(By Eugene Uwalaka)
“Again, if every Nigerian is an indigene wherever he or she resides then policing freedom and liberty will no longer pose problems of tribalism, corruption and discrimination in a permissive and crimogenic society. Every police force in whatever geopolitical zone or location will be open to all Nigerians. By making the Nigerian an indigene wherever he resides, our institutions at whatever location will become federalised by virtue of the unwitting application of the federal character principle inherent in the maxim of indigeneship of every Nigerian howbeit properly trained for the purpose“.
THE conference was simply a national conference as this writer had proposed over the years. Yet its members could not take the toxins out of their conversations. The participants comprising patriots and statesmen pose the same questions this author asked in the book Ethics of Political Leadership. The question is: Why do our so-called leaders vegetate and brood over evil times, evil people and evil circumstances without realising that we have diverse options from which we can choose to create the circumstances we want? God has given this nation the ability to make a positive change. But this requires both attitudinal and value engineering.
This writer was shocked by the toxic vocabulary of our leaders at the conference. I was amazed and dazed by the fuming and fulmination of the North and governors like the impeached Governor Nyako. This erstwhile governor of Adamawa State had threatened war and secession without telling the nation when the war would start. This writer was then tempted to talk back in the war time dictum of Octavius Caesar when he says, ‘If arguing makes us sweat the proof of which shall turn to redder drops.’ I dare say extremism and terrorism may hurt but will not prevail against us.
Most conference participants lacked transformation vocabulary. They prefer to hold themselves out as midgets and small players to please those that spoil the vine, their ethnic nationalities. These ethnic chieftains failed to realise that we must not allow our little ways of thinking and interpreting events to deceive, misguide and mislead us. We are too great to allow ourselves to be constrained by small dreams. Any dream less than the great Nigerian dream is uninstructive and unacceptable.
The small minds in our midst should realise that alone we can do little. But when banded and braided together (in 54 states) we can do much. By and large the national conference has done Nigeria proud. Nigerians are proud of justice Kutigi, Dr Akinyemi, all conference participants and above all President Goodluck Jonathan that inaugurated the conference. These men and women have unwittingly left indelible footprints on the sands of time. President Jonathan has for the umpteenth time refused to be unlucky. He has proved his importunate detractors wrong. He has showed these unsympathetic critics that he is not only clear and far sighted but also has uncluttered vision of the type of nation he wants.
Thank the Lord that in spite of the hypochondria of the cynics, the conference is a resounding success. The confab has come up with Sowell Harris’s beautiful transformational vocabulary positing that none of us is as good as all of us.
In addressing the problem of creation of more states, the conference mooted an equalisation scheme. It tactically affirmed and recognised the six geopolitical zones. It fashioned out nine states for each of the extant six geopolitical zones. Having equalised the states in each zone, no zones will plead the unhealthy alibi of marginalisation any longer. Nine times six will give 54, the number of states the conference proposed. Like a stack of brooms, a chord braided 54 times is not easily broken. It takes eggheads like Justice Kutigi and Dr Akinyemi to come up with this curious rendering that the only way to keep Nigeria one is by disempowering and disuniting the worrisome and irksome ethnic nationalities by breaking them into smaller ethnic fragments. Therefore, the confab has masterfully and purposefully multiplied our differences by further dividing the nation in order to unite us.
Aside the vexatious ethnic factor, the creation of more states should neither divide nor disunite us. The creation of more states should be seen as a strategic scheme for the devolution of monetary, fiscal, administrative and other bureaucratic powers to the states. It is not intended to divide and disunite the ethnic nationalities either psychologically or psychogenically. Nigeria is one, it is not divided. This maxim may sound like a pun or play on words in the face of stack realities of bigotry, tribalism and sectarianism.
To make this maxim an achievable reality, it is hoped the conference has re-emphasised in stentorian voices that a Nigerian is an indigene wherever he chooses to reside in Nigeria. This declaration should be nuanced, spiced and interspersed with such affirmative statements as – Your place of birth is a mere geographical or location imperative. A Nigerian must be born somewhere inside or outside Nigeria or his state of origin. Yet he is an indigene wherever he resides without limitation of time and space. The Nigerian cannot be constrained, restricted or discriminated against in any way on grounds of indigeneship. The Nigerian can contest elections at federal, state and local government levels anywhere he/she resides. The Nigerian can be gainfully employed in state/ local government bureaucracies because he/she is an indigene wherever he/she resides.
For instance, the salutary and transformational nature of the maxim that a Nigerian is an indigene wherever he resides within Nigeria de-emphasises the principle of derivation, population, equity and other allocation parameters for devolving powers to states and local governments. This is because the Nigerian will no longer be discriminated against wherever he or she resides. This maxim when pervasively applied will enable the nation to achieve its objectives under the federal character principle. If the Nigerian is an indigene wherever he or she resides, the Nigerian would be found in the employment of all governments.
Again, if every Nigerian is an indigene wherever he or she resides then policing freedom and liberty will no longer pose problems of tribalism, corruption and discrimination in a permissive and crimogenic society. Every police force in whatever geopolitical zone or location will be open to all Nigerians. By making the Nigerian an indigene wherever he resides, our institutions at whatever location will become federalised by virtue of the unwitting application of the federal character principle inherent in the maxim of indigeneship of every Nigerian howbeit properly trained for the purpose. Training here is supposedly defined in the generic sense to include training the heart, the head and the hand. Those who police freedom and liberty, law and order, should be adequately schooled and spiritually trained in moral philosophy, criminal justice and administration.
The extant police constabulary has outlived its usefulness. It should be deconstructed and its obsolete manpower phased out. Minimum academic specification should be made for the new democratic police constabulary (DPC) this writer has in mind. Zonal arrangements should be made at state level to complement federal arrangements to provide training infrastructure. There should be healthy infrastructure manpower exchanges amongst levels of government. For now, there should be synergy producing tactics and strategies in the provision of tutorial materials, tutorial masters, forensic experts, analysts and graphologists. Other state and local community bureaucracies should be deconstructed and reconstructed along the lines of the maxim that a Nigerian is an indigene wherever he chooses to live.
State and community governments should recruit, select, place and reward non-indigenes in their enterprises and bureaucracies. This will obviate fiscal responsibility, ensure probity and good order by checkmating related party transactions and collusion contrived by same – language same sect bureaucrats. A climate of internal check and control is unwittingly built into the bureaucratic system where disparate and unrelated parties are members of a large population or population sample. Like the police, the judiciary stinks with corruption and indiscipline. The corruption in the judiciary constrains one to pose the same questions Chaucer asked in his Pardoner’s Tale: ‘‘If gold ruts what then will iron do?’’ State/local government judiciary should discountenance tribe and indigene ship. The judiciary should simply recruit the best minds wherever they may be found. It is better to recruit great minds from as many differential tribes and religions as possible.
Again, electoral scenarios of 2015 have been forecast by the prevailing electoral climate in Ekiti and Osun. This climate is characterised by justice, peace and love. Dr. Fayemi deserves national honour for earning himself the name of a patriot and statesman who evinced calmness and candor when he lost gallantly to governor Fayose. The Jonathanian attitudinal change and value engineering have already begun to yield anticipated dividends of democracy before 2015. Dr. Omisore, too, fought and lost gallantly. He was calm and unruffled by the news of his electoral misfortune and defeat at the just concluded Osun 2014 governorship election. He who fights and runs away lives to fight another day, the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe often said. This verdict is anchored on healthy psychological indices gleaned from voting in both Ekiti and Osun.
Well done conference members!! All is well that ends well!!
• Uwalaka is the author of the Ethics of Political Leadership.
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