The proponents of democratic system of governance are proud exhibitors of the positive fruits it bestows on a society that is founded by genuine statesmen of supreme pedigree.
The flimsiness of the positivity notwithstanding, they relish every opportunity to flaunt them and “rub muds” on the subdued faces of “undemocratic citizens.” The adherence to the rule of law and due process are the essential components of the cementing mechanism that solidifies the foundation of a nation with great democratic ethos. In such climes, institutional frameworks are meticulously carved to ensure non-variation of the essential laws that border on human and administrative justice to the disadvantage of the ordinary citizens. Unfortunately for Nigeria, what we have witnessed under the current dispensation is a conglomeration of individuals with extreme dictatorial dispositions masquerading as democrats.
Impunity has consolidated its hold on the psyche of our nation and this is mainly attributable to the dislocation of the core values that are centripetally needed for mutual coexistence. We have instead encouraged the centrifugation of our diverse tribal and creed orientations. It will be naïve to assume that the problems facing Nigeria will be resolved by the replacement of an “incompetent” People’s Democratic Party (PDP) with another political party at the center. The cabalistic nature of our politics does not in any way give credence to those who belief that PDP is our problem. Our problem is the political class that is peopled by personalities who neither thrived in their personal businesses or professional callings prior to their assumption of political power. To them, dwelling in impunity in guise of constitutionality is their crude way of hiding their inadequacies and shameless looting of the exchequer.
The major contributor to unending insecurity in the land is lack of political will to bring perpetrators of ignoble acts to justice. The gerrymandering associated with fruitless setting up of countless but obtuse panels without even a half livered plan to implement their findings is the apogee of official fraud designed to hoodwink the entire citizenry. Jos could have been avoided had the promoters of genocide and ethnic cleansing been brought to book a long time ago. The lack of political will to thoroughly prosecute the criminals and their henchmen has opened a new vista of impunity for aspiring blood suckers. The condemnation of past killings and the immediate murder of a distinguished senator of the republic was an exercise aimed at keying into the political correctness of the situation. Our officials are fully aware of what the issues are and they should address them instead of shedding crocodile tears for the demise of a member of the ruling class.
The problem is the paradoxical classification of fellow Nigerians as settlers and others as indigenes in their fatherland. It is not only an abridgement of the human rights of the so called “settlers” but a challenge to the constitution of the federal republic. Every Nigerian living everywhere within the nation’s geographical entity is constitutionally empowered to enjoy similar rights with the original inhabitants of such lands prior to their settlement. It is hypocritical praising Americans for voting President Barack Obama as president while at the same time preventing your fellow countrymen from enjoying unbridled rights in the name of archaic agitations for ownership of land. However, it takes two to tango at all times. How many of the Fulani agitators will allow the so called “settler” communities in their midst to exercise the manner of freedom they are seeking in Jos? How many of those supporting the eviction of “settlers” will wish same for their fellow tribesmen? It is based on the above scenarios that I entrenched my view that only a constitutional instrument is capable of finding a final resolution to the endless retaliatory killings that both sides are committing.
It is unimaginable that the presidential committee on the review of relevant sections of the 1999 constitution remained at best mute on the issue of abolition of state of origin and replacement of same with state of residence. One bitter truth is that most states and zones who demand fiscal federalism and anchor such demands on the best practice of federalism as a form of government will oppose the expunging of state of origin from the constitution which is also an important ingredient of a federal state. The bottom line is that every section of the country must through their elected national assembly members be ready to accommodate every dictate of a federal state irrespective of their parochial interests. This is one of the means to get to the end of exorcising impunity from our polity.
Most Nigerians have been brainwashed by Sovereign National Conference promoters that its convocation shall be the panacea to our national woes. These SNC agitating individuals have failed to answer the simple question on how to persuade the present holders of our sovereignty to abdicate their responsibilities. Their logic that members of the national assembly were elected in a dubious poll is neither here nor there. Will they raise another electoral body to conduct polls that will meet acceptable standards? Will it not serve the interest of all if the SNC contingent mobilizes the civil society to ensure political accountability through free and fair elections in 2015? They can then ensure that “selfless” Nigerians are elected to prosecute the agenda the SNC is designed to resolve. Failure to follow constitutional provisions in demanding for SNC is tantamount to indulging in impunity which is tearing apart the fabrics of our governance presently.
Though executive and legislative impunities did not start today, it has however been elevated to a pedestal that apparently dwarfs constitutionality. Quite a number of examples abound. The implementation of a retroactive law passed by the Action group dominated Western Nigeria parliament in the 50s to stop a legitimate chosen Oba by the Ibadan kingmakers was whimsical and a clear example of administrative impunity. How many Nigerians are aware that prior to the well-publicized “Ghana Must Go” slogan of the Shagari’s regime, a certain Kofi Abrefi Busia, the then Prime Minister of Ghana had implemented a “Nigeria Must Go” exercise geared towards deporting Nigerians who constituted about 20% of the country’s population at the time? The impunity was masked in a fraudulent “Aliens Compliance Order of 1969.
In our recent history, the "Shugaba Abdurrahman Darman's Deportation Order 1980" was an exercise in unimaginable impunity. President Shagari signed the order and Alhaji maitama Bello, the then Minister of Internal Affairs was the executing officer. Shugaba, a close ally of Ahmadu Bello and Majority Leader of Borno State House of Assembly was deported to a Chadian village in 1980 because he was a backbone of the Great Nigerian Peoples party (GNPP). Noteworthy is the fact that Shugaba challenged his deportation order and won from the high court to the Supreme Court. Yet, the reckless men of yesterday are today’s statesmen.
President Obasanjo’s disregard for the constitution was legendary and he set the standard for the 4th republic politicians to follow. His unconstitutional creation of the illegal Excess Crude Account, the unilateral re-imposition of the abrogated onshore/onshore dichotomy and his fruitless exercise to sack Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, a legitimately elected second citizen of the republic were the high points of his indulgence in impunity.
The Jonathan’s administration has not removed its foot from the impunity accelerator. Justice Ayo Salami is languishing in the wilderness despite the decision of the National Judicial Council to reinstate him. A certain Arunma Oteh has been returned to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in a destructive move that will haunt our corporate governance in years to come. I am still wondering how she will discharge her duties in company of tens of police escorts and protection. The disheartening thing is that so many state governors are following the footsteps of Abuja in this impunity crave. Whither the patriots?