the fact that the Nigerian weak institutions of state have forced us all into corruption. This amnesty programme for corruption will have the power to pardon victims and no cases brought against them in the future when the New Nigeria operated by the people’s constitution, is born.
There will be an amnesty office in the thirty-six (36) state capital and one in the Federal Capital Territory where anyone can work in to ask for amnesty for past corrupt acts and the necessary refunds made. The details and modalities can be worked out later.
From the foregoing it is clear that from the political system to the institution of government there is defects in its operation and I have used corruption as the main sign or symptoms of this failure. Yet there are several such symptoms that goes further to show that there is a need albeit an urgent need to build a different, a new political structure and to be brief to properly defined this Nigeria political structure.
SYMPTOMS OF ILL DEFINED POLITICAL STRUCTURE
Aside from the generally accepted symptom of our failed political structure of corruption, there exist several other symptoms like wide spread domestic disturbance and violence, the growth of ethnic militia, state of insecurity, no vacancy syndrome by political office holders and the sudden rich profile of politicians.
The persistence of these symptoms underline the logic that the problem with Nigeria lies in the structure of its governmental organs and how it has evolved overtime.
WIDE SPREAD CORRUPTION
Drop a file in any government office without throwing in an envelope (whether brown or white) your file will accumulate dust because our public servant will not touch or even minute on it. There is no exception to this rule, from ministry of finance to health, from works to lands and survey and to power. In fact the power sector is a cesspit of official corruption and are even considered worst than the Nigerian police. In the power sector, PHCN staff do not only steal from the Nigerian people, they steal from the government as well as the politicians.
In Nigeria public service it does not matter whether it is federal or state official corruption is the order of the day. A lot of fellows refuse to go on leave for years because they do not want to leave their schedule for another staff. In government parastatals and interventionist agencies they are at par with political office holder in terms of return from corrupt practices. They come out in our screens and tell lies, bare face lies and it does not matter the toga their names bear, it may be doctor (Ph.D.), pastors, professors, imam etc, they are all related in corruption and bleeding the country dry.
The election or selection of a fellow as even a councilor or local government chairman is often accompanied with wide spread celebration and jubilation by family members, friends and cronies not because the fellow is going to work for the common good but because it is their turn to ‘chop’.
Check that guy in a years’ time, then you need not wonder while Nigeria remain a paradox of abject poverty in the midst of huge wealth.
A governor of a state in Nigeria is more than a demi god. In fact most presidents in Africa and some third world countries will definitely envy our Nigeria governors. Governors’ words are law in Nigeria. And as for corruption, it is simply mind blowing. They control state purse, and in collaboration with their younger cousins the state legislature they share the state funds at will.
There is no governor in Nigeria who can look at God and vow that his hands were not deep in the purse of the state fund and that the stupendous wealth they display in and out of office were legitimately made. They deep their hands in the till from all imaginable angle, security votes, inflated contract sums, contracts awarded to proxies of these governors and their family members, etc.
There are no remedies for all these actions even if there exists evidence of fraud and the public servants that are used for these fraud cannot cry out because the safety of his life cannot be guaranteed neither can the governor be brought before the law because he enjoys immunity from being persecuted for any crime committed while he is governor when there is the class of the senators, reps, ministers, head of parastatals and ultimately the president and his presidential staff.
If the governors are demi-gods then the Nigeria president is the god of the demi-gods. There are so many misnormals with our political office holders that need not be pen down here but my thrust is to show the corruption that trails our system of governmental structure in Nigeria. The cardinal question is simple:- Who and how wealthy were they before they got into office and how well off are they after they leave office. Where do those wealth come from?
WIDESPREAD DOMESTIC DISTURBANCE AND VIOLENCE
Since 1999 on the return of democracy, Nigeria has known no peace rather there has been a silent internal war. This internal war can actually be traced to the June 12, 1993 annulment of Abiola’s victory. This domestic disturbance and violence is so widespread and its proportion so alarming to the extent that military presence is as common as police presence all in ‘peace time’.
This domestic disturbances and violence is fuelled by the emergence of gorillas’ war mongers in the colorations of ethnical, tribal and religion clothing. Thousands and thousands of innocent Nigerians has lost their lives in the process and the government capacity to contained their activities has remained largely dismaying and a total failure. It appears that there exist no government to protect the lives and property of its citizens which is a fundamental duty and task of any government.
There is breakdown of law and order and assassins have free reign as high and low profile killings remain unresolved and unchecked. Yet a government exists. This is a sign, a symptom that the stricture of government is not working and that something urgently needed to be done to checked the silent boiling dissatisfaction of majority of Nigerians to the issues of governance of their father land.
THE GROWTH OF ETHNIC, TRIBAL AND RELIGIOUS MILITIAS
At the advert of democratic governance in 1999, ethnic, tribal and religious militias began to appear in the Nigeria landscape at alarming rate and fuel public disturbances and violence, killings and waging war against the federation.
The first shot was fired by the agitation in the North for the creation of state Sharia law not minding the fact that Sharia law is part and parcel of the Penal code. Before the advent of this republic, there were various ethnic and tribal militias like the Odua Peoples Conference (OPC), the Arewa Boys, the Bakassi Vigilantee groups in the East and Movement for the Emancipation of Biafran (MASSOB) and several others.
Arm struggle started from the South-South states of the Niger Delta when militants started carrying arms against the federal government while stealing petroleum products from oil locations and pipelines stating their rights on the premises that they owned the minerals in their lands and that the federal government has been short changing them from their natural benefit and rights.
The Niger Delta militants actions became an albatross that grew to the extent of open rebellion against the state but whose actions was brought to a halt by the Musa Yar’Aduaa presidential amnesty programme for militants.
The Boko Haram insurgency is the latest fire brand terrorists orientated and religious politically motivated militant group yet to appear in the Nigerian political landmine. The politics that is Boko Haram as a symptom of the underling failure of State Political infrastructure is the point. the Boko Haram angle is a direct response from the Northern part of the country to what all Nigerians feel as an imbalance of the power game in Nigeria but no one can identify the source or cause of such perceived imbalance. Without bothering on the internal politics of the origins and aims of Boko Haram, it falls within the ambit of the structural defects of the Nigeria state political system of governance.
NO VACANCY SYNDROME BY POLITICAL OFFICE HOLDERS
In Nigeria, the politicians like their counterpart from other African nations wants to retain power if possible for life. A good example of the Nigerian case is this one culled from a comment form Vanguard website by one Jerry Williams and I quote him “In 1979, Bamanga Tukur was the Governor of the defunct Gongola State (now Adamawa and Taraba states) and 34 years after he is today the chairman of the ruling party, the PDP; Dr. Bello Halliru was commissioner in the old Sokoto state (now Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara states) and 33 years after, he is today Minister of Defence; Major General David Mark (Rtd) was the military Governor of Niger state in 1984 and 28 years later, he is today the Senate President; Governor Muritala Nyako was the Governor of Niger state in 1976 and 37 years after, he is today the Governor of Adamawa state; Ogbonnaya Onu was Governor of Abia State in 1993 and 20 years after he is today the National Chairman of ANPP”
The list goes on and on and these political elites keep recycling themselves and their cronies and of course the state laws and statutes have a way of encouraging this situation. Any attempt to change this order or fight against this status quo is met with stiff resistance whose eventual fallout often leads to political tension, struggle and fight thereby unbalancing the Nigeria Political space from time to time.
The urge to perpetually stay in power is also responsible for the issue of vote rigging and ballot box snatching. Vote rigging is a direct consequence of the desire to retain elected political office against all odds and in the presence of obvious dismay under performance by our so-called elected officials. In Nigeria, most elected political office holders get themselves elected by fiat and not by the people or electorate who are the real electors of public office holders. In this kind of situation, such ‘elected’ officials hold allegiance to themselves and not the people.
It is this type of scenario that creates monsters political office holders that looked down with contempt on the people, tell barefaced lies and conduct themselves like emperors who has conquered a territory and the subjects becomes mere slaves who must pay homage to their lords. They come up will all manners of legislature to protect their collective interest and hold on power.
At the top, they are all friends and there are no party lines or divides but common interest. But at the bottom the masses kill themselves for nothing believing that there exist an ideological difference between party lines but none exist. Retaining power at all cost is what exists, and it is a collective goal.
ADDRESSING THE PRETENDER NATION: CONSTITUTION – GOD’S OF NATION
THE DEFECTIVE NIGERIA 1999 CONSTITUTION
The current Nigeria constitution, the operator of this present democratic setting is primarily defective on two points and two points alone.
POINT ONE: The preamble of the constitution that reads “We the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria: having firmly and solemnly resolved: to live in unity and harmony as one indivisible and indissoluble Sovereign Nation under God dedicated to the promotion of inter-African solidarity, world peace, internal co-operation and understanding. And to provide for a constitution for the purpose of promoting the good government and welfare of all persons in our country on the principles of Freedom, Equality and Justice, and for the purpose of consolidating the unity of our people” do hereby make, enact and give to ourselves the following constitution”.
QUESTIONS: Who are the “WE THE PEOPLE OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA” that was referred to in the above preamble? At what time did the various ethnic nationalities, the students, the markets women and men, artisans, traditional rulers, civil or public servants, infant voted even in a referendum on the so called 1990 constitution?
That constitution remain at best the academic work of the then Military establishment with the aim of perpetuating itself in power whether in uniform or out of uniform, Hence the voluminous nature of the constitution. It’s never the people’s constitution and never will.
POINT TWO: The name of the constitution is “CONSTITUTION OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA 1999”
QUESTIONS: Is Nigeria a Federal republic? The question is important because we cannot be operating a quasi-federal structure while we ignorantly or wickedly proclaim same to be a federation. In short, one begin to wonder if certain Western nations are not secretly laughing Nigeria for her lack of focus, sincerity and purpose driven political machinery. A federation is a collection of small states or nations into a bigger nation. If a nation is federating the components nations bring a proportion of their revenue in form of tax to the center. Thus, the center depends on the federating units for its survival and its ability to function. In turn the federating states surrender their external defense, foreign trade, international politics and policies and any other issue to the center to handle for the collective benefit of the federation. Is this what Nigeria operates?
It was America that gave the world a new political system known as a federation. It is not as if the concept was new but it was the United States of America (USA) that gave life to that concept and used it to build a strong nation, an empire whose dominance is still prevalent till date. The United States harnessed their differences, their weakness and point of conflicts into a synergy that brought them from the verge of collapse to the pinnacle of power and might. They met, they discussed, they compromised on issues and they evolved a system that will benefit them not considering the rest of the world.
No nation has ever been given birth to without being homogenous. A nation therefore is the collection of homogenous people; a people that have similar traditions and or cultural history and linage, a people of similar race. Race is the most profound identity of homogeneity of nations. Hence let us (Nigerians) not be fooled that nations are not formed or created on the basis of ethnicity. The European power are all people of different ethnic nationalities, hence France are French men and women, Britain are Britons, Portugal are Portuguese and they all speak their various languages.
The settlers in the new world, America are mostly from Britain, some came to the new world to escape debt burden, some in order for them to pay back debt, others to start a new life yet others to worship God in serenity. Out of this collection of people there were still differences and these differences must be accepted for a strong nation to be born.
Nigeria is an amalgamation of several nations or ethnic speaking nationalities. This is our differences that all must accept. Wole Soyinka is first a Yoruba man, before he is a Nigerian. Alex Ekweme is an Ibo man before he is a Nigerian. Maitama Sule is an Hausa man before he is a Nigerian, and what of my humble self? I am an Urhobo man before I am a Nigerian.
This is our reality, let’s accept it and find a way to harness this differences to create a strong, purpose driven nation. In the process, Nigeria would give birth to a unique political structure that other nations will copy. This is how empires are created. Empires are created from the need to build stronger societies, where liberty and freedom and rights of all and sundry are guarantee.
If the pretender status of the Nigeria nation is jettison for an all purposeful congress of the various ethnic groups for the purpose of forming a more perfect union, knowing that compromise is the watch word, Nigeria will rule the world.
CREATING A NATION FROM THE ASHES OF A PRETENDER NATION
My recommendation is that Nigeria point of conflict, her major sources of conflict is ethnicity. We should note that if not carefully x-rayed one will jump to a hasty conclusion that it is religion, no, far from it. The religious camouflage is carefully wrapped in ethnicity otherwise are there no Muslims in the South-West? How many times have you seen them engaged in religious war? It is because in the core north their fight are mainly transfer – transferred from the Imams during the Fridays services to the commoners who as talakawas must obey their master. Thus it is the masters in the north that uses religion as a front to cause chaos meanwhile the true motive or reason is because their opponent is an Ibo man, Urhobo or Efik man.
In other to create a new nation devoid of this present pretender nation, the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the following order or steps to be followed are hereby recommended.
CALL FOR A CONGRESS OF ALL ETHNIC NATIONALITY FOR A NATIONAL DIALOGUE
In this congress or conference all ethnic nationality in Nigeria will be fully represented by two or three delegates. The purpose of the congress is to discuss the basis of out union and the drafting of a truly people’s constitution. Also, to be dialogued in this constitution drafting congress is the basis of states demarcation. Homogenous ethnic groups can be a state if they all accept while taking such factors as ability to raise fund, to carter for themselves based on their resources. Big ethnic groups can also be shared into various states as it is obtainable today but the point of divergent is the acceptance of these states by all and sundry without intimidation or show of might by one ethnic group over the other.
It will be made known that all ethnic representation are co-equal for they are the various states that are creating the new nation. This will bring a sense of freedom, a sense of true liberty to the various people (ethnic), nationalities participating in the congress.
COMPROMISE: The use of compromise as a tool of dialoguing and negotiating is vital for the success of this national dialogue and constitution drafting. In all cases where there are knotty issues between the ethnic nationalities the use of compromise shall be effected to get the congress moving forward. This tool is vital and critical to the success of this re-birth of a nation.
STATES TO BE CREATED AMONG SIMILAR HOMOGENOUS ETHNIC GROUPS
In present day Nigeria we have large ethnic groups and small ethnic groups. In the present Edo state, we have the Binis and the Ishan speaking people. Their tradition while disregarding little variations are similar and they are almost homogenous, thus they can be grouped as a state. This is so because due consideration will be given to the ability of these states to stand on their own before feeding the Central government since in this new arrangement the Central government does not have an independent source of revenue but depend on the taxes from the states.
A large ethnic group like the Ibos cannot be one state for convenience of leadership. They will decide on the number of states that can be divided from them while still considering their ability to stand on their won. Ability of states to stand on their own depends mainly on natural and human resources. For instance, a state carved out that include Onitsha and Nnewi can survived on both Commerce and technology. A state that includes Jos and Bauchi will also survive because they have solid mineral which is a case of natural resources.
These are some of the areas that will therefore form the critical yardsticks for states within a homogenous ethnic nationality.
STATES TO HARNESS ALL RESOURCES IN THEIR TERRITORIES
Under this new arrangement, Nigeria states like what is obtained in other federating nations of the world, will solely tap the resources within its territories and remit revenue in form of tax to the federal government.
There will be no restrictions to the form of resources, all resources, both natural and physical first belongs to the states before it belongs to the Nigeria state.
STATES TO REMIT A CERTAIN PERCENTAGE OF TOTAL REVENUE TO THE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT
As discussed in the preceding pages, states will have to remit a predetermine percentage of their total revenue or GDP in form of taxes to the Central government. Of course this percentage will be uniform across all states, thus it is not depended on volume or value of revenue or GDP.
A NEW NAME TO BE GIVEN TO THE NEW NATION E.G. UNITED REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA (URN)
Since this is a new start, the birth of a new nation from the debris of a rotten Nigeria, it is important that a new name, a new and different nomenclature be imputed for this nation to signify the new concept and ideology of its birth. Thus for this purpose, I suggest United Republic of Nigeria (URN). The republics are the federating states.
THE CONSTITUTION THAT WILL HERALD ALL THIS CHANGES WILL BE RECTIFIED BY ATLEAST TWO -THIRDS OF THE STATES FOR THE NEW NATION TO BE BORN
There will be a ratification process in all the federating states of the new constitution. The moment two-third of the federating states has ratified the new constitution; a new government will be formed based on party elections. Other states that have not ratified will be allowed to join the new nation once they are through with their ratification process.
The ratification shall be by popular referendum on the acceptance or rejection of the new constitution.
OTHER SOURCES OF FUNDING OF GOVERNMENT
The central government shall be funded aside the statutory percentage (tax) from the several states through its control of inter-states trade and commerce and the regulation of foreign trade by states. For the control and regulation of inter-states trade and commerce, the central government shall impose a certain levy or tax which shall be a percentage of the value of transaction. The same will equally govern transactions in foreign trade.
THE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT SHALL BE IN CHARGE OF NATIONAL SECURITY, FOREIGN RELATIONS AND MANAGEMENT AND CONTROL OF NATURAL DISASTERS.
The security of the nation from external and internal aggression shall be the exclusive preserve of the central government. Thus the military (Army, Airforce, Navy), Customs, prisons (for offenses that are inter states) anti-terrorists organizations, a federal police force and other security organizations that are involved at the federal level shall be under the central government.
In this regard, states shall run their police force and prisons services.
CAPITALISM: THE EMPEROR OF NATIONS
The economic system characterized by private ownership of the means of production is term Capitalism. The capitalist economy is associated with private investors running all economic activities like buying and selling, production and distribution of goods and services with the forces of demand and supply regulating prices. The degree of interference by government in a proposed capitalist economy determines the form or type of capitalism. Thus, in all forms of capitalism there exists a form of government intervention.
In all cases of capitalism, the essential features of capitalism include private capital accumulation, competitive markets and a price system. These three essential features are so vital in exploring the Nigeria situation, thus they shall be fully examine later.
Capitalism overtime saw to the demise of both feudalism and communism as an economic system and like constitutional democracy in the political arena has remained the dominant economic system in the world.
TYPES OF CAPITALISM
There are several variants of capitalism and these varieties arise primarily because of the level or degree of government interference in the practice or running of the concept. Essentially, though in all cases, for capitalism to exist the three features mention earlier must be present; that is private capital accumulation, competitive markets and the existence of a price system. Indirectly there must exist a private ownership of the means of production for profit motive. Some of the most common forms of capitalism are discussed briefly.
According to Wikipedia the free encyclopedia, mercantilism is a nationalist form of early capitalism that came into existence approximately in the 16th century. It combines national interest with business interest and imperialism thus the state advances its national interest by using business as a front. A good example of mercantilism is colonization.
State capitalism consists of state ownership of the means of production. In such an economy private ownership of the means of production is prohibited and the state created state owned enterprises are tasked with running businesses for profit making.
FREE MARKET CAPITALISM
This is an economic system where prices of goods and services are set freely by the joint forces of demand and supply and are allowed to reach their point of equilibrium without government intervention by way of policy thrust. It entails highly competitive markets, profit maximization and of course private ownership of the means of production.
This is a more extensive form of free-market capitalism where the role of government is linked to protecting property rights.
This is a normally free market system where government intervention in price determination is kept to a minimum but the government still provides significant services in the area of social services like social security, unemployment benefits and the recognition of labour rights.
A mixed economy is a market based economy consisting of both private and public ownership of the means of production. The public ownership is geared towards the reduction in unemployment, provision of social goods and the emergence of monopolist.
Corporate capitalism is a free or mixed market economy characterized by the dominance of hierarchical, bureaucratic corporations.
Crony capitalism describes an economy in which business success depends on close relationships between business people and government officials. It may be exhibited by favouritism in the distribution of legal permits, government grants, special tax breaks and or other forms of dirigisme.
Dirigisme is a capitalist tool where government exerts a strong directive influence over investment decisions in an economy. In such cases government might unilaterally set double standard in one industry in order to encourage some set of investors while discouraging another set of investors. It designates a capitalist economy with a strong directive.
Crony capitalism is believed to arise when political cronyism spills over into business world; self serving friendships and family ties between business people and government officials influences the economy to the extent that corruptions sets in.
Portfolio capitalism describes a special and unique form of capitalism that is found in Nigeria and most African countries. To attempt a working definition presents a complicated enterprise as the writer feels it has yet manifested to its fullest form. Portfolio capitalism may be defined briefly as crony capitalism in the absence of free competitive markets, real investment and its multiplier effects on the economy. It describes an economic system