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THE RIGHT TO PARTICIPATE IN POLITICS.

BY: PROFESSOR Dr. EMMANUEL OMOH ESIEMOKHAI
 Published May 26th, 2010

Understandably and regrettably, most politicians are not lawyers. As a result, they are not always sure of their political rights. They often rely on opinion leaders and views expressed in newspapers and magazines, which are often misleading, inaccurate or biased.To participate in the government of one's country is a civic right, a political right, an inherent right, which is part of the fundamental rights of legitimate citizens in all states. This right has been enshrined in the constitutions of all civilised states.

The African Charter of Human and People's' Rights, which was adopted in 1981, declares that " Every citizen shall have the right to participate freely in the government of his country either directly or through freely chosen representatives in accordance with the provisions of the law.The right of equal access to the public services of one's country is equally guaranteed. As a result, zoning, which purports to confer privilege on some individuals, regional enclaves or to a party faithful, is unconstitutional..It is shocking to read the virilluent condemnation of some politicians based on their expression of interest to contest the forth-coming elections.

Except there is documented evidence of disqualification, no-one should be vilified for his ambitions. Let the people choose and decide, who will govern them. Bigotted tribalists should not heat up the polity by insulting political leaders from minority states.

I have listened to the illogical rantings of intellectual mystics, psychics, prophets and seers, who have connections with the spirit world. The ethnic star performers of Nigeria are often very partial. Their tribal sentiments seem to have been so innoculated in them that they can only relate to other Nigerians, with morbid dislike.They are often assailed by distressing outbreaks of poltergeist and telekinetic phenomena.

No matter how much they lament the shift in power from majority nation-states to minority nation-states, the reality is that minorities in Nigeria know which happened in Nigeria, between 1960 and 1985.

The bold act of a minority leader changed the history of Nigeria radically. If Rivers State was not created and the University of Portharcourt was not established, perhaps, our President would been among those kids, who roamed the streets from Ikot-Ekpene street to Aggrey Road. in Portharcourt.He probably would not have gained admission to Ife, Ibadan, Nsukka or Ahmadu Bello universities, for reasons known by all..

Nigeria must call a National Conference of our Federated States in order to discuss the socio-economic system we should adopt. After that, we can then proceed with free and fair elections and we can then go on to establish a truly,democratic Federal Republic. Anything that does not conform with this strategy, which I had suggested before the do-or-die primitive elections of 2003 and 2007, will see us go no-where slowly.

I am very worried that it would seem that we may do every right, but end up with a marrionette government in 2011. A marronette government is one that draws its power and entrenchment, not from its state but is propped up by a foreign power.It will be very sad if we come up with a government that will compromise the sovereignty of Nigeria. It will be dictated to, advised and controlled by the forces that entrenched it. It is a serious national security issue. We have had that experience before. Let us guard against those politicians, who are ready to sell our nation and collect their change.

Under their government, we shall be beholden to foreign consultants, the IMF, the World Bank, teleguidance from all sorts of advisers and international do-gooders and meddle-some interlopers.

We shall make haste slowly.The signs are obvious. There are no political blue-prints, no theoretical and practical suggestions to effect meaningful change.The proposals for reforms and change during the Obasanjo regime proferred by the IMF and the World Bank, which he relied upon, were intended to diffuse, not consummate the national democratic agenda.

That governments' policies, strategies,, and crude tactics, were strong on rhetorics but weak on action.

When one compares the eight years of Babangida and Obasanjo, the difference is clear. Obasanjo frittered away valuable time in shameless squabbles with Atiku.

Those of us, who have mastered the fine spontaneity both of Nigerian politics and life in this country, cannot but feel sad that there are arsenals of highly gifted men and women, who can govern using relevant knowledge and experience but who circumstances have kept firmly at bay, while we thrive on showmanship,self-promotion, shallowness and ego-trips. Full-paged advertisements congratulating leaders, "prominent citizens" governors and others are evanescent baubles of the day."They rise and fall like empty bottles on the stream.They are illusions and will pass away" Nothing can replace good governance based on relevant knowledge of statecraft. National rebirth is a serious enterprise, which broad smiles, warm hand-shakes and bear hugs cannot address.

This reminds me of the invitation which the Leader of the Unity Party of Nigeria, the Right Honourable, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, extended to me to visit him at 33a Parkl Lane, Apapa, Lagos in July 1978. The JEWEL was in attendance.In rounding up our discussions, the Chief joked about " those Agbada-wearing politicians, who take the benefits of politics but are incapable of carrying the burdens of same"

WE shall overcome someday!


Professor Dr Emmanuel Omoh Esiemokhai is the President of the proposed AFEMAI UNIVERSITY, FUGAR, EDO STATE, Nigeria.



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