Entries on Politics
In the last edition of this discussion, I made mention that freedom is not free. Yes! Freedom is not free. You have to work hard for it. I remembered President Muhamadu Buhari being quoted to have called Nigerian Youth lazy, well while that is not good of a leader speaking of his followers and that I cannot vividly conclude on his context of saying that. I think he may be right when it comes to the youth asking for what belong to them. When it comes to the Nigeria youth asking for their right, we are so lazy.
December 2017, Amasa Fridaus AbdulSalam, a University of Ilorin law graduate wwas denied access into the hall for herCall to Bar Ceremony, which took place at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, for refusing to remove her hijab; the case that generated lot of controversies within the Nigerian law profession and the general public.
It is in recognition of the above challenge and as an attempt towards its resolution that the publication of Federalism in Historical Perspective by the Historical Society of Nigeria (HSN) represents a timely and appropriate intervention. The book examines the emergence, growth and development of federalism in Nigeria through time, and discusses its many dimensions, problems as well as implications on the development of the country and its peoples. While establishing the pre-colonial antecedence of federalism as a political arrangement in Nigeria, contributors to this important volume attempted to analyze changes, continuities and adjustments during the colonial period and since independence. Some of the challenges underpinning federalism in Nigeria, their roots, basis and manifestations, were also thoroughly examined. The thirteen essays in this volume were selected from papers presented at the 52nd Congress of the HSN hosted by the Department of History, University of Calabar.
The situation of unrest in the country calls for a more concerted effort to restore peace and stability. This can be done from many fronts. Proper to our milieu is education through the print media. To achieve this therefore, the editorial crew of the Aquinas’ Journal chose for 2015 to add more value to the matter with the theme: Violence in the Land and Journey to Peace. With this theme, the Journal identifies Boko Haram, unethical campaign languages, hate speeches sexual violence against women and the violence of Tiv/Fulani as common catalysts to conflict in the land. On a similar note, it offers the opportunity to consider/rethink once again our togetherness as a nation and present unity as an imperative in our sophisticated world. Having done these, alternative means of conflict resolution, reciprocity and Christian religious education are highlighted as the recipes for peaceful coexistence.
The Nigerian Agenda as the new title for this Second Edition of this book is a substitute for the First Edition whose title was Nigeria: The Path to National Rebirth. The new title is purposely chosen in the author’s deep appreciation of Nigeria’s founding fathers’ collective struggle that resulted in independence for the country in October 1960. The fathers of Nigeria’s democracy who built the nation for generations yet to come include the late Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Ahmadu Bello, Obafemi Awolowo, Aminu Kano, Herbert Macaulay Hashim Adaji, Pa Michael Imoudu, Joseph Takaa, Dr Michael Okpara and late Anthony Enahoro. The struggle which continued between 1922 and 1959 brought about the promulgation of series of constitutions to assuage the feelings of the Nigerian political elites.
Book writing is rather a difficult task, this explains why there are very few books on very important issues in Nigeria. It is therefore commendable when the upcoming generation of scholars like Jibrin M. Waziri and Ibrahim M. Bako take it upon themselves to break the Jinx by writig a book on the subject matter of federalism in Nigeria. They depended solely on secondary sources in their analysis thereby making the book a scholarly contribution.
The tortuous experience by Nigerians from poverty in the mist of plenty has become a matter of great concern to some of its leaders, academic theoreticians and pragmatic activists. This concern centres most on the corrupt tendencies of the country’s leaders and the creation of a culture that appears to have instituted this corruptions as a virtue. There have been attempts by previous governments to change this phenomenon which went without any impact since the preachers of such messages practice otherwise. Theories have been propounded and the policies, programmes and projects that have been formulated on the basis of these theories have, not unexpectedly, had notable failings.
It is pertinent for people to know their rights, so that they can actualize their aspirations or dreams. Illiterate citizens always find it difficult to know what to do when their leaders are taking the wrong way. The more literate a society becomes, the wider the knowledge on how the society is governed. Political education and orientation is needed for the state to achieve its dreams. This should be made compulsory in families, schools, churches and the media. Before politics of good governance will be entrenched in the state, there must be unity, i.e. the spirit of oneness. America is the world super power today because it has overcome some of these primordial indices which deter development. There is need to imbibe this culture for the state to develop. No genuine development takes place in an atmosphere of rancor and chaos. Where there is violence, there is no peace and where there is no peace there is no development.
The leadership has, in the last five decades, exploited the patience of Nigerians and violated their integrity with impunity, while the masses have been made to put up with provocative hardship without losing their temper. Nigerians have cause to be angry or even cry for government having little to show for the enormous resources and opportunities offered this country by nature. Even when the abuses continue with little inhibition, Nigerians look forward with hope that the future could be better. The abuses have created heavy moral burden both on the leadership and the masses, creating a bleak future and uncertainties that have brought grief to many. Crazy appetite for power and wealth has led to reckless and violent struggle in the polity to which Nigerians have devoted so much energy and time which could have been gainfully deployed in more beneficial projects. The missed opportunities and headache of the over 30 years of military dictatorship with its distractions served as a journey with no clear destination. The distractions, irritations, frustrations and fears have led to fading hope and failed expectations. These have led to unwelcome reversals in the nation’s fortune. That notwithstanding, the less privileged Nigerians.
The book which is about the origin, theory and practice of Federalism in Nigeria examines the travails and prospects of application of the Federal system of government in the most populous country in the African Continent. The authors argued that the option of federalism is undoubtedly the best option in Nigeria by which too many of the ethnic expressions and identities can be successfully managed. However, they have demonstrated that despite its viability, the application of the federal system of government in Nigeria has met several challenges, ranging from constitutional crises, and the war, too many military interventions/engagements in the nations’ body politic, ethnic nationalism etc. The authors have further shown that at the moment, the prospect of the Nigerian Federalism appear rather bleak and wondered if the system worked well in some other countries why can’t it work in Nigeria? The book is presented in eight chapters: Chapter one deals with Conceptual and Theoretical Issues in which the concept of Power and Federalism is clarified. Chapter two deals with the antecedents and origin of Federalism in Nigeria. Chapter three is concerned with the emergence of political structures along the ancient problem of multi-ethnic and religious identities in Nigeria. The idea of the chapter is to underscore the necessity for federalism in a country with too many nationalities. Chapter four which is a follow upof the previous issues deals with the problem of ethnic minorities in historical perspective. Chapter five is on Federalism under crises in Nigeria. Chapter six examines the shuttle between the successive military and civilian regimes in Nigeria since 1960. Chapter seven is on the controversial issue of Resource Allocation in Nigeria since 1960 to date, while chapter eight examines the prospects of Federalism in the present century. From the foregoing, it is evident that the authors have succeeded in clarifying the basic issues of Federalism in Nigeria.
In this book: Nigerian Politics, Economy and Society Commentaries and Public Lectures on Selected Themes, 2007-2012, Chief Dr Terkura Suswam has brought his sterling intellectual prowess to bear on the interpretation of the attitude of Nigerian political actors and the forces that intertwine politics and economy in Nigerian society. In the political realm, the author trenchantly exposes the irrationality in the character of some Nigerian politicians with moving illustrations in an attempt to show how this has served as a major drawback to popular development in the country. With adequate attention to the existence of positive political forces in Nigeria, the author presents the Nigerian society in the light of a theatre that houses both the positive and negative forces. From an informed standpoint, the author forcefully expresses his optimism in the eventual victory of the positive forces over the negative forces. At the micro level of analysis, the author laments the various political infelicities that have trailed the conscious efforts towards growth and development in Tivland and Benue State since 1976 with special emphasis on the period between 2007 and 2012. His allusion to the fact that Benue State has gallantly overcome some basic political challenges to attain new levels of growth and development in various sectors, especially between 2007 and 2012, is quite assertive and instructive. As much as the issues generated in the book are purely the creative opinion and the intellectual position of the author, it is logical to submit that the utility value of the book resides in its capacity to provoke development thoughts and engender new approaches to the attainment of collective greatness in all human societies.
Recovery (MAMSER) and later, the National Orientation Agency (NOA) was geared towards the reorientation of Nigerians’ psyche on the cultivation of the virtue of decency and economic recovery, and while General Abdulsalam Abubakar was applauded as the harbinger of the May 29, 1999 nascent democracy when he willingly handed over the government to an elected civilian administration. President Olusegun Obasanjo, in his undaunted desire to move Nigeria ahead from her doldrums in the comity of nations from May 29, 1999, initiated many vibrant programmes. Amongst such remarkable schedules were the promulgation into law of the Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Act 2000, introduction of consensus politicsunlikeinthepastwhenthewinnertookall. Thiswasevident in the Federal Executive Council membership which composed representatives of the Alliance for Democracy (AD), the All Nigerian People’s Party (ANPP) and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). President Obasanjo’s latest appeal and which has captured the admiration of most patriotic Nigerians is his “Declaration of Human Rights and Responsibilities to one’s self, one’s family, neighbours, community and to the state” at the formal launching of the campaign on National Rebirth in Abuja on September 10, 1999. Nigeria: The Path to National Rebirth is my widow’s mite in the nation’s bid to enhance its citizens’ awareness on the need to abhor all vices and adore virtues. I vehemently pray that Almighty God would make this book arouse the desired positive impacts on its readers so that we will patriotically develop Nigeria to the liking of all lovers of good things. If citizens of other countries have done so, why can’t Nigerians facilitate fast understanding and development?