By Rotimi Oketade Esq.
Ideally, Constitutional democracy is about adequate representation, rule of law, free enterprise, social justice and governance nurtured with good conscience. However, in Nigeria, our template is diametrically opposed to standard norms and common sense.
We are in conundrums. This is because in this clime, we do things specially for different reasons. For instance, the gruesome killings of innocent Nigerians from North to South is caused by obscene, primitive and primordial acquisition of wealth, flagrant display of opulence in the vast ocean of poverty ravaging our compatriots, coupled with the nonchalant attitudes and petulant lies of our leaders across board. The politics of bitterness being played by political practitioners with massive looting of our common wealth is equally a cause for trepidation of what the country becomes eventually.
Also worrisome is the cold silence of leaders of thought and religious leaders from Niger Delta to the North and Southern part of the country on the mind-boggling malfeasance being perpetrated in all departments of the nation.
For decades, we have operated our system with confusions and convulsions.
Confusion, because we lack priorities, talk less of road maps. In fact, we are only good at talking. We don’t interrogate the past; every time, it’s business as usual.
The various departments of state failed because of the absence of blue-print, coordinated and effective leadership.
By our standard, everything is politically expedient. Politics is the parameters for measuring everything. Hence, critical appointments are trivialized based on politics, rather than serious evaluation of the merit, credit and moral content of the individuals. Quota system and federal character was, and still is, a subterfuge tools to promote corruption, inefficiency, clannishness, nepotism, and fiefdoms.
This double-edged sword has outlived its usefulness.
We need to rejuvenate our system, recalibrate, and reconfigure same to be in consonant with the realities of our time.
Convulsions in the system, because of the absence of virile and vibrant leadership with firm grip of the levers of government and its control mechanism.
Departments that are meant to synergise, work at cross purposes. There is duplication of efforts and offices, thereby occasioning financial haemorrhage at the expense of the state.
We invested heavily where we are sure, there will be no returns.
A critical example is the huge resources we deploy for political electioneering, either by the state, or by the political practitioners.
In Nigeria, it is more rewarding to be in politics with its shenanigans, than being an educationist or scientist, assigned a post by research in science and technology.
Hooliganism and crass opportunism are rewarded, rather than industry and discoveries in science and technology, pharmaceuticals and pharmacologicals.
It is a shame that our capital outlay on education is far less than the required funds. This lackadaisical and nonchalant attitudes relegated our universities and colleges of technologies to the background. The paucity of funds occasioned constant strikes and absence of meaningful calendar and curriculum.
Our universities that were in the 70s and 80s, pace-setters, are now glorified secondary schools.
It is equally worse in other sectors of the economy; from moribund health system to failed security designs, obsolete Agriculture policies, chaotic transport system and epileptic power supply.
The integrated failure of our systems is direct consequence of our woeful past behaviours that promotes mediocrity over and above meritocracy.
It is more auspicious now to reset our ways comprehensively for effective and balanced educational system that gives education the gold standard it requires. Other time-bound deliveries should be coordinated and integrated health system that will give priorities to research and development of drugs, allied pharmacologicals, pharmacognosis and medical equipment. Others are: viable and virile power mix that will birth industries and industrial estates, robust transport sector that takes cognisance of modern intermodal, balanced and seamless transport system with adequate calendar and time-table.
Finally, there is a need for strict adherence to the Constitutional provisions and allied laws of the land and not cherry picking, balance appointments to eliminate clannishness and nepotism, rebuilding of trust and viable social contracts between the government and the governed, efficient and effective security architecture that is apolitical and global in deliveries. We must collapse ethnicitism and religious bigotry, no hegemony of one tribe over the other. In fact, we must reset our system for maximum benefits and the greater good of all of us. We must operate true federalism with devolution of powers from the centre to the sub-national. There must be virile and robust local governments, rule of law as against rule of men; efficient tax system to curb leakages and wastage. We need small and smart MDAs for maximum deliveries as against the present mode that is a huge fraud.
Democracy and democratic tenets must be the assured template for the political practitioners. Otherwise, we are close to the precipice than we can imagine. Enough of these blood baths, vicious capitalism, kidnapping and terrorism. The time to reset is now, as postponement will be disastrous.
Rotimi Oketade, Esq is a Corporate and Commercial legal practitioner based in Abuja, Nigeria.