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Governance in Nigeria: A Social Science Review


By: Professor Dr. Emmanuel Omoh Esiemokhai  
 Published Published February 28th, 2012

Futuristic promises of Nirvana in Nigeria have been the historical, political practices among Nigerian rulers. Because the people are complacent, trusting and full of prayerful hope, they have failed to hold their elected leaders to account.

Since 1960, more or less, Nigeria has remained a neo-colonial state, which has largely retained its neo-colonial credentials. Its societal structures, especially its economic system, its judiciary and its civil service have dutifully remained faithful to their colonial heritage.

A social science review of the Nigerian state shows that Nigerian antithetical forces have jolted the Federal Republic from 1966 to present day. There have been rely-race military governments, the Biafra challenge to Federal might, the Maitatsine uprising, NADECO, MEND, the culture of poor leadership and now Boko Haram. We must find out the remote and immediate reasons for their discontent and resolve all outstanding issues in a national conference.

The Nigerian people, the Nigerian elite and the Nigerian state must reconcile their differences. Consent and harmony, not supremest posturing are the requirements for cordiality, peace and progress.

The revolutionary radicalism of Nigeria’s social classes has not found an appropriate leadership in the form of a political party. Since Imoudu led the 1945 labour strike, which impacted on the colonial government, other bread and butter labour demonstrations have not crystallized into movements for social change.

Lenin addressed the issues of spontaneity and consciousness in his theory of the party. For a political party to form a government and succeed, it must ensure the intellectual and moral superiority of its leadership. In the PDP, the vanguard role of its leadership is missing and this calls for remedy.

The trend has been that quasi democratic procedures have prevailed over proletarian struggles for change. This has enabled the Nigerian ruling class to regain authority, each time it has been rattled.

Our social history is yet to reach the point of “inevitability’ that can cause the revolution for social change to take place successfully. If the envisaged transformation can happen, it could prepare the stage for social change, but is there hope?

“The driving force of social change is struggle and the determining factor in the last resort is power.”In Nigeria, the struggle has been between nations instead of between social classes. This is why it is very difficult to bring about social change and revolution in Nigeria.

That which will bring about social change in any neo-colonial state, is fragmentation, lack of effective governance and ethnic divisiveness

The power of the legislature to pass laws that can impact on social change seems remote because of the class interests of the law-makers, who are beneficiaries of the status quo.

They understand political democracy, in terms of democracy dividends, high salaries and bloated allowances that tend to leave little for development. When we earmark over Four Trillion Naira for the Legislature, which neither sows nor reaps, we must go a borrowing.

We could reduce this burden by paying only sitting allowances to patriots in the National Assembly, who really want to serve the country. The over bloated Executive branch can also take a “hair cut”.

If we increase agricultural production, engage in the manufacturing of basic commodities, which we now import, one does not need millions of Naira to sustain a healthy living.

We tend to ignore causes of crises, until they get out of hand. Then, under panic, we take measures that only aggravate the situation.

We must not wait for political mal-contents to seek appeasement before, we react to their protestations.

Nigerian journalists of the patriotic genre have written extensively about the need for leaders to honour their campaign promises to no avail. The leaders are emboldened because they know for sure that they can and have gotten away with many unsavoury things and perhaps, will continue to do so.

This was perhaps, why Nicolo Machiavelli observed that princes are not obliged to explain their actions and because “the people are simple-minded and trusting, any one, who wants to deceive, will always find people to deceive”.

I applaud President Jonathan’s decision to remove from office, those political opportunists, who are diverting the state’s attention by preaching prophetic gospels about 2915. I hope that he will have the guts to do what he has decided to do.

The whole exercise is diversionary and it erodes the people’s confidence and stultifies hope in the transformation agenda of the government.

2015 campaigners are hanging like icy stalagmites, waiting to thaw in 2015. They represent ineptness, which they are hiding in the bowls of time.

They are rank opportunists, who have nothing to offer the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which does not owe dead woods any patrimony. One can discern that these futuristic musings are full of empty sloganeering, incompetence of opinion, bombastic expressions of a future they do not have control over.

They seem disappointed with their present positions, which is why they are strategizing to catch the wind in 2015.Paying lip service to the transformation agenda, which they have done very little to advance is shameful and fraudulent.

We should review the negative policy whereby people are made ministers just because a state governor had sent his or her name to the President in keeping with party directives. Since the cadre of favoured appointees fall short of the competence and imaginative breath evinced in running a complex confederacy, new ideas should be evolved to improve the dire situation.

Since the President holds the aces, he will be held accountable for the ministerial appointments he makes. He cannot convince anyone why he allowed an incompetent officer or one that does as he pleases to remain in office.

Executive power, in matters concerning the survival of the Republic, must be wielded fairly, firmly and justly. To treat aberrant behaviour with levity or soft consideration, will breed contempt and creates a bad precedent for others to emulate.The 2015 campaigners are political under-achievers, who have abandoned their responsibilities in futuristic, clairvoyant pursuits.

The problems of social injustice and poor social conditioning, which are crying for sensible resolutions, cannot be postponed to any future date. Regular reference of societal problems to a future date is an escapist strategy, which strongly indicts those responsible to the people as artful dodgers and incompetent operators.

Opportunism dominates Nigeria’s political culture. Experience has shown that people can get appointed into high political office, but that does not guarantee unblemished performance. So, the polity suffers.

The people have been promised times without number that progress was at the door, only to be disappointed .Long before the 2012 budget was tabled before the National Assembly; informed opinion canvassed remedial action, adjustments and corrections.

Those, who speak in the language of privileged government raised charges of treason against dissenters. They raised the level of rhetoric to dangerous levels.

The unrelenting and persuasive arguments of learned opinion forced government to do a re-think of the budget, setting the benchmark of oil at 90 dollars.

I wish that government officials would apply modesty in their advice to government and they should not give dogma, a name, which it does not deserve.

Wrong pieces of advice to governments have been responsible for some crisis which we have lived through.

It was reported that the Federal Government intends to raise substantial funds from the Republic of China. Communists to the rescue! If the Chinese have been conducting their state affairs, the way we have been doing, they would not have had loans for us. China became independent in 1949 and we became independent in 1960. See how far they have progressed and how backward, we have remained.

Some years back, I wrote an article entitled,” China: The Giant of the 21st Century.”In yet another piece, I disputed with Western pundits, who had said that because of the Soviet collapse that Communism had failed. In that article entitled, “Did Communism Really Fail?”, I argued that the Chinese communist system with Chinese specifics has proved the potency of socialist societal organization, which was vehemently criticized by some writers, the 1960s.

Those disputed ideas on social change, which found profound expressions in Hegel’s social theory, Karl Marx’s dialectic materialism, Engel’s dialectics, Lenin’s theory on revolutionary change, and Mao Tse Dong’s cultural revolution and my political theology of God’s acceptance in the lives of all nations, have taken center stage in the new world revolution, which is sweeping away the debris of monarchism, feudalism, superstition, ancient regimes and imperialist capitalism.

As the old orders wither away, the attempts to resurrect old theories and societal governance methods, using old formulas are bound to fail. The desperation of major players on the international scene is a result of the fear that their societies will be in danger, as the revolutionary change knocks at their doors.

.Today, all roads lead to the Conquering Dragon state. Chinese intellectuals do not have to engage any more, in futile ideological disputations about its socialist path to societal success. The difference is clear and is becoming clearer every year.

The Doctrine of Socialized Capitalism

The capitalist system has passed through the phases of industrial capitalism, which promoted manufacturing of goods, importation of raw materials and the export trade.This enriched nations that adopted the system of industrial capitalism in Europe and America.

Then came the era of monopoly capitalism, which concentrated wealth in the hands of a minority world-wide. In order to get richer, monopoly capitalism engaged in colonial wars, oppression and suppression of weak nations, and took away war booties. These further enriched Euro-American states.

The era of imperialist capitalism ensured total domination of the economic and political development of weak nations.Some nations that attempted to build their societies according to their philosophical beliefs were attacked.

This resulted in ideological struggles in the Soviet Union, Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam, Chile, Congo, Nicaragua, South Africa etc.These ideological wars were deadly, destructive and resulted in mindless violence. Scars of the ideological wars can be seen in some states till today.

Struggles against ideological impositions still dominate world geo-poltics and organized resistance against imposition form the core of the foreign policies of many states.

As the national political consciousness of nations matured and crystallized, it became difficult, if not impossible, to impose systems of governance on other states.

Today, Brazil, China, Venezuela, Russia, South Africa, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, have adopted the system of socialized capitalism. By this, I mean the liberalization of the economy in such a way that larger economic interest groups can now participate in wealth creation through direct and monitored investments.

The profits that are made, are ploughed back into further growing of the economy or meeting stakeholders expectations. The bulk of the gains is used for social development projects that benefit the majority of citizens, not in greedy and materialistic displays of cars, yachts and jet planes.

The “Occupy Wall Street”, the Arab and European revolutions of the past and present, are pointed at social injustice, inequality, poor governance, monumental corruption by people, who should refrain from acts of mindless misappropriation of national wealth. China deals firmly with officials that are corrupt. That is why they have enough reserves, which many states now line up with begging bowls to borrow from.

There is something, at once shameless in a situation, where a nation allows corrupt practices to cripple its ability to meet its international and domestic obligations.

Yet, it unabashedly goes a borrowing. This naturally affects the national pride of compatriots with a sense of honour and who abhor the politics of deceit.

Studies in Nigerian state organization do not permit hopes that its institutions are resilient enough to withstand organized resistance. Ad hocism, setting up of panels and committees do not create solid platforms for adequate sustainability of long term governance, in which progress can be measured by universal indices.

1) Because we are neither capitalist nor socialist, our eclectic approach to statecraft will remain befuddled by borrowed ideas, the opinion of those in temporary power, who shout the loudest or the dominant untutored world-views of of party chieftains.

2) There is need for a national conference of the Confederacy, which is not been convened to take away political advantages from those perching on branches of “obeche trees”, but to rescue the Confederacy from the throes of neo-colonial centers of manipulation and control.

3) There is awareness that we are assailed by tumult. We must discuss the issues, which will not easily fizzle away as munificent optimists are canvassing. You do not put a young cobra ib a pot in your bed-room and hope that when it grows, you can still sleep and snore.

4) The above platitudes and hortatory statements are addressed to every Nigerian living soul and not to those, who benefit from disorganization and social, cultural antagonisms, playing the ostrich game of burying their heads in decaying and declining societal edifices.

5) Why is that we keep decreasing but we do not multiply? It is because we worship man-made gods. You should never worship man-made gods and it will be well with you!

6) From the jaws of danger may the GOOD LORD deliver the righteous. They shall not be moved.

7) “All over the world the Spirit is moving.All over the world as the Prophets said it would be. All over the world at the ring of revelation to the Glory of the Lord as the water covers the sea” Habbakuk

Professor Dr. Emmanuel Omoh Esiemokhai, a Writer and Academic is the Academic Chancellor, BOSAS INTERNATIONAL LAW BUREAU, Fugar/Abuja


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