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The need to build institutions

The debate as regards sections 145 of the Nigerian constitution and the summary amendment to it as effect by the senate of the federation even…

The debate as regards sections 145 of the Nigerian constitution and the summary amendment to it as effect by the senate of the federation even though just a step in the process in my view is not the solution to similar crisis if it may have to happen some time to come.

As it is now for instance, section 145 speaks of the need to transmit letter of vacation to either the National Assembly or state Assembly by the president or governor though discretionary wasn’t the issue that was responsible for the Yar’adua Jonathan saga which led to this unpleasant political development where the constitution has rather been rendered incapable through what some people may call parliamentary innovation which confers powers on the vice to act as president, an issue which certainly is in contravention  of the principles of the Nigerian constitution.

At the public hearing organized by the House of Representatives on this particular provision, the Attorney General of Niger State for example came with copies of letters which his governor has signed and transmitted to the Speaker of ten State Assembly anytime he was travelling out of the country no matter the length of time he was staying out.

The requirement per say is not an issue and could be done even if impliedly but the capacity to just that is to a great extent dependent on the communication that exist between the president and his vice as well as between the governor and his deputy.

If the nation’s democratic institutions are deeply rooted and firmly in place, the role that individual political actors would play at any point in time will first be guided by the tradition of these institutions before the role of the individual comes into play. The issue here is that while institutions are primary in propelling any system, the individual actor posses himself more appropriately and functions within the confines of the law and the system to the dictates of viable institutions that are in place.

That is why for instance that George W. Bush, the immediate past president of the United States of America could function for eight good years despite the very low intelligence rating that he has both at home and abroad.

More so, most political systems in the world that lay claim to stability, order and procedure do so on the understanding that viable institutions are in place to guide the mode of behaviors of all actors and citizens. Just as it is even within the literature of human societies, the level of development and civilization of any society is directly proportional to the viability and stability of the various institutions that supports and sustains life in these societies.

Age long civilizations have always prided themselves in the richness of their institutions and how far they have supported life and activity. It is not different with and in politics and governance. What the nation needs to begin to do at this critical threshold in history is pay more attention on how to put in place viable institutions like the press, civil society, the political party and even the family.

As against what we have in Nigeria today, the press is simply a tool in the hands of those who are able to manipulate it at the expense of national growth and development most times. The civil society groups on the other hand though patriotic in most cases have lacked the basic leverage to mobilize the citizenry into proactive postures at times of national emergencies. In some cases, some of these groups are easily snatched by political forces and even people in government who desire to have things done in a certain manner that might not be necessarily in the interest of the people.

A good example of this is that recent fabrication of save Nigeria group led by Wole Soyinka. Even if the motif they had was genuine, the advantage taken and the way it was executed was purely a display of political partisanship at a time when the nation requires genuine solutions to a gargantuan problem.

Where were all these nationalists when in the face of very obvious realities General Obasanjo foisted Umaru Yar’adua on the nation? When we were shouting foul, they all lay ambush and now that Obasanjo’s prophesies are coming to pass, they are helping him get his ambition realized. He has molested the nation just because we said no to his tenure elongation plans and desires.

What the nation needs to do is to ensure that viable institutions are created and nurtured with a view to preventing any particular leader from taking the people for a ride. The philosophy of western liberal democracy is that the peoples’ will must always triumph. It is only when such institutions are rooted that we can talk about democracy.

What the nation needs at this critical moment in history is not sensationalism but realistic attempt at dealing with endemic problems of good governance thorough effective resolution on the need to forge ahead and together too. Without viable institutions in place it will be difficult if not impossible to make any substantial progress in the country.

If we had institutions that are critical and viable the logjam that is being experienced as regards the health of the president wouldn’t have arisen in the first place. The president and the vice would have been the best of pals. They would have gone through normal party rituals and campaigned to their party faithful who would have elected them as flag bearers.

If they had gone round Nigeria and campaigned before they were elected, they would have known the value of their efforts and worth of the people. They didn’t do that but were merely clamped on us by General Obasanjo and now there is wahala and the nation again has caught cold. It is unfortunate.

The political parties must play their role effectively if we are to avoid similar occurrences in the future. The civil society groups must equally stay away from sensation and face issues of national development with the necessary attention it deserves. The press must equally be more patriotic bad national in their approach to issues. Unnecessary sensation and bias reportage must be issues of the past if the nation’s nascent democracy is to see the light of the day.


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